This is one of my old posts from my old blog. I capture the Castle is one of my all-time favourite books so I thought it deserved to have its review on my new blog.
Disclaimer: This is a young adult book, which might or might not be your cup of tea, so read the pot at your own discretion. It’ll make me happy if you read it though. :3
In one of my earlier posts, I lamented that I had to study Corporate Law instead of reading I Capture the Castle. Not easily deterred by the pile of work I have, however, I managed to procure the book and finished reading it. And I’m glad I did.
I first heard of this book in Jacqueline Wilson‘s My Secret Diary, which is an autobiography of her teenage years. I read it years ago, of course, but I still have vivid memories of her speaking of this book and wanting to read it. For some reason though, I assumed it’s out of print like Noel Streatfeild‘s books apparently are.
GUYS GUYS GUYS THIS IS FIVE MINUTES LATER AND I HAVE BEEN MINDBLOWN! There are paperback reprints of Noel Streatfeild’s books on flipkart.com and they’re affordable too! Wow, I never loved online book shopping more than I do at this moment!
I found that out when I did a Google search to link you guys to her.
Yes, to get back to the point, I assumed that book was out of print, BUT IT WASN’T! Dun dun dush! And the rest is history! Well, not really. Not yet, anyway.
One thing I discovered as soon as I opened the book is that the author of this book, Dodie Smith also wrote 101 Dalmatians! My first thought: “Wow, that’s a book?” I know, I know, I’m awful, and have been living under a rock or something, but there it is.
Okay, let’s finally get to the book.
I am somewhat biased towards this book because I’m inclined to like books that are in a “diary” format for some reason. It started, of course, with Anne Frank, but it’s also true for L.M. Montgomery‘s less known Emily series, particularly Emily Climbs. My favourite Jacqueline Wilson book was also Secrets for this very reason. (Although Midnight was a close second)
Naturally, I loved it.
Aside from being somebody’s journal, it’s also beautifully written. The story is interesting and it’s set against the charming backdrop of a crumbling castle and it captures the innocence of childhood perfectly, even though, or perhaps because, it’s done through the eyes of a somewhat precocious teenager.
When I read stories of teenagers who are completely unaware of their charms, or who are completely unaware of the attention they are receiving, it irritates me. I think, “Really? It never once occurred to you?” I feel like it’s something that’s put on to seem modest or unassuming. I often wonder if I’m absurdly over-analytic or if everyone else is as good as I am as feigning ignorance of things they aren’t supposed to know. Good God, I’m digressing again.
My point is, (Yes, I had one) it’s refreshing to have the uncertainty and confusion that comes with being a teenager shown more than forced childishness.
I really adore Cassandra. We could have been friends.
I also felt like the ending was true to life, and achingly simple and beautiful.
More than anything else, I love the title. Being able to capture something in words is every writer’s dream and it’s a utopian ideal that I can’t stop aspiring towards, and it’s heartening to know that Cassandra can’t stop either. Hats off to the author though, for managing to do a great job of it.
Yes, most of my love of this book stems from the writing aspect, which forms a major part of this book, but the other parts about familial worries, love, jealousy, are all also themes which have been ingeniously depicted in this book.
It’s a multi-layered and beautiful YA book which every teenager and 20-something should read. It’s entirely charming and i definitely recommend it to everybody.
Just to make sure I wasn’t biased, I made a friend without literary ambitions read it. She affirms that it’s a lovely book. So there!
Do you guys have any books that you read far too late and still loved? Any beloved books of childhood that you rediscovered recently? Any young adult books that you think I absolutely must read? Let me know.