Top positive review
5.0 out of 5 starsThank you Margaret Mitchell
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on February 2, 2013
When I first read Gone with the wind many years ago at age 25, I had watched the movie many times and loved it. Then when I read the book, I fell in love with it hailing it as the best book I'd ever read in my life. At that time though, I did find the in depth descriptions of the surroundings and of backgrounds of people a little tedious. Other than that, I loved it and my lifelong love of Civil War history was started right then and there. As the years went by and I read so many more books, a few years ago there began to be other books that took the title of "best book" in my eyes, always keeping that great love of GWTW in my heart. However, at age 52, I decided to read it again. It just called to me for some reason. This time, I loved it even so much more than I did then, and what I disliked about it years ago, the descriptive writing of Margaret Mitchell, is one of the things I loved about it most of all. It takes a tremendous amount of talent for a writer to totally immerse the reader into the setting they have created, when they can just see the lush beauty, the red clay, the desolation, the dying wounded, everything that was written, you lived it, smelled it, and felt it. I was in this story from beginning to end, and I lost myself in it completely. It now has rightfully taken its place as my favorite book of all time.
Yes, It is a book where the main character is a selfish, spoiled rich plantation owner's daughter, that lost everything she had that she knew in the world, her home, her parents, many friends, her money, and how she clawed herself back to the top no matter who she ran over or hurt along the way. She is an unlikeable character that you cannot help but like anyway for the sheer will and determination she has to survive. Somewhere along that road of selfishness, she developed a conscience even though she stifled it whenever it reared it's head and went on being ruthless anyway. Also somewhere along the road, she realized that there was a feeling she could not quite identify in her heart about Melanie and Rhett, a feeling she did not realize was love until it was too late to enjoy that love. Oh you knew she was ruthless and hard, but you knew there was some good in her somewhere (was there?) and you rooted for her.
Then there's Rhett. The rebellious, sarcastic, making money at the ruin of others, handsome man that fell in love with her the moment he cast eyes upon her. He was there for her so many times over the years, but she never really appreciated him. He loved her so much, but never let on in words that he did because he knew anyone that admitted they loved her, she would run over like she did so many other poor men that loved her, may they rest in peace. She realized she loved him much too late.
There's Melanie, the mild, sweet shy girl-like woman who Scarlett said she hated because she was Ashley's wife (and of course Scarlett was in love with Ashley). So sweet and mild, she has a fierce loyalty and love for Scarlett, which Scarlett also didn't fully realize until it was too late.
And Ashley, poor pitiful Ashley who she just thought she loved all these years only to finally realize she was In love with an idea of him, not him. She wasted all those years not realizing this, again, until it was too late.
Mixing with all these wonderful characters and more, is a story about the south and how the world they knew was lost. Though it was a world that had many wrongs that should not have happened and that I'm glad was put an end, you can't help but feel their loss, feel the horror as they watched their houses and Atlanta burn to the ground. You feel their hungriness as they have nothing to eat, feel their shame as they have nothing but rags left to wear, feel their bitterness as they are under Yankee rule during the reconstruction.
It's also a story about what different people do to survive. In this case, does one go with the flow and make the best out of a new situation and reap the benefits that they can in the situation they're in, or does one stay loyal to a cause that was burned to the ground and is no more and stay humbled and hungry? Does one sell their soul and prosper at the cost of others? Scarlett took advantage of the situation she was in and it made no difference who she ran over to do it or if she did forget the cause for which a war was fought. However, in the end, I think she realized that to have all she acquired, a very high price was paid for it all.
This book was so great on so many levels, even more that what I've written here. For to go on, it would be way longer that this. I think it's a masterpiece.
I do want to say one more thing, last but not least, about the author Margaret Mitchell. Though this was her only published novel, she did not drop down out of the sky to write this book out of nowhere. Growing up she wrote complete stories all the time as a little girl, was in drama at school, and as a young adult, worked as a journalist until she had to quit due to an ankle injury. She was born into a family rich in civil war history and many of her family had actually fought and lived during the civil war and she sat on many a lap listening to these stories throughout her childhood. She was born, lived and died in the city she wrote about, Atlanta. She knew of what she wrote about and it's historically accurate. She died, unfortunately, at the age of 48, hit by a drunk driver, crossing Peachtree St. (a street mentioned many times in the book), with her husband on the way to the movies. 5 days later she died, she was buried in Oakland Cemetary, (a graveyard mentioned in the book). To me, this book could have never been surpassed and I feel so good knowing that in her short life, she chose to leave this masterpiece for us all to enjoy forever. I, for one, am grateful. Thank you Margaret Mitchell.