0132 | Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell

Context: Finished this off just after we celebrated Mrs Arukiyomi’s parents’ 40th wedding anniversary.

REVIEW
An amazing book, made all the more poignant by the fact that it was her only published work. Mind you, at just over 1000 pages, you can understand why really. I know that many deride the story as being overly sentimental but I didn’t find it so. In fact, the next person that does so in my hearing will be challenged point blank as to whether they’ve read it. Bet they haven’t.

This book should be subtitled “A USAnian Pride & Prejudice” because…

that’s exactly what it is. You’ve got the family marrying off their girls (the O’Haras), you’ve got a feminine protagonist (Scarlett) who wavers between love and hate of the misunderstood leading man (Rhett Butler). And throughout it all you have pride and prejudice on a huge number of levels: slavery, gossip, hypocrisy, politics, class, racism and jealousy.

But what makes it a better read than Pride & Prejudice (yes, I did say that) is the backdrop of the US Civil War. This is very well researched and integrated into the novel by Mitchell and it adds twists and turns that Austen could not match, devoid as her novel was of any historical setting whatsoever.

And, like Elizabeth Bennet, Scarlett O’Hara is one of the great characters of literature. She’s complex and real, fickle and fragile one minute and determinedly stubborn the next. You never love her though. Pity is the closest positive reaction I could feel.

FIRST LINE
Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realised it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.

CLOSING LINE
After all, to-morrow is another day.

RATING
rubbish | poor | mediocre | okay | good | very good | excellent | superb

ALSO BLOGGED HELPFULLY BY
…no one that I could find. Most bloggers gave this scant attention or focussed on either Mitchell or the film version.

  • Robyn December 27, 2008, 3:55 am

    One of my favorite books. I completely agree with your review.

    P.S. Love your site and thanks for all your hard work. I come here at least once per month.

    Robyn, Sacramento, California, USA

    Reply
  • Jorie December 28, 2008, 12:27 am

    I read this a long time ago. I recall that while I didn’t think much of Scarlett, I did admire her strength and her survival instincts. I have yet to read Pride and Prejudice but I would say you’ve drawn some strong parallels. I, too, wish Mitchell had a chance to write more, particularly on these characters; Ripley’s Scarlett was not as compelling.

    Reply

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