Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Gone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellTitle: Gone with the Wind
Author: Margaret Mitchell
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: 1936
Length: 1037 pages
Series: Stand Alone
Audio or Book: Book
Reason for Discovery: Gift

From GoodReads: 

Gone with the Wind is a novel written by Margaret Mitchell, 1st published in 1936. The story is set in Clayton County, GA, & Atlanta during the American Civil War & Reconstruction era. It depicts the experiences of Scarlett O'Hara, the spoiled daughter of a well-to-do plantation owner, who must use every means at her disposal to come out of the poverty she finds herself in after Sherman's March to the Sea. A historical novel, the story is a Bildungsroman or coming-of-age story, with the title taken from a poem written by Ernest Dowson. Gone with the Wind was popular with American readers from the onset & was the top American fiction bestseller in the year it was published & in 1937. As of 2014, a Harris poll found it to be the 2nd favorite book by American readers, just behind the Bible. More than 30 million copies have been printed worldwide. 

When I was in high school, my dad was traveling for business and had a layover in Atlanta, Georgia. He bought my brother and me presents from the shops in the airports. He got me a copy of Gone with the Wind and Scarlet. I put the books on a shelf and ignored them for a long time. After several months, I finally sat down and read Gone with the Wind. I am so glad that I read it, because it blew me away (pun intended). I devoured that book and broke the spine to the mass paperback copy. I would read a page and peel it off and throw it in the trash. Although it was sad that the book broke, it did make reading the heavy tome easier.

If you are a fan of the movie, the novel is a close relation, at least some sort of sibling. If you are worried that the love story between Rhett and Scarlett isn't as strong in the novel, don't be. Gone with the Wind is a romance classic for all of the right reasons. I read the book and then saw the movie, and I found myself swooning at the same points in both the book and the movie.

Something that I really enjoyed about the book is that Mitchell spends a lot of time focusing on Scarlett's relationship with her different suitors. In Gone with the Wind, we get to see all of the different sacrifices that Scarlett has to make to survive the Civil War and high society. The movie showcases this a bit, but the book goes into far more detail. 

Along these same lines, in the book we get to see Scarlett manage her finances. In the movie this is brushed over in some places and other financial transactions are ignored completely. Whenever someone talked about Gone with the Wind, s/he would just discuss the romance. Scarlett is an amazing business person. I found the scenes and chapters that focused on Scarlett managing her finances to be fascinating. Scarlett is such a strong and unique character for the time. 

I must admit that I am not sure how historically accurate the book is, but I will say that the story is compelling and (mostly) believable (fiction is always a bit more dramatic that real life). I was able to imagine myself in Scarlett's shoes and experience all of the stressors that she had. Mitchell did a great job of inserting the reader into her story even with a strong and sometimes unlikeable protagonist as the lead.

Overall, Gone with the Wind is an amazing novel. Scarlett O'Hara deserves her place in the spotlight. Even if you are generally not a historical fiction person, you should give Gone with the Wind a read, especially if you enjoy reading books about powerful women.

I give this book a 4 out of 5.

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