Like many a Southern girl, my very favorite movie and book of all time is Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. I first read the book when I was sixteen and watched the movie shortly thereafter. I dressed as Scarlett for a school costume dance one time, I’ve toured the Margaret Mitchell house, I’ve read Scarlett and Rhett Butler’s People, I treasure my early edition copy of the novel, and I’ve pretty much devoured anything I could put my hands on as related to GWTW. When I sat down to write my 40×41 bucket list, it dawned on me that I hadn’t seen the movie since I was pregnant with John. What a shame! So, not only did I add a line item to my list for watching the movie, but also for re-reading the book after more than twenty years.
Since I knew I’d be carting the book to the pool, sports and everywhere in between, I didn’t dare take out my grandmother’s original copy.
Widely considered The Great American Novel, and often remembered for its epic film version, Gone With the Wind explores the depth of human passions with an intensity as bold as its setting in the red hills of Georgia. A superb piece of storytelling, it vividly depicts the drama of the Civil War and Reconstruction.
This is the tale of Scarlett O’Hara, the spoiled, manipulative daughter of a wealthy plantation owner, who arrives at young womanhood just in time to see the Civil War forever change her way of life. A sweeping story of tangled passion and courage, in the pages of Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell brings to life the unforgettable characters that have captured readers for over seventy years.
Instead, I ordered a paperback on Amazon and then couldn’t wait for it to arrive! This one is hearty and it does take some time to read. I wanted to savor every word and every page like I did when I was a teenager and had an entire summer stretched ahead of me (ahhhh… remember those days?). It took me a good month to read and I absolutely adored it.
The thing that stands out most to me after reading “my favorite book” for the first time in twenty-four years is how different it was! When I was sixteen, I was absolutely enamored by Scarlett. I envied her and daydreamed of being her. Back then, the war part of the story was absolutely secondary to how pretty Scarlett was, how fancy her dresses were and how all the boys fawned over her.
As an adult, I was humbled by the horrors of the Civil War. I realized how terrible those years were. How so many Southerners lost their homes, their food, their animals, their livelihood, the money, their husbands, fathers and sons. As a mother, I was horrified at Scarlett’s indifference towards her children. But in both stages of life, I found her determination inspiring and understand her love of home. I have watched the movie so many times that I forgot she had (and neglected) two children before Bonnie Blue. I am SO glad that I re-read the book after all these years and I really can’t recommend doing so enough!
For the second part of this bucket list item, I had to order the Gone With the Wind blue ray as I no longer have a VCR in the house and my well-watched copy was on VHS. HA! Just as I started to watch it John started learning about the Civil War in school. Being one who hates to watch a movie alone, I told him he might learn something more about the war and he was sold. So, we spent a week watching the four hour movie little by little each night. He absolutely LOVED it and I kind of felt like I had to pinch myself that he was actually watching t with me.
As is usually the case, so much of the story is left out of the movie. I hit the pause button frequently to fill in the gaps and answer questions for him. We were really able to tie a lot of what he learned in school together to the movie, and a large chunk of takes place right here in Atlanta. Now, he has been taught a VERY pro-Union side of the story and GWTW is regarded as a VERY pro-Confederacy side of the story. I won’t go into all of that, but I think we found a great middle ground and it was a lot of fun to use historical fiction to learn more about something very real and quite unfathomable for a ten year old. If you’re wondering, the movie is rated G – I thought to check that only after I hit play.
I asked John if he’d like to accompany me to the Gone With the Wind museum in Marietta, and he excitedly agreed saying that he “heard there are great Pokemon there.” Now I’m not so sure… perhaps I’m pushing my luck.
With this one is done, I can say with certainty that it’s one of my favorites from the bucket list! If you’ve never read Gone with the Wind, do it! And, if it’s been some time, read it again!!!
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