*sigh* Well... I'm depressed.
Way nostalgic, incredibly biased, yet a mammoth that deserves to be tackled.
The pace is slow and full of description and social commentary yet it gets you into the swaying rhythm easily. The main characters reminded me of Wuthering Heights, so compelling despite their heavy flaws. The story takes us through the Secession War and the reconstruction while we follow Sacrlett's downward spiral.
I can hear all the complains: immoral characters, bias, hypocrisy, racism, historic apology. I can see how anyone touchy about any point would chuck this one to the wall. I read it as the characters view of the world, and it worked. I regarded Scarlett as I did Kathy Earnshaw, and it worked too.
Scarlett is a selfish, sociopathic creature, shined with the southern belle coat her mother fixed on her. She's a naive, spoiled kid whom the war forces to take great burdens, and it so happens that she has the strength in spirit to carry them, even if she crosses every moral line in the process (not that she ever cared much about those, just the appearance).
Rhett is the educated, male version of Scarlett. He's more aware of himself and the world, and so succeeds better in many a point that trips Scarett, social graces and political foresight being the very obvious. He can not only see the futility of social trappings (which he teaches Scarlett), but their use (which she forgets), and can don them if motivated, though he tires fast.
Their mix is an inevitable tragedy. Both of them tend to spoil any they touch, even in help; their combination is ruination.
Actually, out of all relationships, the only one that really works is Melly's and Sacrlett's (despite Scarlett too), the first taking care of society, the second of the practical aspects. While there is no man around, their teaming manages very well. It actually reminds me of a married couple's classical roles.
Anyway, I'm rambling. I have a lot of little thoughts about this one, and I think I posted most of them as I was going, but the gist is that I really liked it. It's sad and harrowing, and will push many peoples buttons, but it's beautiful too, and funny: every exchange between Sacrlett and Rhett always hit hilarity while ruining the gamut of emotions, and there were so many situations that made for dry or hypocritical humor.
An almost five stars for a different read.