I Capture the Castle (Dodie Smith, 1948)
I have to be honest and tell you that this book drove me into a bit of a reading slump.
I picked it up cos one of my favourite blogs is named after it. Maybe I needed something more caustic at the time, after reading J.D. Salinger. Something less 'consciously naive'.
Dont get me wrong, I liked it, I want to say that the tone is kind of like the Famous Five series, but for little rosebuds, full of wonderment typical of young teenager; and flourish language. It's extremely well written and compelling. But ultimately, it made mee feel old and jaded. I feel like it's the kind of book that should be read at a younger age, round 14 maybe, when you feel trapped by your pretty bedroom walls during Summer vacation, and longing for escapades... and a little bit of flirting.
Reading this book reminded me of the joy I felt while reading Enid Blyton as a kid. I was in awe with those clever, eloquent children in search of adventure.
In place of adventures, Cassandra the 17-year-old narrator and her sister Rose are experiencing the discovery of love. It got a bit too Mills & Boon-ey for my own taste, with all the romantic chassé-croisé but what I really loved is the description of the English country side that transpired. It is a truly beautiful ode to its greenery and magic. Dodie Smith wrote this novel, her first, when she moved to California and deeply missed the United Kingdom. Between the lines, you could almost hear her heart weeping.
It is a brilliant Summer, or even Spring, read (check out my other book recommendations for Summer: Bonjour Tristesse and Brideshead Revisited)
Favourite quote: Noble deeds and hot baths are the best cures for depression.
The 2003 film adaptation is a very good one, so do watch it if you can't be bothered with reading the book. The visuals are sublime and the actors are spot on: Romola Garai, Rose Byrne... and Bill Nighy *heart-shaped eyes*.
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