Thursday, March 17, 2011
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
My favorite parts of this book are the funny parts. In one of the first scenes, Topaz and Rose find a bottle of green dye. Because their clothes are all worn and old, they start dying everything! I thought this whole part was really funny. Also, there is a dress form in Rose and Cassandra's room, and Cassandra talks for it in a fussy older woman's voice. Every time she started with "Miss Blossom's" voice and motherly advice, I found myself smiling. "Well, it's a start, girlies, there's no denying that." When they first meet Simon Cotton, he has a beard. The girls can't get over it and all their conversations about it crack me up. "Simon Cotton's black beard looks queerer than ever by day light.....How can a young man like to wear a beard?" and "Rose, you couldn't marry a man with a beard." I also really liked the symbolic shift of power when his beard is shaved. But I don't want to spoil it anymore.
Here are a few other lines in Cassandra's voice that I liked:
"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."
"That evening of the row was our lowest depths; miserable people cannot afford to dislike each other. Cruel blows of fate call for extreme kindness in the family circle."
"I heard myself explaining to God as I always do about good, kind, useful lies."
I wouldn't discourage anyone from reading this, especially since it has been really well-received over the past 60 something years since it was published. I enjoyed the story, but I wouldn't give it as a gift, or tell you to rush out and find a copy. I liked it fine.
I'm guessing a lot of you have read it, and I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.
A side note or two: This is the cover of the paperback I got from the library. Not until I searched for a jpeg to post did I notice the faces in the clouds, gag. Also, the cover says, "the acclaimed novel is now the most romantic movie of the year." That was surprising to me because I don't think the book is terribly romantic. But researching the movie that came out in 2003 (R), I can see that they took a lot of liberties. And apparently focused on some private nude scenes with the step-mom. In the book, Cassandra just mentions how she "communes with nature" and it wasn't sexual.