If I remember correctly, I bought Gone With The Wind just on a whim a few years ago, because it was one of the classics that I actively desired to read. Pretty sure I either didn’t know—or didn’t care—about how long it was; when I got it, I thought, “I’ve read thousand-page books before, how bad could this one be?” As it turns out, it was a lot harder to get through than I expected.
Gone With The Wind portrays the American South during the Civil War and Reconstruction. It follows Scarlett O’Hara, the beautiful and spoiled daughter of a rich plantation owner, as she grows from young womanhood into the responsibilities of adulthood. Around her, the war and Reconstruction produce obstacles to add to the ones she creates for herself with her selfish ways. By the end, she is able to at least see the errors of her ways, but still doesn’t quite know how to fix them. With that in mind, she decides to return to Tara, her plantation, and work things out in the comforts of home.
To be honest, I was disappointed with Gone With The Wind. I’m not sure what I expected, but I definitely didn’t expect for Scarlett to be such a spoiled brat. Throughout the whole thing, I was constantly hoping that she would figure out that it was time for her to grow up and realize all the good things she had in her life, and I really didn’t sympathize much with her. A lot of the problem, I think, was that she was a lot stronger and a lot more capable than she gave herself credit for (there were several times where she had to step up and accomplish things, and she did), but she couldn’t bring that strength and capability to the rest of her day-to-day life. Instead, she complained about almost everything, and pretty much annoyed the crap out of me.
I wasn’t much for Mitchell’s writing style, either: to me, it felt like she got the idea in her head one day, started writing, and never looked back. That combined with the fact that it was so freaking long made it a trial to read. At times it seemed rambly, almost as if she was trying to figure out what exactly she was trying to say—except she just kept writing as she tried to figure it out. Don’t get me wrong, her prose was gorgeous in places, and it was no doubt well-written, I just felt like it wasn’t planned. She had a good idea and ran with it, but it didn’t seem like she knew where it was going until it got there.
Despite what I didn’t like about Gone With The Wind, I’m glad I read it. It had been a goal of mine for a while, and it always feels good to complete a goal. I didn’t totally dislike it, either, regardless of what it might sound like. It just wasn’t really my kind of book, and while I’m a little sad that I didn’t love it the way many people do, I can’t say that I regret that Scarlett and I will most likely be going our separate ways.