This is The Great American Novel, written by Margaret Mitchell while she was bedridden. Published on June 10, 1936, it instantly became a best seller, and, in 1939, one of the most popular movies of all time, Gone with the Wind, starring Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara and Clark Gable as Rhett Bulter, premiered.
The copy that I’m reading, the version published by Pocket Book Fiction, is 1448 pages in all. I think it’s the longest book that I have ever read, and also one of the best as well. But don’t let the page number keep you from picking up this book. It’s definitely worth your while to read.
Gone with the Wind not only portrays a very independent woman, Scarlett O’Hara, and her famous romance with Rhett Butler, but also the other not-as-commonly seen side of the Civil War — the Confederates. It gives detailed insight into the lives of common people of the South as they wait in suspense for their husbands, fathers, and sons to come home and for life to go on as planned.
Scarlett O’Hara is a Southern belle (simply a very pretty girl). She has everything a girl could possibly want: the looks, the charms, the money, and the beaux (suitors). She goes about her days dancing at parties, strutting her 16 inch waist, and flirting with men. The only problem in her life is Ashley Wilkes, a handsome and serene young man. She is desperately in love with him, and yet the rumor is that he is going to marry Melanie Hamilton, his cousin.
After discovering that the rumor is true (and meeting Rhett Butler for the first time), Scarlett, heart-broken, agrees to marry Charles Hamilton, Melanie’s brother. Thus is the beginning of her crazy story of survival. From fleeing the burning Atlanta and the Yankees to sweet-talking her sister’s beau into marrying Scarlett herself, Scarlett will never give you a dull moment.
Another reason why to read this book: vocabulary. Gone with the Wind is packed with SAT vocabulary words like impudence, fickle, and blithe. It’s a fun way to learn your words, instead of sitting down with a list to memorize. Other good books to improve your SAT vocabulary are Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (oh, I just watched the 2005 version starring Keira Knightley: “I love you. Most ardently.”), Emma also by Jane Austen, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. You’ll also find (or you can read Sparknotes) that Gone with the Wind is full of themes, motifs, and many other useful SAT essay material.
The movie is also excellent — I love Scarlett’s dramatic dresses. It’s old, yes, but it’s worth your time to sit down and watch.
5 stars for both the book and the movie. Definitely upholds its “the Great American novel” title, and a much easier and more interesting read than your history book.