"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of. but do it in private
and wash your hands afterwards." --Robert Heinlein.

We've moved!

For the next two years (Summer 2014-Summer 2016) I'll be blogging our family's adventures in China at www.chinesemileposts.wordpress.com

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Book Report: I Capture the Castle


buy it here


I've been constantly reading but it has sort of slipped my mind that I should be writing up book reports for my blog. Or maybe I just haven't been reading any books that have seemed worth writing up. Or maybe I keep remembering in the back of my head how my fifth grade teacher told me I wrote terrible book reports because I tended to summarize the entire book, but book-lengthed. Jed can attest to this. He often complains that it takes me just as long to recap a half hour sitcom as it would take him to just watch it.

I recently read Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle. I'm not sure when I first came across this book, but it's been on my "to read" list for awhile. I can tell you what attracted me to it... the title. Isn't this a great title?!? And I love name Dodie. If I was named Dorothy I would make everyone call me Dot or Dodie.

When I finally got around to reading I Capture the Castle, I was surprised by two facts. One, Dodie Smith also wrote what became Disney's 101 Dalmatians based on her own dalmatian, Pongo. And two, this book was first published in 1948. It seems like it has been recently buzzing around reading groups, so I was surprised to find out it was an older book. What brought it back? Was it in Oprah book club book?

I really enjoyed this book. It was sort of a happier, not R-rated version of Jeanette Walls's The Glass Castle. Both deal with families struggling in self-inflicted poverty, but Smith's story, set in England, has the luck of a rich American bachelor who comes to the family's rescue. There's even a hint of Bronte or Austen in this story.

Smith's story, set in the 1930s, is told through the journals of aspiring writer, and second oldest daughter in the Mortmain family, Cassandra. Her father wrote a famous book several years before, was briefly imprisoned for attempting to attack someone with a cake knife, and has been struck with writer's block ever since. Due to this, the family has been forced to sell of furniture and other possessions in order to buy food. Cassandra's older sister, Rose, desperately wants to be rescued out of this poverty and becomes lucky when a wealthy bachelor falls in love with her. This is the story of the Mortmain family, the crumbling castle they call home, the American family that enters and improves their lives. It is the story of both Cassandra and Rose falling in love and very much a story of Cassandra's coming of age.

1 comment:

The Man Your Husband Is Worried About said...

I don't know that I would have married a girl named Dodie. You're luck you had the name you have (or unlucky, perhaps).

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