Book: Gone With The Wind
Author: Margaret Mitchell
Like/Don't Like: Like. Although I would have liked it more if were half the length.
Much like Sherman's march to Atlanta, reading this book was a long slog. But it in the end it was mostly worth it. There's always something rewarding in reading a grand and epic novel. Because it's so vast I'm going to need a list to capture most of my opinions:
1.) Scarlett O'Hara is a moron. And I spent 900 pages wishing she would just shut it because every time she opened her mouth she said something dumb. She was selfish and conniving and dumb as a box of nails. She was also spirited and brave and quick, which saved her a bit in my eyes. I wish that she had evolved a little throughout but she stayed the same almost the whole way through. It wasn't until the very end that I started feeling sympathy for her and that still wasn't enough to make me wish for a different ending. She got what she deserved.
2.) Rhett Butler is the best kind of anti-hero. Confident, unapologetic, roguish, handsome, mustachioed. If he weren't such a cad he'd be a dream.
3.) I thought the writing was effortless. Margaret Mitchell knew this world perfectly and it was fascinating to read about a time and place from such a insider point of view. I never got tired of reading about it, which is saying something. I especially loved how she treated her characters. She never blamed nor excused her characters flaws. Because of that she had some truly profound insights into human nature.
4.) Oh, those Yankees. Always coming around to burn something down. Like all wars, the Civil War was much more complicated than we think it was. So I appreciated getting the South's side of the story. However, the most tedious part of the book was all the history thrown in. It kind of got in the way of the story.
5.) I had to keep reminding myself that this was a book written by a southerner in the 1930s about the Civil War from a southerner's point of view. So I had to kind of gloss over the INCREDIBLY OFFENSIVE ideas about blacks and women. I cringed a lot.
6.) As far as an epic goes, this was a good one. When things were winding down I could think back to the glorious early days at Tara with fondness and see how far all the characters had come. It was a satisfying read.