Thursday, May 01, 2014

Book Report: Gone with the Wind

Gone with the WindGone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Maybe not quite the best writing I've ever read — although there are flashes of jaw-dropping brilliance — but it's definitely one of the most enthralling sagas I've ever encountered. Mitchell sings an ode to a crumbling society, embracing it for allits beauty, strength, hypocrisy and ugliness. Scarlett, Rhett and Ashley are some of the most full-bodied, complicated and maddeningly infuriating/endearing characters I have ever come across, and their interplay over decades of upheaval, successes, failures, heartbreaks and tragedies will stay with me the rest of my life.

The book is also extremely funny because of how racist it is. Maybe some of it is intentional, maybe some is satirical, but I am guessing it is largely an on-the-nose replication of the way people behaved, spoke and thought back then. It's an exquisite time capsule and a breathless narrative. Add this to the Better Than the Movie list, although the movie's use of "tomorrow is another day" and improved signature line of "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn" (the movie invented the key first three words of that quote) are both staggering wins.

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