Monday, January 4, 2010

Scarlett - Alexandra Ripley

After enjoying the soap opera-esque quality of Gone with the Wind, I was eager to see how the saga continued in this sequel (by a different author). At the opening of Scarlett, Scarlett and Rhett find themselves in marital discord. Rhett is off trying to increase his fortunes, while Scarlett finds herself shut out of society after making a scene at Melanie Wilkes's funeral. As in the original, Scarlett is shrewd and successful when it comes to business, but her self-centered ostentatious ways have her on the outs with everyone else around, including her estranged husband. And so begins her never-ending quest to chase after that which she cannot have. While I found the writing style amazingly similar to the original and enjoyed basking in the trashiness of the gossip and Scarlett's frivolousness, I found myself growing tired of it all by about page 300 (out of 800 or so). Scarlett's inability to face reality or to recognize that the world does not revolve around her was beyond anything I could tolerate. Her horrid treatment of her own children also made her such an incredibly unlikeable character that I found myself strongly rooting against her when it came to her efforts to win Rhett back. While the author tried a number of twists and turns, even sending Scarlett off to stay with relatives in Ireland, I just didn't feel the same enjoyment out of this as I did the original. It was fun to see what someone could do with the characters, but it wasn't long before I was just itching for it all to be over. Intriguing and exciting at the outset, but quickly grated on my nerves.

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