Customer Review

10 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ridiculously overblown, 29 Dec. 2008
This review is from: Gone with the Wind (Paperback)
If you like your romance doomed, and with no real romance, your prose overblown and your books as heavy as doorstops, this is the book for you. Coming in at over 1000 pages of close set text, this may have been the book the word epic was invented for.

It concerns the life and loves of Scarlett O' Hara, the most unsympathetic, remorseless heroine of any book anywhere, ever. Set in the American civil war, it uses the fortunes of the Southern state of Georgia as its backdrop and sets the love triangle between Scarlett, Ashley Wilkes and Rhett Butler against the decimation of the South and its eventual regrowth.

The characters are unsympathetic Scarlett is spoiled, wilful and deeply unpleasant, Rhett is a rogue whose heart of gold is buried so deep you eventually give up wanting to dig for it and the other characters are pompous, irritating and saintly by turn.

I find it hard that Mitchell is so biased, both in her reaction to the war and her sympathies for the South, and that she seems obsessed by the racial question, to her detriment. I understand that no story about this era could not deal with race, but her bias seems clear and her attitudes extremely old fashioned. It is hard to read the chapters on the Klan in particular with any sense of understanding for her point of view, or that she illustrates.

A deeply flawed, highly unpleasant, over long book. Possibly the least romantic thing I have ever read except perhaps for the Haines Manual for the Mini Cooper.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 12 Dec 2009 18:33:33 GMT
But don't you think it take skill to portray someone as completely 'unsympathetic' as Scarlett O'Hara? And also, what's more romantic (spoilers next) than marrying a man for his money while he's in love with her and only at the very end realising she really does love him at the very same moment he realises he can't put up with the rest of her rubbish way of treating him? Then, ending on the note of hope, the classic: "I'll think about it tomorrow..."

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Dec 2009 09:58:51 GMT
Hi

Interesting point, but no. I'm sorry I don't. I think that James Joyce's Ulysses is also an unpleasant book peopled with deeply unsavoury and unsympathetic characters, and it runs to about the same length, but Joyce is a skilled novelist and this woman is not. And don't get me wrong. I hated Ulysses as much.

I think that Gone With the Wind could have done with a judicious amount of editing, and at 200 pages I might have found my sympathy holding, but at 1000 pages of whining, moaning and spoiled behaviour I lost any sympathy I might once have had. There is too much repetition and the plot only moves forwards because of the events of the war, rather than because of any sense of emotional or spiritual growth or enlightenment on the part of the characters. They become cariacatures and the denouement comes to late to save them, or me, unfortunately.

Posted on 21 Jun 2012 17:21:09 BDT
Last edited by the author on 28 Jun 2012 18:32:56 BDT
LindaT says:
Mrs. Wheatley, I got a good, hearty chuckle out of your review. I enjoyed it very much. And I agreed with a great deal about the characterization. Scarlett O'Hara was a spoiled, conniving brat and in my opinion, as dashing and handsome a "rogue" as he was, Rhett Butler still needed a kick in the seat. My mother summed it up beutifully when she said "Those two deserved each other."

The book is written from a sympathetic Southern view, to be sure. Whether the author herself was actually pro-slavery would be hard to prove or disprove. After the Union defeated the Confederacy, the North did make some genuine mistakes in the so-called "reconstruction" period, and that would take an entire library in itself, and out of this, groups like the KKK formed. Of course, I've heard another theory, too, on how the Klan got started, and sometimes it's hard to know whom I should believe. Having said that, I have an opinion of the Ku Klux Klan in its present form, and believe me, it isn't good.

I will be chuckling for the rest of the day over your assessment: "Possibly the least romantic thing I have ever read except perhaps for the Haines Manual for the Mini Cooper." I like your sense of humour; you sound like you'd be fun to spend time with.

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Jun 2012 17:37:51 BDT
thank you. :)

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Jun 2012 18:57:38 BDT
LindaT says:
You're welcome.

Wow! That was a fast answer!

I've read the book once and seen the movie twice. To be honest, I have no desire to do either one again.

Have a great day.
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