I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
St. Martin's Griffin 1998
(originally published 1948)
Impact: Loved the style and gave me a fresh look at journaling and first person. Awesome.
Read it Again: Parts of it at least.
Recommend it: I think so...but portions of it are just weird.
What to Expect
A funny, quirky style mixed with the interesting story of a strange family and two girls' odd romances.
Has all the makings of something Gothic and than turns it into something absolutely fresh and funny. Doesn't take itself too seriously even though it often slips into something profound. :-)
The story itself is a little strange. The first half is much better than the second, although I loved the last chapter. There's certainly some questionable things going on.
The style totally resonated with me. Loved it.
I thought Dodie Smith did an amazing job of portraying the feelings of a teenage girl (sometimes a bit too much...). Cassandra is lovable and believable. She really did an awesome job here.
Some of her other characters were a bit strange or caricatured, but it didn't bother me. It seemed to fit in with the journal style and Topaz was simply hilarious.
There were certainly things she could have left out, but over all it's just a fun romance. It would get a PG13 rating before you put in the fact that their step-mom likes to commune with nature (leaving her clothes behind).
Her outlook on Christianity is a little hard to understand. She kind of builds on it and Cassandra getting together and than abandons it. She kind of leaves you with faith as simply something to ease pain and not fully live (in sorrow or joy). Pretty lame there...
Over all, if your interested in writing, it's certainly worth it for the style.
From the Book
It's hard to take a bit out without giving away anything, but here's a paragraph--
I finish this entry sitting on the stairs. I think it worthy of note that I never felt happier in my life--despite sorrow for father, pity for Rose, embarrassment about Stephen's poetry and no justification for hope as regards our family's general outlook. Perhaps it is because I have satisfied my creative urge; or it may be due to the thought of eggs for tea.
Thanks for reading,