The Book Meme Challenge: A book you hated
Grant pardon, friends, but at the moment I am lost in a fog of abstraction and therefore have little intelligible to say about My Favorite Classic, whatever the last word might be taken to mean. Therefore I am stepping neatly on to A Book I Hated, and shall dance my way back to classic books when my brain comes back.
If there is anything I have learned from the first third of the Meme Challenge, it is that far too often I have done a book the injustice of reading it at such a young age that I failed to appreciate it – or, at the least, have failed to reread it since. Sometimes one is fortunate enough to forget a book’s initial bad impression on oneself, but so far such has not happened with me and Gone With the Wind.
This book, in all its tremendous girth, was pushed at me by my mother – not, so far as I recall, because she enjoyed it so very much herself, but because she thought I should be reading something a bit more challenging.
Well. A challenge indeed: to have a civil war shoved down one’s throat (how would you like that? I confess I am not fond of reading about war, nor, apparently, do descriptions of the antebellum South move me), and where there was intrigue, to have it ruined by the figure of Scarlett O’Hara – a figure that was allegedly quite nice indeed, which might have been what I disliked so much about it.
Where others see an Irish-blooded southern belle determined to survive, I see a brutal and selfish gold-digger of a girl. I hated her harping on about Ashley (in the course of three other marriages), the battle scenes, and how her relationship with Rhett never got beyond foolish pride and wrathful passion. Where there might have been love, mutual support (beyond finances), and some measure of happiness, there was only self-centeredness (or, in Rhett’s case, doting on his daughter).
I felt sorry for Rhett that his daughter died. I felt sorry for her, and for her grandfather in whose steps she fell.
I most assuredly did not feel sympathetic to Scarlett’s hunger, or the loss of her original way of life, or the loss of her youth, or the loss of her husband. Mostly, I felt annoyed that I’d bothered reading a thousand pages about her life.
By the time Rhett said he didn’t give a damn, I didn’t either.