Gone With the Wind is my all time favorite book and I reread it about every ten years. That means I’ve read it at least four times since that first time I got my hands on a copy that looked like this in 1968 and seen the movie too many times to count without taking off my shoes.
At twenty, I was a young mother with a child who wouldn’t sleep at night and the book was thick enough I figured it would take me at least a week to read it. I was wrong! I got so caught up in the story that I read it in three days. I fell in love with Rhett Butler and if Husband would have agreed our son would have been Charles Rhett instead of Charles Lemar. I loved Scarlett’s spit fire determination and sassiness and decided that if I ever wrote a book (which was my secret dream) that all my heroines would have a back bone of steel and just as much sass as Scarlett.
The first line about Scarlettt O’Hara not being beautiful but having so much charm caught my attention. I wondered if the author pictured herself in the same way but when I found a picture of her with a book in her hands, I changed my mind. There was something hauntingly beautiful about the author as well as her words. By the end of the book, Margaret Mitchell was right up there next to the angels in my estimation. I declared I would read everything she’d ever written. When I went looking for the rest of her works, I figured out real quick that I had already read everything she’d ever written.
When I read the book the second time, I had three kids and found myself feeling more of Scarlett’s mother’s emotions. Raising a spirited child like Scarlett couldn’t have been easy, especially when the Mister O’Hara doted on her so much. And dealing with those next two daughters who weren’t as pretty or as popular with the young gents of the age would have taken the wisdom and patience of a saint.
The third time around, the book was an anniversary edition that looked a lot like this and it was Mammy who caught my attention. She was the one who ruled the roost even more than Scarlett’s Momma. And I could identify very well with her having to make all those decisions and do the bossing since my kids were in high school.
Each time I read the book, the characters took on a whole new depth and I understood their motives more and more. By the time I got around to reading it a few years ago, I realized that the reason was because my own life experiences had changed so much. I could relate to the characters that had lived through the tough times and had beat the odds and carved out a path in a brand new totally different world.
This past summer one of my best friends told me that she had a signed original copy of the book. I'd just love to look at that copy but alas, she knows I'd drool on it, and keeps in locked away in a safe. She is one smart cookie, let me tell you, but I do have an order in for a set of lock picks and a book called "Bank Robbing for Dummies." Shhh! Don't tell and I'll let you peek at it, too!
Readers have told me that they've reread my books second and third times. Do they find brand new depths with a second or a third reading? Does a twenty year old new mother find courage in a sassy heroine? Does a sixty year old grandmother see herself in one of those secondary characters?
Today, I’m grateful for readers who send emails and notes my way that say my books have made them laugh or cry or get mad or even sigh at the end because they wanted just one more chapter.
Do you ever reread books at different times in your life and find brand new gems between the pages? What's been your favorite read, reread and read again book?
I’ll give away a signed copy of One Hot Cowboy Wedding to one of the folks who comment today. Maybe it’ll even be one of those books that is read a second or third time!