Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Gone With the WindGone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Published by Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster
Originally published by The Macmillan Company (1936)

What can I say about Gone With the Wind? I can’t even summarize this 1000+ page book, to be honest. I’m sure most of you have read the book, watched the movie, or at least know the general plot, so I’ll spare you my clumsy attempt at a summary.

I first read Gone With the Wind in 1998. I was in eighth grade, and my friend Christina told me that it was her mom’s favorite book, and that she was going to read it and I should too. After we both read it, we watched the movie together at her house. ¬†While I know I was a pretty intelligent eighth-grader, I am sure that I did not even begin to grasp how important of a novel this is at the young age of thirteen. Now that I have read it a second time, at twenty-seven, I am absolutely sure of how important this novel is. And I am here to tell you that I absolutely, without a doubt, LOVED Gone With the Wind.

Is it incredibly long and somewhat slow in parts? Yes. Is there waaaay too much racism and hatred in this book? Yes. But… is it historically accurate? I don’t know, I didn’t live in the Deep South during the Civil War, but based on everything else I’ve read about that time in our country’s history, I think that, yes, this book shows a pretty accurate depiction of that time. What surprised me most about the novel when I read it this time around is just how accessible it is. I always have a hard time with classics – I find the language and the writing clunky, difficult to get into, the dialogue unfamiliar, and the characters unlike people I have ever known in real life. Gone With the Wind is so different from that description – I had no trouble at all getting into the writing, and although some of the dialogue wasn’t what I’m used to (maybe part of that has to do with the fact that I’m a Northerner, ha!), it didn’t stop me from getting invested in the story and the characters. Scarlett seemed like a real person to me, as did Rhett, Melanie, Ashley, all of them. I was shocked by how refreshing this classic was – how even though the novel takes place in the 1800′s it felt incredibly modern to me.

And oh my goodness, the love story? EPIC. I mean, I have seen love stories be described as epic before, but guys – this is the most epic of epic love stories. And there’s more than one, really. And when Scarlett gets to the point in the novel where things finally click for her and she “gets” just how epic her love story has been… well, it’s amazing. And heartbreaking. Mostly heartbreaking. But I’ll let you discover that for yourself. Why didn’t anyone remind me how sad the ending is? I don’t think my eighth-grade self was capable of feeling the depths of sadness that I felt this time around when I finished the book.

Anyway, this has gone on long enough for a review in which I have nothing really new or interesting to add to the conversation about the book. But please, if you are one of the people who still hasn’t experienced Gone With the Wind, do yourself a favor and read it. I cannot imagine that you will be disappointed.

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27 thoughts on “Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

  1. I’m sitting here fixated on the fact that in 1998 you were in 8th grade. *gloom* Beyond that, I totally agree with you, except for the fact that the book is insanely long, it is really accessible and compulsive reading. I read this in a read along a few years ago for the first time and I loved it!!

  2. I think it’s time for me to reread this! I first read it around the same age you did I think. My mom is one of those huge GWTW people who collects anything having to do with it. But you’re right, I probably couldnt appreciate it then the way I would now. Im glad you loved it and hope I do too!

    • I liked it SO much more this time around. I remember enjoying it the first time, but looking back I think I wasn’t mature enough to really appreciate it. I would highly encourage a reread, Jenny!

  3. I read this book when I was in 10th grade; chose it for a book report. My classmates thought I was crazy, given the length, but it really is readable. I loved it then, and I hope to read it again at some point to see whether I still love it. Glad you had a great re-reading experience. Will link to your thoughts on War Through the Generations.

  4. I haven’t read this one yet, for shame, for shame. I know that it’s a favorite among a lot of bloggers and that it’s a great read, but I think the length intimidates me. I am going to have to remedy this and grab it off the shelf really soon. I love classics that are accessible and that feel intimate. Fantastic review today!

    • I remember you saying that you’ve never read GWTW, Heather! You NEED to! Don’t let the length intimidate you – do it in chunks. Just allow yourself to read a certain number of pages each night, or a few chapters, or whatever. It’s best taken in slowly, anyway. No pressure, just enjoy it. :)

  5. I’ve never read it, but always felt I ought to. Your post is certainly encouraging! I’m glad to hear it’s accessible; I often have trouble with the classics.

    • I do have trouble with the classics more often than not. This one was a total exception to that rule as it’s completely accessible. Definitely a must-read.

  6. I read it while in high school (a couple of decades before you first read it, haha). I remember loving it. I don’t reread books because there are so many new books I want to read but I could be persuaded to watch the film again at some point. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  7. Yeah, I’m with Sandy. I had a toddler in 1998. I’ve heard people complain about the racism in Gone With the Wind but it wouldn’t ring true to me if there wasn’t racism in it.

    • Yes, I agree. This book is absolutely full of racism, but hello it was the 1800′s for crying out loud. The Civil War! Of course the book is going to echo the time period. It felt realistic to me.

  8. I have never read this book, and it’s probably the one book that people really give me that shocked look for when I tell them I haven’t read it. :) It sounds like I’m really missing out.

  9. This is one of those books that I have always meant to read but been too intimidated due to its’ size. I will take the time and read it one of these days though :)

  10. I wish I could remember the name of the book I read about Margaret Mitchell and the writing of this book – it was so interesting and really added something to the experience for me. I’ve read it twice as well and loved it both times. You may actually have convinced me that a third read is in order.

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