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.
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