Monday, March 4, 2013

I Capture the Castle

I Capture the Castle
by Dodie Smith

Genre:  Classic
Pages:   352
Published:  3/28/99 by St. Martin's Press (reprint)
Format:  paperback

My Rating:
5 out of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed this charming book about a poor, eccentric English family living in a crumbling old castle.  The story is told through the journals of 17 year old Cassandra Mortmain.  Cassandra is an endearing narrator, young and witty and sometimes overly dramatic.  I found her to be very Anne Shirley-esque at times, which means I loved her!  She pulled me into her world from her very first words:  "I write this sitting in the sink. That is, my feet are in it; the rest of me is on the draining board, which I have padded with our dog's blanket and the tea-cosy."  Those words superbly set the tone for the entire novel.

I Capture the Castle is a fairly light and easy read.  It had me smiling often, mostly at the clever and funny ways that Cassandra described everything.  But I think there are some deeper themes in this book.  Several times the topic of Cassandra being "consciously naive" is brought up in the story.  I felt that was true not only about Cassandra but also about the book itself.  While on the surface it could be described as naive and innocent, this is more than just a light-hearted novel.   At its heart, his is a coming of age story, detailing the events that lead Cassandra from childhood to womanhood.  It tackles some serious topics:  love, marriage, poverty, religion.  Yet it never loses its whimsical touch and charming appeal.

I can't find much to critique about this book.  The more I think about it, the more I loved it! 

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