Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Recommended Reading: I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

The next book I'm going to recommend for some good reading is a little gem I was introduced to through my book club. At the first line it became one of my favorites.

"I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. That is, my feet are in it; the rest of me is on the draining board, which I have padded with the dog's blanket and the tea-cosy."

I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith relates the adventures of the Mortmains, an eccentric family struggling to live in a decaying English castle in the 1930s. Narrated through journal entries of the intelligent and delightful teen-aged girl, Cassandra Mortmain, we meet her extraordinary family. First, there is her eccentric father, a writer who had one literary masterpiece published years ago, but has been unable to write since. Then there is her sister, Rose - beautiful, vain and bored - and her stepmother, Topaz, an artist's model who likes to be dramatic and commune with nature. Finally, there is their neighbor Stephen, incredibly handsome and hopelessly in love with Cassandra.

Cassandra records events with humorously insightful honesty, as she tries to come to terms with her own feelings. The result is a book both marvelously funny and genuinely moving. This book made me smile, chuckle, laugh, and even stop and think.

I Capture the Castle
is Dodie Smith's first novel, and was published in 1948. Dorothy Gladys 'Dodie' Smith was born in 1896 in Lancashire, England and was already an established playwright. She wrote the novel during a sojourn in America, and later became famous for authoring the children's classic The Hundred and One Dalmatians, which was inspired by her own Dalmation, Pongo. I Capture the Castle was made into a movie in 2003.

1 comment:

Tristi Pinkston said...

This is one of my favorite books of all time!