Sunday, January 17, 2016

January Book Club: Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Summary from Goodreads: Many novels have been written about the Civil War and its aftermath. None take us into the burning fields and cities of the American South as Gone With the Wind does, creating haunting scenes and thrilling portraits of characters so vivid that we remember their words and feel their fear and hunger for the rest of our lives. 

In the two main characters, the white-shouldered, irresistible Scarlett and the flashy, contemptuous Rhett, Margaret Mitchell not only conveyed a timeless story of survival under the harshest of circumstances, she also created two of the most famous lovers in the English-speaking world since Romeo and Juliet.

My Thoughts: Since this is such a long book, I decided to select it as my Christmas Break book this year. I knew that the weather would be cold and that I would be feeling super pregnant so I was planning on spending a lot of time in the armchair next to the fireplace. I am so glad that I read it when I had so much down time! I truly is incredibly long, but long books have never intimidated me, I just know that I have to read it quickly so I don’t lose interest. That was so easy with Gone With the Wind, I honestly couldn’t put it down!

I have always been a fan of historical fiction novels and this book covers about a decade spanning the Civil War and Reconstruction Era in the South, and from the perspective of your classic Southern Belle. This unique perspective gave many points of view to the Civil War. As a reader, we get to see the men leave to fight for The Cause, women stepping up to run the family businesses and households, the extravagance that persisted while the South thought they would win the war, the utter destruction of lives and livelihoods as the North secured victory, and the harsh conditions of reconstruction for an entire society was expected to change overnight. By following the life of a woman, the reader is able to “stay home” and witness all these effects rather than following a male character from battle to battle.

Then of course we have to talk about the love story. Even though I had never watched the movie or read the book until now I haven’t lived under a rock, so I knew the general gist of how the love story would end, but reading it and observing all the events happen in ‘real time’ leaves you with the “will they or won’t they” question over and over. And seeing all the reasons for marriage, love, and childbirth from the perspective of true “Lady” and her opinions of others’ choices was fascinating!

This is one of those books that I already wish I could forget so I could experience reading it again for the first time. I think in the future I will need to keep reaching back to some more of these classic novels that have stood the test of time.

Final Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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