“When I read a book, I put in all the imagination I can, so that it is almost like writing the book as well as reading it — or rather, it is like living it. It makes reading so much more exciting, but I don’t suppose many people try to do it.” (I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith)
Imagine Pride and Prejudice married mid-century British humor, went to live in a ruined 14th century castle, and told their story from the first-person perspective of a precocious and self-consciously naive teen. Mixed metaphors aside, you are roughly picturing the basics of I Capture the Castle, your next read. The first half of this book made me howl with laughter, in the middle I got in a tiff with the narrator, and the ending made me think in a way such seemingly light fiction rarely does. This is a unique book, and J.K. Rowling’s blurb about the protagonist being merely ‘charismatic’ doesn’t do it justice.
Cassandra, the seventeen year old narrator, has a tendency towards the whimsical and speculative as she writes out the daily goings on of a year in her life. Her style is fast, conversational, and wickedly funny, and though she does tend toward the morbid when in love, this slightly annoying flaw ends up grounding her otherwise lofty thoughts and making her a more sympathetic, believable character. I have been recommending this book to everyone in sight recently, unwitting patrons and relations included. If you somehow missed this novel in the immediate aftermath of J.K. Rowling’s recommendation, now is your chance.
Recommended Action: Buy –
Borrow – TBR – Avoid
Length: 343 (Audiobook Length: 5 hours Quality: Impeccable)
Ending: True to the character
Further Recommendations: It just came to my attention that Dodie Smith wrote other books, including ‘the hundred and one Dalmatians’. After you get a taste for her style, I suspect only more of it will do.