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Reviewers! Review Thyself: Gone with the Wind

Perhaps the most amusing section to browse through reviews is in the historical fiction. Readers of today, in the era of texting and bad fiction, attempt to wrap their minds around works written decades, or centuries, earlier.

Case in point, Gone with the Wind. The reviews for this book are utterly atrocious, it’s much like Dan Brown attempting to criticize William Shakespeare or F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Some of the literary criticism:

  • “I only knew the story from the movie, so I bought this book the week before we invaded Iraq, I’m sure at some subconscious level to read a viewpoint about war.” That just makes perfect sense, I think of Saddam Hussein every time I read about Rhett Butler, myself (yes, I’m being sarcastic). 
  • “At one point Mitchell is describing how the southern whites hate the Yankees so much because the Yankees have money and food and power and they do not, yet she doesn’t have any sense of irony to see that the whites are in the position that they put the slaves in for centuries.” Do we need to be reminded it’s a fictional novel? Likewise, slavery was a nationwide issue, just like Jim Crowe laws? For that mindset to be correct, we must also acknowledge the nation was built on the backs of slaves in one form or another. 
  • “And another thing that I did not like about the book is that most of the characters are serious sociopaths.” Yes, we know the characters were serial killers in disguise. The funniest quality is the writer of this review turns right around and declares: “I was glad they suffered and I’m glad they lost the war.” Anyone who is pleased because another human, or group of them, suffers the atrocities of wars is in need of some serious therapy, and likely medication.
  •  “I thought that amazon would have fixed the problem by now, but no. Page 713 is still missing, and in its place is page 813.” How is this a literary review?
  •  “There is so much lip service paid to how good this book is, and how everyone should read it, and yadda yadda yadda. The prose is boring, way too purple and prosaic. It makes Soap Operas look realistic.”
  •  “I use to feel bad about Sherman burning Atlanta, but that was before I read this book.” That’s much like saying you felt bad about what the Nazis did…. until. A book you disagree with shouldn’t really be fodder to justify war atrocities, in any war, period. 
  • “Written during the Great Depression when Americans needed escapism, GWTW and the resulting movie it spawned are primarily responsible for distorting many Americans impressions of slavery, as well as trivializing the horror of the Civil War.” The book was written for Michell’s family, not the nation, her family encouraged her to submit it to a publisher. Need we say it again: IT WAS FICTION. The book didn’t justify anything, for the nation was terribly racist long before this novel was ever conceived. 
  • “The casually racist attitudes of Margaret Mitchell are a good example, and enough to make any quasi-enlightened being howl with outrage. Ditto the views on Andersonville, Reconstruction and especially the benefits of slavery to Black people.” Our nation was casually racist until the 1960s.  

Reviews excerpted from this edition.


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