Gone With The Wind is still worth your reading time today

I’d recently been reading Pat Conroy’s memoir about his reading/writing life, and stumbled upon a beautiful tribute to the novel, Gone With The Wind. The words caught me up short because the book is well over 80-years old and, brutally, a southern novel about a lifestyle and mindset long since faded. But, as one who had never read the book and could barely remember the movie, I decided to take the paperback with me on a trip to the beach. I’m so glad I packed that brick. Not only because it was long enough (over 800 pages) to keep me entertained for five days of prime chaise lounge reclining, but because it reminded me of how brave writers are. Margaret Mitchell wrote an epic novel about a war, a culture, a mystique that was still quite fresh on the minds of her audience in 1936. The Civil War and it’s after effect was tangible and the generation who’d fought in that war, for those causes, were still alive. She took on a sweeping saga and personalized it through the eyes of four main characters, each with a unique POV. Scarlett and Rhett are iconic, but they’re as much anti-heroes as trailblazers. It’s going to take me a while to digest my final opinion on this novel, but it’s not the portrayals of blacks and whites, Yankees and Confederates, carpetbaggers and gentility, that’s so remarkable–it’s the interior life of two characters who resisted every box society tried to shove them into. Maybe it’s to prove that in those most unlikeable there is the grit it takes to survive.