Book Reviews

Gone With The Wind

Gone With The Wind. It’s the story of the dramatic upheaval of the American Civil War and the constant feuding romance between that of determined Scarlett O’ Hara and the taunting ‘soldier of fortune’ Rhett Butler. From this epic novel comes one of the most famous lines of dialogue in movie history:

‘Frankly, my dear, I couldn’t give a damn.’

I remember the first time I read this pinnacle of a book, bracing myself at almost every page turned, looking for the words that had become so famously recited from the star studded movie screen of 1939. It wasn’t until finishing the book that I realised I had to wait until almost the very end of the brick of a novel, yet when the moment finally came I was deeply and movingly satisfied.

I cannot begin to describe what this novel means to me. I can only try. But it is a novel I hope to read every summer – for the rest of my life – and it is a novel I would urge you to read as well. It’s just that good.

With an affirming love of the Deep South and anything to do with the land of Dixie, I found in this novel a sense of place and a sense of oneness. And above all, I found a story I could get lost in and find the past; a past I have never known or  experienced but nonetheless a past I hold a passionate interest in.

I have an internal attachment to it. I can’t help it. I know it might sound ingratiatingly schmaltzy, but it’s true.

I think, no matter what, everybody has that one book in their lives that means something incredible to them; that stirs something within their soul, that makes them feel something. It does not necessarily have to be a book. Perhaps it could be a film, a movie score or even just one plain and simple song. Anything at all.

We all need something to convey meaning in our lives and, sometimes, things like this can be it. We crave something that it gives us, whether we realise it or not. It’s a special thing and it works like magic.

Gone With The Wind is an historical epic; one story told and delivered through the generations.

Scarlett O’ Hara can be mean and spirited, yes; yet she is also a woman who knows what she wants and, when paired with Rhett Butler, she is no longer a wiley female temptress with glinting green eyes and a curving upward smile. He sees her for what she is and, knowing this, he plays on her vulnerabilities.

He is, to be sure, a cad, no less. But I love to see their relationship unfurl; how one minute she wishes to see him dead and the next she is wishing for him to take her in his arms and kiss her, like a girl wants to be kissed.

Far from a healthy relationship, they play against each other like animals and, throughout it all, I am devouring every page.

There can be no book like Gone With The Wind which matches up to its strength and entirety. It is, without a doubt, a book I will keep on my shelf for the rest of my life and, even if I don’t read it every single year, I will be happy, at least, just to know it is there.

‘Since its first publication in 1936, Gone With The Wind has endured as a story for all our times.’

This is, quite simply, how much I love it.

Book Reviews, Hobbies

When God Was A Rabbit (is bliss)

It’s always the books people lend me that are the books I fall in love with the most.

This book is one of those books that, out of all, I love the most.

It has patiently sat on my shelf for a good few weeks (dare I say months?) and – finally – after getting through my first term of university, I have managed to read for fun – and this book was it! It helped me love reading even more, and get back to it. It was a swift and fast paced read; everything was just so magical but in the sense that it was still so relateable to the real and portrayed real life events throughout the narrative, but hints of fantasy were inherent throughout but only in the most subtlest of ways. Do not let this put you off.

I really enjoyed reading about the main protagonist’s, Elly’s, narrative most when she was reflecting on her childhood which takes up the first half of the book. It has that To Kill A Mockingbird feel to it as she writes and relates back to her past. When she grows up I found it difficult to disengage with her childhood voice and kept having to remind myself that now Elly was an adult – but for a child to have that strong a narrative voice that’s surely promising something good, isn’t it?

I really loved this book, I loved it so much I allowed the pages to get worn and the spine to gently break; it deserves to look loved because, although the copy I read wasn’t officially mine, I loved it indefinitely, and I think I will for a long time.

A very long time.