Saturday, July 10, 2010

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

The Mortmain family is an odd family unit living in an odd residence. The family exists of sisters Rose and Cassandra, their brother Thomas, their father, their step-mother Topaz, and their orphaned helping hand Stephen. The family lives in an old dilapidated castle and their money is running out as they wait for their father to return to his writing glory and follow up his first successful book with another.

When brothers Simon and Neil Cottom get stuck in the Mortmain drive, their world starts to change. They just inherited land from England even though they had been living in America for a while. Rose determines that she is going to make one of the brothers fall in love with her so that she no longer has to live in poverty. Cassandra finds herself being left at home more and more as her family goes on trips to London with the Cottons, which gets Cassandra thinking about whether she agrees with Rose's selfishness. As she writes in her journal, she tries to find a way to help her father get back into writing.

The book is told through Cassandra's journal entries. She believes that she may be able to become a writer some day so she has some pretty lengthy descriptions of things that are not essential to moving the story along. I found myself skimming through these parts because I wanted to get on with the story. Rose's selfishness also made me increasingly frustrated with her as I got further and further through the book. Maybe that was the point though?

For a BBC Top 100 book I expected more from this book. There was a twist at the end but I felt it kind of fizzled out and wasn't worth the journey.

First Line: "I write this sitting in the kitchen sink."


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