Gone with the Wind – Volume One

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Matthew from A Guys Moleskine Notebook is hosting a Gone with the Wind read-along. In theory we are supposed to have finished the book this week, but I am a bit behind. I’ve just got to the end of volume one (p505/1011 in my copy) so I thought this half way stage was a great point to reflect on what I’ve read so far.

I am really enjoying it! Scarlett O’Hara has just become my favourite character from a book. I don’t like her all the time, but her flawed character is endearing, and I’m loving her gradual transformation from a spoilt child, into a hard-working woman. Scarlett’s attitude to her son is shocking at times, but I guess that this was not uncommon in this period of history, as most children were brought up by a variety of people other than their mothers.

I’m finding the story very interesting. The plot is perfectly paced, and holds my attention throughout, despite it’s length. I can’t wait to discover what happens to Scarlett in the rest of the book!

My only criticism of the book is that it lacks detailed descriptions. This means that I am often unable to picture the places mentioned. I haven’t seen the film, and don’t know much about this period in history, so am probably in a different situation to most other readers. 

I found Tara Revisited amongst my stock, and so I decided to read it, to give myself a greater background knowledge of the time.

 

 

 

Tara Revisited gives a insight into what life was like for women during the war, but I found that it assumed a basic knowledge of the conflict, which I’m afraid I’m lacking. So, perhaps foolishly, I have also started reading Battle Cry of Freedom, which won the Pulitzer prize for non-fiction in 2003. This massive 950 page chunkster describes the complete history of the war, and so far I’ve found it very readable. You might not see many book reviews on this blog in the coming weeks, but you’ll be able to ask me anything about the civil war!


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14 Comments

  1. Rebecca Reid says:

    I was going to read along too, but I never have begun yet! Oh, well, I have so much on my plate right now!

  2. Simon S says:

    I would love to read Gone With The Wind, its the time involved and all the other books I could be reading that puts me off, might save this for my hols to Brazil later in the year if they all get booked as love a really long book on holiday.

  3. Jackie says:

    Rebecca + Simon – Yes, it is a big commitment – I don’t think I’ll be reading much else for the next week. You should both try to read it though, as it is one of the best books I’ve ever read.

    It is worth the effort!

  4. Sandy says:

    I just finished GWTW today on the plane! Ugh! Loved the book, but what a marathon! You wouldn’t believe how fast I grabbed for my next read…I’ve been dying to move on for weeks now.

    I did find myself warming to Scarlett when she was the most challenged, after the war. She dug deep, and found strength that I admired. I will say, not spoiling anything, but I began not liking her again, and only mildly came back around at the end. I’m now at my parent’s house, so after visiting, I need to pull together my last post!

  5. Jackie says:

    Sandy – it must be such a relief to finish it! I’m not sure why I’m mad enough to start reading Battle Cry of Freedom – you’d have thought I’d be put off chunksters for a month or two! I’ll try to read a short book this week too, as I need a bit of a break from the long ones. I look forward to reading your posts on GWTW, but I won’t read them until I’ve finished, as I don’t want to read any spoilers!
    Have a great time at your parents house!

  6. Christina says:

    I finished it last week, and needed something completely different after reading that chunkster (I wound up reading two graphic novels.) I watched the first part of the film on Saturday, but I liked the book a lot better. Clark Gable didn’t look at all like how imagined Rhett to look like; neither did Miss. Pittypat, Prissy, or Tara for that matter. I’ll have to check out Tara Revisited.

  7. Matthew says:

    I’m glad you’re taking your time reading it! After all, my timeline was more a reference frame. Nothing is better than taking your own pace to absorb and to appreciate a book, especially a tome like GWTW.

    I have now put down the book for three days. Some of the Scarlett’s outrageous behavior still resonates at the back of my mind. The fate of Wade and Ella weren’t resolved, not as consummate as Bonnie, to be sure. I cannot get over the fact that Scarlett who claims to have transformed and acknowledged the importance of emotion, doesn’t give a straw about her children.

  8. Molly says:

    I had so wanted to be a part of this group read with Matt, but it just was not a good time for me to try this chunkster.

    I think it so very interesting that you find the book lacking in description when it is over 1,000 pages long? Is it long on character description (since you relate so well with Scarlett) but short on setting description? I read it many decades ago in high school, but I certainly want to re-read it again sometime soon.

  9. Christina – I think I’ll probably read a graphic novel this weekend – that is a great idea! I need the satisfaction of completing a book is less than 6 weeks!

    Matthew – Thank you so much for hosting this read-a-long I can’t wait to go and read your comments when I’ve finished the book – I’m avoiding them at the moment, as a lot of people have already seen the film, and so spoilers are everywhere!

  10. Molly – Yes, I was surprised by the lack of descriptions in a book of this length too! The character development is exellent, and the plot is complex, but I can’t picture the houses, or what sort of things might be in them.

    Reading the other two books has solved these problems – I can now picture it all!

  11. Violet says:

    It took me a month for reading Gone with the wind. But I loved the book. Recently I saw the movie and it’s equally good. I guess there are a lot of characters descriptions in the book rather than descriptions fo places. But that, I think, is what makes the book unforgetable

  12. Violet – Yes, it will stay with me for a very long time! I love strong characters, so don’t really mind about the lack of descriptions. I’m looking forward to seeing the film soon too!

  13. priscilla says:

    I’ll have to look for Tara Revisited! I also have Battle Cry of Freedom on my TBR list, but my next Civil War read (GWTW inspired me) is Confederates in the Attic, a non-fiction book about a journalist who tracks people who re-enact Civil War battles, among other things. I hope you enjoy the rest of the book…I think it just gets better as it goes.

  14. Jackie says:

    Priscilla – I haven’t heard of Confederates in the Attic before – I look forward to reading your review of it.

    I can’t imagine how GWTW can get any better! I’m looking forward to finishing it, and finding out what happens now.

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