I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Published by Wednesday Books on October 10th, 2017 (first published in 1948)
Genres: Classics, Fiction
“I am a restlessness inside a stillness inside a restlessness.”
I’ve been slowly making my way through some of those popular “100 Books You Should Read In A Lifetime” lists. As I skimmed the lists, I realized that I Capture The Castle was a book that kept popping up, but I had never even heard of it before.
With a sweet foreward by Jenny Han and high praise of J.K. Rowling, I knew I had to pick up this book. And, boy, am I glad I did!
The entire book is written from Cassandra’s perspective as she writes these journal entries. She starts the book off as a naïve and precocious teenager and blossoms into a young lady by the end of her last entry in the exercise book.
Cassandra is a delightful narrator full of life, energy, and drama. To be fair, she is a teenager so melodramatic airs are to be expected. She writes such pointed and detailed observations about people that she reminds me a little bit of Harriet from Harriet the Spy.
Her every thought, her emotions, and her intense feelings are all laid out for us to explore. It really felt like I was there in the moment with her and reliving her experiences in the dilapidated castle.
I chalk this up to time it was written in, but I could have done without the romance. But after all, Cassandra said that she wished she were in a Jane Austen novel! And, girl, same.
Smith created such poetic and melodic sentences through Cassandra. It made me a little bit upset I didn’t have her vocabulary and sentence structure when I was growing up and writing my own journal entries!
Cassandra’s voice remains kind and self-deprecating throughout the book. She’s always so generous with the way she describes everyone that she encounters. It’s very sweet and you can see that her observations are all coloured with love. Even during these so-called “terrible events” in the book, Cassandra writes as though she had rose coloured glasses on the whole time.
And sometimes, you really just need a lighthearted book to wade through the mess that’s going on outside. And this book took me to a bucolic and romantic time.
If you’re looking for a classic to read but want to avoid the stuffy ones that are boring, I highly recommend you check this out.