Saturday, 16 January 2016

Book Review | Gone with the Wind. Margaret Mitchell

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
(on Goodreads)
My rating ★★★★★

The novel is set in the American South and portrays the life of Scarlett O'Hara, a daughter of a wealthy landowner, as her world falls apart in the events of the Civil war.

Scarlett is very young and naive, when we first meet her. She is desperately in love with Ashley Wilkes, and marrying him is all she can think of. She won't give up on him even when he marries someone else, and clings to her childish feelings for the better part of the story.

But as time passes Scarlett has to learn how to adapt in the new reality of the war. She makes a lot of hasty decisions and barely regrets them, chasing away all the bad thoughts. She's afraid that she might break under the pressure, so she's always telling herself to think of her troubles and worry tomorrow. But never today, today she is not strong enough. This personal philosophy is what helps Scarlett stand firm on her feet, even though the world around her is crumbling to pieces.

Of course Scarlett had her moments of weakness, but she was always able to stand up again and do what she had to do. All her troubles and a lack of guidance made her somewhat cold and calculating. At the same time there were many moments when you could see that she is still a child, a spoilt little girl that wants everything to be her way.

I think it won't count as a spoiler if I say that Scarlett's true love is supposed to be Rhett Butler. The book doesn't really say that, but it is suggested. The reader is anticipating this relationship to sprout. At times I was confused, because I knew that Rhett is supposed to love Scarlett, but it didn't seem like it at all. And then there was Scarlett, who could only think about Ashley. And even though closer to the end of the story I could tell that Scarlett's feelings for Ashley were now different, I still couldn't understand how and when would she realise this herself. All in all this book is full of very complicated character relationships. Scarlett's friendships are just as confusing as her love interests.

Gone with the Wind is not your usual love story. It's more like a story of a strong woman, who competes with men and the whole world, trying to overcome the hardships that came with the war and later after the war ended. It's the story of her never ending battle with her greatest fear of hunger and poverty. She just doesn't have time for love.

This book is also interesting in the way it portrays the Civil war from the viewpoint of the southerners. It made me rethink everything that I thought I knew about the American history. I should probably read a few historical books, maybe even non-fiction, to get a better picture of this time period. But what I liked about this novel is that it reminded me that there are always two sides to every story.

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