Terrible Reviews of Great Books: Gone with 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: