I feel exhausted from lugging around a nearly 1000 page book with me for the last week. And since it is so large, my copy got a little more beat up than I usually treat my books, but I suppose I should just consider it "well-loved."
Well, where to begin. I already commented on the racism and historical aspects of the book. Truth be told, the era in which the story is set is one that as a history nerd, I'll never tire of. I love the American Civil War and circumstances surrounding it. It was my favorite unit to teach when I was teaching history.
Then, or course, are the characters. There are so many at first that it was almost difficult for me to keep them straight, but I eventually fell into the flow of life in Tara and Atlanta. I lived with these characters and took on their pain and struggles as if they were my own.
And I completely and totally fell in love with the epic sweep of the novel.
It is hard for me to express why I love it. A small part of me feels like I shouldn't-the novel is overly romantic and dramatic. Some scenes are over the top and excessive. And let's not forget that I really don't find much to admire in Scarlett O'Hara. But I love the other characters to the point that I kind of want to adopt them.
And lastly, there is Rhett Butler. Is he really a man that we, as readers, should fall in love with? At first I was not a fan of his attitude and the way he treated Scarlett. But then again, we don't get to really know him until the last section of the story. And it is hard to hate a man who would treat his daughter the way he did. You also can't forget his line,
"My dear, I don't give a damn," (957).
I seriously wanted to applaud him for finally standing up to her (Scarlett) and telling her that if she acted that way, there would be consequences.
In all, it is a book of epic everything. It captures the South in a way that I haven't seen in other novels (that I have read so far). It has that Southern feeling of grandeur and slowness. It takes its time to unfold and reveal itself as it wishes. It tells us how we should really feel and act in times of crisis as well as shows us a dark and haunting image of our nation's past.
Is it the best book I've ever read?
No, but I find it to be one of the best fictional portrayals of one of the darkest hours of America's history, and for that, I have to commend it, faults and all.
If you haven't read it yet, you must. While it has its faults, it is one of those books you need to read. Not because it is literary genius, but for the fact that it will make you reflect on your own life, your beliefs, and how you treat the people around you.
I didnt realise it was nearly 1000 pages, wow. But sounds like a must read and its set in an era I know very little about.ReplyDelete
I still have to read this. I think it has moved up on my list after reading your posts on it.ReplyDelete
I finally read this book myself this year. My reactions are much the same as yours were. One may not exactly like some of the characters, but must admit there are indeed some GREAT characters. I have never seen the movie, either, but now that I finally read the book I feel vie earned the right to waive my "no movies longer than two hours" rule...
I love it and it did become one of my favorite books but I guess I love overly dramatic and romantic things.ReplyDelete
I'm planning on starting this book this week. I've read lots of short books this month so I'm read for something long and epic and all of your talk about it just pushed me to go for it.ReplyDelete
I tried reading this when I was fourteen, and I really struggled. Couldn't get past the first hundred odd pages or so. I've been meaning to try reading it again for the longest time, but something or the other keeps coming up.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the fantastic review - It just serves to remind me that I'm procrastinating :))
I am so glad that you loved it. Like you, its not the best book I have ever read, but it is way up there for me. Scarlett! She is so wonderfully annoying, as is Rhett. Everything about this book is epic and I love it.ReplyDelete
Good review. The read is so worth it even just for Rhett Butler.ReplyDelete
Regarding Rhett, I really do think he’s the a man reader should fall in love with. What he did to Scarlett was the smartest (and safest) thing he could have done considering her personality. He was protecting himself.ReplyDelete
It’s just frustrating to see the missed opportunities and misunderstandings. He didn't get me at hello, but almost. He got me when right at the start, at the BBQ, he’s calling the young men to reality and says “"I mean," he answered, "what Napoleon--perhaps you've heard of him?--remarked once, 'God is on the side of the strongest battalion!'"
Absolutely my favorite novel!ReplyDelete
Great review. :-)
The Victorian Heroine
I'm in the midst of reading this one now - for the third time. I love what you said about it unfolding slowly. It does, at that. When I first read it I had to slog through the first 100 pages. But on my second (and third) read, those first hundred made sense, and were necessary.ReplyDelete
Your blog is awesome!!