Tuesday, May 21, 2013

reads #15: april 2013

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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Jane said...

I really like this book, but I do agree with you on how young the narrator seems, haha. I actually watched the movie first and I wish I hadn't because I couldn't imagine the settings for myself. I think the film did it justice though!

moira said...

at times, i was like 'erg get over yourself' then i remembered that i'm almost twice her age haha *ouch*
i generally can't be bothered reading a book if i saw its film adaptation first for that same reason. What age were you when you read it? xx

Extra Solar said...

ah romola garai! i've been watching the hour and developing a bit of a girl crush on her.

moira said...

i've been meaning to watch this show for ages! I was really touched by her performance in Inside I'm Dancing. Beautiful actress xx

A said...

Hmm now I am unsure if I would like to read this book or never bother and just watch the film... I guess it's always good to give something a chance... I have not been reading much at all lately I'm sad to say though!

moira said...

oh no i didnt mean to put anyone off. i guess it depends what kind of mood you're in,i'm sure you're not as old and cynical as me :) also the end is an interesting one if that can help xx

little henry lee said...

i read this book years and years ago when i was a lot younger and i remember feeling a bit the same about it even then, but i've always been a cynical person. but it might be perfect for someone else so it's always worth reviewing even if you didn't love it. :)

little henry lee

moira said...

ha i'm glad i'm not the only one who hasn't totally been swept away by this book. Felt a bit guilty while reviewing it after reading/watching almost unanimous praise for it. I do try to seek for the positive in everything tho and this book has a lot of endearing traits.

V said...

I could not have loved this post more! I Capture the Castle is one of my favourite novels and I agree with you about the right age to read it... perhaps reading it now will leave me with a very different feeling to when I read it as a 13-year-old.

The film adaptation is also great, both visually and performance wise - it particularly lingers in my mind for introducing me to Henry Cavill! :)

moira said...

@victoria rodrigues: i think the books that had a big impact on us as kids, will always have a strange power on us, even if the meaning alters.
I have to admit, I didn't know cavill before ICTC but he's sure pretty to look at :) i saw that he is in the new superman film, the lycra suit seems to fit nicely ;) x

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