This book is undoubtedly my least favorite book in existence. I’ll explain exactly why.
1). The main character. How can anyone stand her? Scarlett O’Hara is the least likably had character in any book I’ve read so far. She’s virtually impossible to like, even a little bit. She doesn’t everything because she’s selfish and doesn’t care about the other people around her. She even treats her own toddler son, who was scared to death by the Union soldiers bombing his home, like he was being annoying and misbehaving. I have to admit it’s impressive that this book got to be so popular with her as a main character. Here’s a quote about her:
“Dear Scarlett! You aren’t helpless. Anyone as selfish and determined as you are is never helpless. God help the Yankees if they should get you.” -Rhett Butler
First of all, she is definitely selfish. I guess she determined too, which was probably meant to make her seem strong and brave, but it makes her seem like something of a lunatic instead.
2). The other characters. Rhett was supposed to be bold and heroic, but instead he was a jerk to everyone. Melanie was more or less useless, although she is the most likable character in the book (which isn’t saying much). Ashley—he was also useless, bland, boring, flat, etc. Mammy was such a stereotype that I couldn’t stand any of the pages she was on.
2). The plot. Or, more specifically, the nonexistent and mish-mashed plot. So many things happened in the book that it was more of a life story than a novel. I don’t have anything against novels that cover years and years of a person’s life, but this was over the top. It never ended. It went on for hundreds of pages. And things still kept happening. This whole book was a giant, unnecessary drama where most tragedies could have prevented if the cast of characters (and the main character in particular) were more likable, more friendly, less spoiled, and many other good things that they were definitely not.
3). What it pretends to be. I was told that this was a novel about the Civil War. Don’t be fooled. It is not a novel about the Civil War. It’s a messy, confusing, depressing, and unsatisfying romance that is set against the backdrop of the Civil War and Reconstruction. Yes, it mentions battles and soldiers and field hospitals and the freeing of slaves and other Civil War-related topics, but that only takes up a tiny fraction of the book. The rest is Scarlett complaining and being dramatic about mistakes she made.
4). The ending. All that for nothing? Actually, worse that nothing. Pretty much every characters ended up as badly or worse as they are in the beginning of the book. Scarlett certainly ended up worse. What was the point of the book? It doesn’t even have a clear moral to justify the unsatisfying ending.
“My dear, I don’t give a damn.”
5). The issue of slavery. In the second part of the book that takes place after the war is over, former slaves are discussed a little (not much, because this book is preoccupied with Scarlett’s drama, but a little). Very single former slave complains about missing slavery and wishing things were the way they used go be. Historically, this is completely inaccurate. I understand the bias, but it still irritates me. For that reason alone, the book should not be as popular as it is.
. . . So I didn’t like it. One star. Actually, zero stars. I know a lot of people love this book, and I don’t want to offend anyone who does. But my opinion is that this is one of the worst books you could possibly read.