April Book Club - Gone with The Wind

Wednesday, 9 April 2014 § 0

Once again we met amidst the Victorian splendour of the Tiled Hall Café – and once tea and cake and scones had been purchased we settled down to discuss Gone With The Wind. The Pullitzer prize winning novel by Margaret Mitchell that was first published in 1937 and the Oscar winning film version which was made in 1939 and remains the most successful film ever made in terms of box office.

It’s both a long book and a long film and although most of us had seen the film at some point and so knew the story none of us had finished the book itself – though one of us had got to 73% and was determined to finish it as she was at the point where Scarlett marries Frank and she just had to know how it turned out.

All of us struggled with the racism in the book, the opening pages which set the scene of late 19th century southern American society are extremely shocking to enlightened 21st century eyes and it’s part of the criticism which surrounds the book and the film as neither really comment on the dreadful inequalities but just describes them. But those issues aside we all agreed it was a rattling good albeit long tale and the descriptions of Tara the plantation are so vivid we could smell and see the red earth. None of us wanted to be close friends with Scarlett but we would love to watch her machinations from a distance and we all agreed she was a survivor, it’s been argued that rather than it being a love story it is in fact a tale of survival and Scarlett does exactly that.

One of the things we do at Book Club is to compare the different covers we all have – one was a tie in to the film version with Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable in a passionate clinch, a couple of others also had a bodice ripper look about them but one had a background of burning buildings. It’s interesting to see how the covers change over the years to attract different demographics.

Our next meeting is Sunday May 18th 2.30pm Tiled Hall Café (just inside the Art Gallery on the Headrow) and we’ll be discussing The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim – as always we don’t mind if you haven’t finished the book, just seen the film adaptation or read the Wikipedia entry about it – come along, chat and have some cake with us.

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