Thursday, March 29, 2012

Gone With The Wind

Gone With The Wind
by Margaret Mitchell
I’ve read many books over the years, as one does, but this is the only one that when I closed the cover on the last page, I just wanted to flip it over and start again! I read it whilst driving across the barren outback of Australia, and it managed to keep me entertained for three, 8-hour days of driving. It is a romance, with a twist. It is an historical drama, with a twist. It’s full of ups and downs and just gripped me from start to finish, with a wonderfully subtle humour.

“With enough courage, you can do without a reputation.”

I love it’s illustration of the impermanence of all things, and making the best out of the hand we’re dealt. I love its depiction of loss: lost loved ones, lost homes, lost foundations, and how it is possible to maintain a strong sense of self regardless – how we must adapt to survive. 

“I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow.”

I love how the purest forms of human compassion and spirit are set alongside examples of outright selfishness, and how you seem to love the respective characters for each of these traits, simultaneously.

I managed not to watch the film before reading the book, for which I’m eternally grateful. The film has certainly become more famous than the book, but I’m a reader first and foremost!

“...he had never known such gallantry as the gallantry of Scarlett O'Hara going forth to conquer the world in her mother's velvet curtains and the tail feathers of a rooster.”

It’s a definite classic without being intimidating; at its core it is reading for entertainment. You’ll love it if you like strong, morally ambiguous, female characters who keep you routing for them even in all their folly! It’s also a great read if you want to get a dramatised illustration of the American civil war from the southern belle perspective. It’s just a downright brilliant, engrossing, epic read.

“No, I don't think I will kiss you, although you need kissing, badly. That's what's wrong with you. You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how.”

Though as a narrative it has been criticised for romanticising plantation life and slavery, as a modern day reader I feel you are able to bring those sensibilities to it yourself, whilst getting a real taste of the naiveté of even the least typical southern belle.  
Naturally, it’s all about Scarlett O’Hara. I always admire strong female characters, especially women that defy their cultural context as Scarlett does – she’s got to be up there with the strongest of them! Vivien Leigh does a stellar job in the movie, but nothing beats the Scarlett that you find between the written pages.

“Life's under no obligation to give us what we expect.”
 Today's favourite book comes from Megan from Charade who has bravely just set sail to America for a few months. Her blog is the perfect mix of inspirational quotes and action - it's such a refreshing read, written by one of the loveliest bloggers out there!
Megan's blog can be found here and you can find her on twitter here.  

1 comment

Renee said...

I love Gone with the Wind! Definitely my favorite romance novel and certainly amongst my all-time favorites. And I love, love, love Rhett and Scarlett. Two of my favorite characters, for sure. The movie's okay, I guess, but the book swept me right off my feet!

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