Colleen's Reviews > I Capture the Castle

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
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's review
Mar 19, 11

bookshelves: ya, to-be-read-aloud, will-reread-for-rest-of-life, get-sister-to-read
Read from March 13 to 19, 2011

I haven't come across anything I've wanted to recommend to everyone in sight like I do this book since I was 13 and read Ender's Game for the first time. From the first chapter the wry commentary surprised laughs out of me. The journal style narration was taken seriously--rather than pretending the narrator somehow has their book in hand every second of every day, or that writing chapter-length entries can be accomplished in five minutes before bed--and as a result the book feels like it's enmeshed in her life. It's also got a nice cheap little bonus in that the beginning of every chapter, Cassandra's emotionally worked up about her subject, promising dramatic events which make you even more eager to plunge in. The reflectivity of her journal is fantastic, too--Neil's comment about her personality is batted around through her only self-examinations and also present enough in the reader's mind that you, too, are thinking about ways in which what he said (view spoiler) is true. It even becomes a plot point eventually, when she remembers a conversation, vaguely, and digs back through her journal to find the comment and put it into action.

The natural surroundings of the castle and the poverty of the Mortmains... not to mention the love story... remind me of Wuthering Heights, absent everything I hated about Wuthering Heights. Cassandra has her wallowing moments (she is seventeen after all) but she actually loves life and loves her family, her house... she is, in fact, a good person, and for the large part, the other main characters are also just trying to be good people. (Some of them are better about it than others...)

The climax of the book surprised me, when I realized how close I was to the end with no resolution in sight. But it turned out to be because Cassandra effectively wraps up the tension in one brave, instinctive moment's decision. That kind of natural action by her is what makes the book wonderful.

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message 1: by Rachel (new) - added it

Rachel Putting this on my to-read list, then!

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