I’ve passed the half way mark on reading Gone with the Wind. Progress isn’t as bad as it may first sound, as I’m 500 pages into a 960 page book, after only two weeks. Compare this to Infinite Jest, where it took me a month to reach the halfway mark. The big difference, as I’ve mentioned before, is that I’m enjoying reading Gone with the Wind. I’m usually eager to pick up the book and dive into the world of Tara, the Civil War and Scarlett O’Hara.
Having not seen the movie, I was pretty vague on a lot of the story details, or so I thought. But now, after having read half the book, I find it amazing how much I really do know about the book, the story and the characters, all just picked up over the years through mentions, movie clips, etc. I suppose it’s one of the most popular books of all time and one of the most popular movies of all time.
I knew that Scarlett would be very hungry at some point, which I deduced from the oft quoted line, “as God is my witness, I shall never be hungry again!” So that was always in the back of my mind as the good times were rolling in the land of cotton. I knew Rhett Butler would drive Scarlett out of Atlanta as the town burned to the ground, because I’ve heard about how the producers burned all of MGM’s old sets and props to create the large inferno. And while I haven’t go there yet in the book, I’m pretty confident that tomorrow, will be another day.
And speaking of Rhett Butler, I’m finding it very difficult not to picture Clark Gable. I know what Gable looks like and I know what he sounds like. Whenever the book talks about Rhett, I find myself picturing Gable, and he’s usually saying, ‘frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.’ But sometimes, I picture Albert Brooks, who once did an impersonation of Gable on The Tonight Show using a lemon. It's a classic bit. It doesn't really take anything away from the book, but it shows how much impact a movie can have on our impression of a book. This is a movie I haven't seen, and it influences many of my perceptions.
But I digress. The war is over, things are starting to look up for the O’Hara clan, and I’ve got to get back to my reading.