As I have stated over and over again, I first read Gone With the Wind when I was 12 or 13 (I've actually forgotten - isn't that the mark of being old?). I remember I thought it was absolutely well written, extremely long, romantic, and even a little scandalous to my then unworldly mind (sometimes I wish I didn't know as much as I did. >:/ ) I had been wanting to reread the story at my then mature age of 17, so when I discovered Fanda's read along for the book, I decided to dive in. I will also warn you that the following review has some spoilers like my updates for this story. Just thought I'd let you know! :)
Gone With the Wind was first started in 1926 when Margaret Mitchell was bored during convalescence after an auto-crash. She wrote the final moments of the book at the very beginning, and then built off that. After an editor saw her work and found it to be a great story, it was published in 1936. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award. Of course it also was made into an award winning film staring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh.
The story is about the Civil War primarily, including the life previous to the war and the aftermath. The main character is Scarlett O'Hara, the daughter of a Gerald and Ellen O'Hara. Her life is followed throughout the novel, including her relationships with the main men in her life, Ashley Wilkes and Rhett Butler. Her relationships with Ashley's wife Melanie, Mammy, her family, and her many beaux are also examined. Scarlett's life changes dramatically throughout the pages, and themes of life, pain, love, loss, joy, fear, and relief are told in a life-like way. You can find my list of detailed updates about the book here. The book ends with Scarlett having a child to die, realizing she was not so in love with Ashley as she once thought, realizing she needed Melanie more than she ever thought when Melanie passes away, and having Rhett leave her.
Fanda's challenge was absolutely a great idea. When I heard about it seemed like the perfect opportunity to reread the novel, especially since I didn't have to read big chunks in like 2 weeks. :D So I started at the beginning of September, and finished in near the end of October, turning 18 in the middle of it which for some reason I thought was kind of amusing - I don't know why. My first impression of this book had changed. I understood Scarlett more at my age now. Although I'm hardly anything like her, I could relate to the pressure she felt was put on her to care for her family, and I can only imagine how I would react if I had been in her shoes. The stories of love, especially at the end when she realizes she never loved Ashley and he was basically a figment of her imagination, I totally understood better. Throughout her fantasy of Ashley, she had ignored Rhett and lost him. If she had just bent a little, told Rhett she loved him, and put down her foot about treating each other kindly in the ways that Melanie did, she could have gained something no one else had. But her stubbornness got in the way. When Margaret Mitchell was asked what happened after Rhett left Scarlett she said, "For all I know, Rhett may have found someone else who was less difficult." I like to believe that Scarlett was so reformed that she eventually won Rhett back - but then again, a leopard can't change it's spots.
Today is Margaret Mitchell's birthday, by the way. So Happy Birthday to you, Ms. Mitchell, and thanks for creating such a magnificent classic! :D
Pictures from Google Images.