Gone with the Wind {40×41}

I first read Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell when I was sixteen and watched the movie shortly thereafter.  I dressed as Scarlett for a school costume dance one time, I toured the Margaret Mitchell house, I read Scarlett and Rhett Butler’s People.  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.  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!  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?).  Well, in reality it took me a good month to read.


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! How different I am.

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.  How atrocious and prevalent slavery was in the deep South, and how people could think there was no other way.  How so many 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!  It just may go from the rosy spot as your “favorite book” as a child to one that is much more eye opening and a completely different experience to read as an adult.

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 tie something back to what he was learning in school and he was sold.  So, we spent a week watching the four hour movie little by little each night.


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, to the best of my ability.  It definitely opened the door for hard conversations.

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.


Gone With the Wind : Paperback  |  Blueray

On My Bedside Series  |  Adventure is Out There {40×41} Bucket List

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19 thoughts on “Gone with the Wind {40×41}

  1. Yum yum yum grape salad and pimento cheese. You’ve inspired me to reread GWTW. I havnt thought of it in years and can’t wait to start. I don’t think my 24 and 19 yo sons have seen the movie either. We might need to watch that over the holidays. I alwYx enjoy your posts.

  2. I had the same response to watching the movie as an adult! Her selfish, cruel behavior was no longer heroic in my eyes, but horrible. And mealy- mouth Mellie was no longer lame, but full of grace & honor! Need to reread- thanks for the fun encouragement!

  3. I also started reading Gone with the Wind this fall but I haven’t finished it yet. I have seen the movie but this is my first time reading the book. Love it so far but the book is so huge that I didn’t bother taking it on the plane with me last week. I am reading it mostly at bedtime so it’s taking awhile. So great to hear that John has shown such an interest! I had to laugh about the Pokemon comment, though! We were in California last week and my boys couldn’t wait to tell all their friends all the great Pokemon they caught out there! Have a great weekend!

  4. GWTW is my favorite movie of all time. I remember seeing it at the drive in as a young child. I have never read the book and I certainly should do that. Thanks for sharing!

  5. While I’d see the movie many times and love it, I didn’t read the book until a college course on women in literature but you’re inspiring me to go back and read it again Hopefully they’ll re-release the movie in theaters soon! I saw it when it was released the last time and it was so fun to see it on the big screen.

  6. I so loved this post and your insight from 20 years ago to now. That is so true…we do see things we missed at our different stages of life. I LOVE that you were able to share with John a balanced view. They have to have both sides of a story to shape their views for themselves. GWTW has always been a favorite of mine. I even love the museum at the zoo. Can’t think of the name of it…Battle for Atlanta and round:)
    I know you know this…but time flies and all these moments go so quickly. Mine are grown and I miss those days even though I love these days.
    Keep on teaching those little ones.

  7. If you’ve not yet done it, you’ve also got to read Donald McCaig’s “Ruth’s Journey” about Mammy and her origin story. It goes not only into Mammy’s background but also about Scarlett’s mother Ellen and Scarlett as a little girl. One of the best books I’ve read in a long while, and as an American Lit. teacher, I read A LOT. Put a hardback copy on your Christmas list–you’ll want to keep this one and re-read it as well.

  8. I haven’t read the book in some time, though I was older than a teenager – it’s interesting to read how your perspective is so different as an adult (and mother). Now you’ve convinced me to give it another go. It remains a favorite, as does the movie, even if I’m the only one around here that wants to watch it! xoxo

  9. I read the book in 1973 when I was 14 (I’m old now!), then saw the movie and fell absolutely in love with everything about it. Like you, I loved the costumes and how pretty Scarlett was. It was only as I got older that I realized the horrors of the War. Living in South Carolina, I’ve been exposed to both sides of the war, have been to Fort Sumter and Charleston, and living here in Columbia know the devastation when the Union Army burned our city. Our state capitol, the State House, has six bronze stars marking the hits from cannonballs. I’ve also read Scarlett and Rhett Butler’s People, as well as books about the making of GWTW (the movie). This will forever remain one of my very favorite books and movies (even though Scarlett makes me want to scream at times!)

  10. One of my very favorite birthdays ever my parents surprised me by attending a showing in a very old theater. Seeing it on the big screen was utterly spectacular! However, I agree, I think her indifference for her children is much more pronounced in the book, which causes me to love the movie more. (Well, that and Clark Gable ;)!)

  11. That is one of my favorite books and I’ve read it several times. I’ve been to the museum and its great. Please post about the museum on your blog.

  12. Classics like Gone with the Wind, Tom Sawyer, etc are timeless but its funny how our perspectives of these great novels change through our lives.

    Hope John enjoys studying the Civil War. I live in Richmond, VA so Civil War tourism is promoted very big here since Richmond was the Capital of the Confederacy. Perhaps you could also schedule taking him to some battlefields around the South when you plan your trip to TN. Its much different reading something from a text book in class and then seeing it in person.

  13. Gone With the Wind is my favorite book and movie as well:) Now I feel the need to plan a weekend getaway to GA to visit the Margaret Mitchell House and GWTW museum:)) Thanks for the idea!!!

  14. Thank you for the great idea on a way to spend a cold, rainy weekend in Ohio! I purchased my copy last evening and am getting ready to hunker down with it :)

  15. I went back and read your bucket list, and it looks like you only have about 13 items left to go. We’ll done! By the way, GWTW and Coal Miners Daughter are my 2 favorite movies of all time. If you haven’t watched the latter, do so. I think you’ll like it because it’s another testimony to Southern grit and determination.

  16. I started listening to the Audible version while my daughter, Katie Scarlett (yes her real name!) was in a coma in ICU after a horrific ATV accident. When she woke up she asked to listen to it at night until she’d fall asleep. I’d like to think Scarlett’s perseverance & determination help my girl survive. I loved it before but even more now!

  17. There is another book you may be interested in, it is about Mammy’s life up until the Barbecue at Twelve Oaks. I’ve loaned it to a friend, but I believe it is called “The Story of Ruth.”
    I had always wondered about Scarlett’s mother’s story, and that is in this book.

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