Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell is among my all-time favorite novels. The sheer size (959 pages) discourages many readers, but please don’t miss this novel. Mitchell managed to create a novel that has it all: strong characters, southern charm, civil war, romance, deception, powerful writing, etc. Seriously Gone with the Wind has it all!
The characters are what truly drive this novel as they are the most imperfect protagonists imaginable. Scarlett O’Hara is vain, selfish and deceiving. At times while reading it becomes difficult to even want the best for her because she doesn’t truly deserve it. She is matched in her vile characteristics by Rhett Butler who is equally vain, selfish, and deceiving, but Rhett will find his way into your heart and never leave. In spite of their downfalls, you will find yourself rooting for them and hoping they find happiness.
The complexity of the characters is contrasted against proper southern culture. That culture is challenged by the bloodbath that is the Civil War. Mitchell provides a heart-wrenching look into the pain that the Civil War caused for all involved. Never again will you be able to view the Civil War through the heartless lens of history but instead you will feel the heartbreak that the Civil War caused for all.
Although this is one of my favorite books, I will admit that it is not always easy reading. The middle of the book becomes a little dry and difficult to push through. While reading the story will keep your attention but it becomes difficult to convince yourself to pick it back up. If you push through the dry section, you will be rewarded by the best southern novel ever written.
Nothing goes better with Gone with the Wind than Southern Style Sweet Tea. My fear, however, is that you don’t know how to actually make sweet tea. Tablespoon.com has a pretty good recipe for sweet tea except it is missing a pinch of baking soda. Add a pinch of baking soda to the bottom of your pitcher to ensure a smooth tea. Bring out your inner southern belle/gentleman and enjoy your tea while reading Gone with the Wind.