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Terrible Reviews of Great Books: Gone with the Wind

gone wiht the wind

There is no such thing as a universally loved book. Each month, we’ll feature a book from Time’s list of the best 100 English language novels of all time. From the nasty to the snarky to the downright absurd, we’ll highlight some of the strange reasons why some people hate these great reads. This month we’ll be taking a look at reviews for Gone with the Wind by Mitchell

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell was first published in 1936 and has sold more than 28 million copies worldwide. It won the Pulitzer prize in 1937 and was adapted into one of the most popular films of its time. But I have yet to read it. A copy has languished on my bookshelf for years in part because of the sheer length, in part because I don’t love romance novels, and finally because I have read some of the criticisms. Perhaps this will be the year I finally get to it, or perhaps not given some of these reviews.

The book has 2,529 customer reviews on Amazon. The average rating is 4.8 stars and only 2% are 1 star reviews. In fact, this is our highest rated book since we have started this feature. Almost all the 1 star reviews were given for formatting issues or problems with specific editions. In fact there were so few 1-star reviews on Amazon that we had to combine Goodreads and Amazon reviews to find enough comments. And, unlike Amazon, Goodreads reviewers tend to be more eloquent and thoughtful in their reviews so it was hard to find really awful ones. But, here’s a sampling (my comments in blue):

NOTE: I did not edit for grammar or spelling. All reviews were copied exactly as posted on Amazon or Goodreads.

  • There was a reason I never before read past the first 50 or 100 pages – Scarlet is a raging evil snarky miserable bitch and I hate her. None of the other characters were particularly likable – ranging from sniveling, whiny sissies to evil, snarky assholes.
    But by God did it feel good when Rhett tells her “My dear, I don’t give a damn” because neither do I. Actually, it seems like you do.
  • A great ending to this book would be “And Mammy pulled so hard on Scarlett’s laces that scarlett’s organs failed and she died. El Fin.” Then you wouldn’t have to keep reading the next 500 pages or so.
  • +1 star for Rhett Butler
    -1 star for Scarlett O’Hara being a ninny who prefers an animate bran muffin to Rhett
    -23570328502385 stars for being racist as hell. Note to self: I must adopt this rating system for my next Goodreads review.
  • Reading this was like being transported to an alternate universe where up was down, red was green, sweet was bitter and racist s**t was not racist s**t but a ~beautiful ideal~. I actually started worrying towards the end that I was going to come out of the book a more racist person.
  • The main character, Scarlett f***ing O’Hara, does a great job at making you want to punch her in the sternum within the first five seconds of the story.
  • One star because its a classic and that is all.
  • Excrement. Not one to mince words.
  • I threw this book against the wall so many times that it fell apart before I was half way done. Then I decided that I could spend my time reading books I enjoyed so I never finished this. And I’ve never regretted that choice.
  • Am I supposed to like these people? Should I be sharing the emotions of Scarlett and Rhett? Because I was wishing for their demise since the page they were introduced. This seems to be a recurring theme.
  • I would recommend this book to people who are extremely boring and enjoy torturing their own mind. There’s got to be a Reddit group for such folks.
  • Mitchell seemed to forget what the KKK actually got up to and portrays them as ‘gallant gentlemen’ which they certaintly were not.
  • i. hated. this. book. so. much. it was too boringgggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg you missed a few “g”s. 
  • It’s a shame Margaret Mitchell didnt write another book. I reckon anything would have been better than this. What a pile of crap! Turns out you’re in luck since a few more pieces were published after her death.
  • I feel like I need to brush my teeth with Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, floss with Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, and gargle To Kill A Mockingbird to get the taste of this shamelessly racist, revisionist diatribe out of my mouth.

We want to hear from you? Did you read this book? What did you think?

Coming up next month: Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Want to read more? You can check out our past Terrible Reviews of Great Books:

The Great Gatsby
The Catcher in the Rye
The Lord of the Rings
Nineteen Eighty Four
To Kill a Mockingbird
Lord of the Flies
Animal Farm
The Catcher in the Rye
The Grapes of Wrath

11 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jillian #

    What a fun series! Uh, I’ve read Gone with the Wind five times. I’ve never read a more gripping novel. The KKK scene is definitely uncomfortable, but the book is still worth a read. OR FIVE. I think! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    June 26, 2017
    • I’m glad you like it! The consensus definitely seems to support a 4-5 star rating

      Liked by 1 person

      June 26, 2017
  2. Tracy S #

    Laughinggggggggggggg so hard at this! (Note the judicious use of the ‘g’) Thanks, Jen!

    Liked by 1 person

    June 26, 2017
  3. Book Worm #

    Well y’all know this is one of my favourite books of all time and that is mainly because after spending most the book hating Scarlet, Mitchell turned the whole thing on it’s head so I actually cared what happened.

    My attitude to the idealised portrayal of the South was to ask knowledgeable people for book recommendations that show the other side of the story.

    Liked by 1 person

    June 26, 2017
  4. Refreshing! what a great idea. I’ve tried to read Gatsby about 3 times – have now given up – not that I’m losing sleep over the issue.

    Liked by 1 person

    June 27, 2017
  5. I read it probably 30 years ago in school. I don’t remember much of it, but do remember that Scarlett irritated me for most of the book. I remember discussing in class the nature of Irishness in the book, the racism and how we react to it now compared with when the book was written, and the nature of mythologising the past in literature from the southern states of America. A book I read much more recently, published at the same time as Gone with the Wind and doing a similar thing, is Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom!, which is one of my favourite books by him.

    I think you should give it a try, Jen, since you own a copy!

    Liked by 1 person

    June 27, 2017
    • I will probably read it soon. It has made its way into my top tier TBR bookshelf. I’d love to read it in school to discuss with others.


      June 27, 2017
  6. Tessa Bartels #

    5 stars from me, despite it’s problems. I’ve read it three times … once in high school (when the movie had just be re-released, and my best friend and I saw it about eight times), again in the late ’90s, and most recently in 2012. Here’s a link to my Goodreads review:

    Liked by 1 person

    June 27, 2017
  7. I’ve only read it once, a few years ago. I wasn’t too excited for the first 50-100 pages or so, but then really got into it and gave it 4.5 stars in the end. Made my favourites list that year! These reviews are hilarious, though!

    Liked by 1 person

    July 7, 2017
  8. Holly B / Dressedtoread #

    That was a lot of fun reading those reviews!!

    Liked by 1 person

    July 18, 2017

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