Oh my. Am I ever glad that I have finally begun to read this book! I shouldn’t have waited so long. It IS a chunkster, and I AM busy right now. But what a book.
How did I get here?
Where am I coming from?
I feel like this is weird, but I have never read this book, never seen the movie, and had only the slightest and vaguest idea what it was about. All this, and I am a Southerner (to the extent that a Houstonian is a Southerner… that’s a different post). In my mind, this book is a little bit crossed with The Glass Menagerie. I don’t know why. I read the latter, in high school, although I do not seem to have a lasting impression of it. I think I did admire it; I remember the glass menagerie itself; I remember the suitors and my frustration with the mother. But there are some blurry lines between the one masterpiece of Southern-set fiction which I have never read, and the one I have. By the end of this readalong I certainly expect to have that cleared up!
What’s the drill?
Erin of The Heroine’s Bookshelf is hosting this readalong that involves 5 discussion dates, by which we will all have read 5 sections of the book. I am doing my best to pace myself so that the section in question is still fresh when the discussion comes along. So, we can all hop over there to join in a discussion, which I certainly will. But! I have my thoughts to share with you here, too.
What do I think so far?
This is an extraordinary work, just in the sense of evocative description, Mitchell’s ability to place me firmly in the time-and-place. At the end of the first page, I was hooked and admiring. She chooses very unique adverbs that draw my attention and let me see what she sees. The twins’ “long legs, booted to the knee and thick with saddle muscles, [were] crossed negligently.” Crossed negligently? She could have spent a paragraph trying to tell me what she has shown with that one adverb. “They were as much alike as two bolls of cotton.” Or earlier, Scarlett’s “green eyes in the carefully sweet face were turbulent, willful, lusty with life, distinctly at variance with her decorous demeanor,” because “her true self was poorly concealed.” I already feel like I know a great deal about all 3 of these characters – with no dialogue – and all this on page one! I’m all the way in.
As promised (threatened?) by Erin, I was indeed tempted to just rush past this first section and keep going. I’ve decided to stick with the schedule, though, which allows me to read other books in between. Part one was delightful, and able to stand alone, at least for a bit. I got to know Scarlett, appreciated her odd and not completely likeable personality and traits. This is a good stopping point, as a chapter of her life ends; part two will clearly begin the next. I look forward to it.
Please be sure to stop by the hosted readalong discussion, too.