Monday, April 19, 2010

"I write this sitting in the kitchen sink."

It must have been a couple of years ago that I watched the film version of I Capture the Castle but now I've finally gotten around to reading Dodie Smith's fantastic book and I'm sure this won't be the only time.  This was obviously a strong story because it stuck with me through the years.  I didn't remember the resolution but I definitely remembered the spunk and vigor of the narrator, Cassandra Mortmain.

Cassandra is a seventeen year old who lives in a dilapidated castle with her one-time author father (Mortmain), an artistic stepmother (Topaz), her twenty-one year old sister (Rose), a younger brother (Thomas) and a room-and-board helper (Stephen).  This story is told through her journal, as she attempts to "capture" her life and the lives of those around her.  They live a life of near poverty but think they are fairly happy -- until a young American, Simon Cotton, and his brother Neil come to town to claim ownership of a local manor.  It's up to the Mortmains to not lose themselves in the wealth and charm that the strangers bring to town.

I adored Cassandra and I adored this book.  She is bright and thoughtful and is far from perfect but always striving to be the best person she can be.  The things that happen in the story are almost secondary to Cassandra's development as a person.  I know that this book is a favorite for many of you and it is absolutely deserved.  Strangely, I started watching the film on Netflix again this morning and loathed it.  It is quite dark and negative.  I will probably watch the rest just out of curiosity but the book is going to be my go-to for this story in the future.

Wishing I was a writer,
K


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16 comments:

  1. Sounds like a marvelous read Kristen. Thanks

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  2. This sounds really good. I love a story about a castle. :)

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  3. This book is one of my favorites! And yeah, I saw the film after reading the book, and I was very disappointed. It doesn't capture the light-hearted tone that Cassandra's diary has in the book. I think the events of the book are a bit bleak really, and without Cassandra's narrative voice being wry about it, they come through as being bleak. (Plus I can't stand Romola Garai.)

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  4. i am pleased to read that you enjoyed this - it is one of my all time favourites and has a special place in my heart. Cassandra is a wonderful narrator

    Lovely post, thanks for sharing

    Hannah

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  5. I've never seen the movie, but I LOVE this book. It is one of my very favorite reads. I think it's too bad they already did a film, because I would have loved to see Tilda Swinton as Topaz.

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  6. I read this for the first time in high school and LOVED it. I reread it a couple years ago, and it was just as magical! I made my mom read it, and she loved it too. :) Such a gem!

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  7. This really is such an enjoyable book--I read it before watching the movie, and felt the movie fell far short of the book, especially in tone, as you point out.

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  8. I believe that I read this at one point ... believing it was actually "We Have Always Lived In A Castle." : )

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  9. That's one of the best first lines ever! I loved this book.

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  10. Group response -- everyone who hasn't read this needs to and I'm sorry that anyone had to see the movie and I hope nobody else does. ;) I'm so glad that there is such positivity around this book!

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  11. Unfortunately, I am in the minority here! I really do not rave about the book and only thought it was so-so! :(

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  12. Tif - Was it something specific or just more of a general "not my thing"?

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  13. I honestly can't put my finger on any one thing or another! It took me a while to get through the book and I set it aside thinking . . . That was alright, I guess. Maybe it had to do with the time that I read it . . . It was last year the month before I moved, so I did have a lot of other things going on at the time!

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  14. This is one of those should-have-read-it-long-time-ago books for me! Glad that this is one of your favorites!

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  15. Tif - Well, everyone doesn't have to love the same books. :) Do you think you might re-read it at some point or was it meh enough for you to be done with it?

    aths - I hadn't even heard of it until recent years. I'm not sure how I missed it when I was younger! Very glad I picked it up now though!

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  16. I think I may end up trying it again! I'm not sure when, but I do want to at some point in time!

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