June 25, 2008

Review: I Capture the Castle

I Capture the Castle
by Dodie Smith

I Capture the Castle is written as the diary of 17 year old Cassandra, who lives in an old castle with her older sister Rose, her father, a famous writer who has lost his muse; and her stepmother, a dramatic model for artists. They are scraping by with no income and no friends or neighbors when a family with two brothers moves in near by. The diary keeps track of all the interactions between the two families for the next year.

I reserved this book on CD after Eva's positive review as a book that every girl should read. I listened to it over a week or two, finishing it last Friday during a 4 hour drive south. I found it hard to get into but my kiddos were listening to it every time they were in the car and wanted to hear more so I kept going. The characters bothered me. Other than Cassandra, none of them seemed very real to me. And the diary format didn't always seem right. In the end I found it boring and I would have had no problem setting it aside at any point. I'm not sure I would consider it a must read for every girl but my daughter appeared to really like it. One quality in the book that I appreciated was that in the end everyone makes the right decisions no matter what their feelings say. And Cassandra is a very likable character throughout. I'm sure most girls would find it interesting but it wasn't the right book for me.

13 comments:

Sue said...

I read it earlier this year on a friend's recommendation and really liked it. Dodie Smith had some wonderful word pictures, I thought.

Eva said...

Awww: I'm sorry you didn't like it. At least your daughter did though!

Petunia said...

Sue-I plan to watch the movie and see if it grows on me.

Eva-don't feel too bad. I am also reading The Ballad of the Sad Cafe on your recommendation and loving it.

C. B. James said...

My partner and I both read this a few yeas ago. To sum it up, we loved the first half or so, but had a hard time finishing it.

Still, I'd give it four out of five stars based on the first few chapters alone. They are not realistic really, but they are lots of fun.

Carrie said...

I read this last year and also didn't really like it. But I read it on Sherry from Semicolon's review and she loved it! So I think it's a book you either really love or really just don't get it into. (I haven't heard of anyone hating it!)

Girl Detective said...

I followed you from semicolon. No, no, no, don't watch the movie! It's terrible. I really enjoyed the book, and the movie actually made me feel worse about it. I'm planning to re-read it soon, since so many people have been reviewing it.

I remember enjoying it a lot at the time, and appreciating it for a "happy" book, but in recalling it, I'm troubled by how the narrator treated the boy (Stephen?) who worked in their house, and how class and money were so important to the characters, rather than a person's character.

Josette said...

This book is in my TBR. I've heard that it's a good book and I can't wait to read it. It's too bad you didn't like it that much! Hopefully it'll be okay for me. :)

Petunia said...

c.b.-actually the part I liked best was the very very end where she has only the margins left to write in.

Carrie-yeah, there is nothing about it to hate it just didn't have a lot going on. It was so-so.

Girl-I wouldn't call it a happy book though earlier on it was more carefree. Thanks for letting me know about the movie.

Josett-it seems more people like it than not so the odds are in your favor.

Kate said...

Hello, popped over from Semicolon! I'm sorry you didn't enjoy this one - I loved it, though it's been a few years since I've read it. I thought it was a wonderfully melancholy coming-of-age type story with fantastic characters, and I particularly loved how it ended. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it so much.

Framed said...

I had read so many great reviews of this book and then I was pretty disappointed in it. I really hated the ending.

Kate said...

Oh, that's too bad, framed! I loved how it ended - sad, hopeful, not a happily-ever-after for everyone and sort of melancholy. It really got to me. What didn't you like about it?

Petunia said...

Kate-Rose was such an unworthy character yet she's the one that gets all the guys' hearts. And Cassandra twice pushes away love when it's offered. Ack! Those girls! BTW, nice to meet ya.

Framed-I guess I'm in good company. =)

Kate said...

You too, Petunia! I thought Rose got honest in the end - only in the end, though there were moments in the novel when you could see she was more than a pretty, vain face. And Cassandra - well - young love is never easy or certain, if don't mind me cliche-ing! I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree :)