Friday, June 15, 2007

I Capture the Castle (by Dodie Smith)

Maybe the best book ever. Why didn't someone sit me down years ago and pry my eyelids open and force me to read this? I thought you all were my friends!

I wish there were an easy way to find out which books you will love, so you don't have to wade through a bunch of crap to find those few perfect books. I guess because it's so individual, and because every book is so unique. But this book was just note-perfect.

I avoided reading it for years because I assumed it was a fantasy thing. Although I read fantasy sometimes, I really have to be in the right mood. But this isn't that at all. It's the diary of a seventeen-year-old girl in the 1930s. And it's... well, it's lovely. The fact that I've read both this book and Black Swan Green this year makes it a good year.

I want to just go back to page one and read it all over again. I'm on my own tonight, with just an empty house and half a bottle of wine. Maybe I will.


Anonymous chiara said...

This is such a fantastic book---I just read it a while ago and I don't know why I didn't earlier too!

8:52 PM  
Anonymous Lori said...

I discovered this book a few years ago---because a new edition had a blurb from JK Rowling. Tricky publishers, but I'm so glad they tricked me.

Now I feel guilty I never posted a comment to tell you before now. Tricky blogger. So just in case you don't know about these books: The Golden Compass (Pullman), Lucky Girls (Freudenberger), We're in Trouble (Coake), St Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves (Russell), Magic for Beginners (Link), Worlds End (Boyle), Shipping News (Proulx). There. All the books I felt luck to have stumbled upon in one way or another. I never have to feel guilty again.

6:30 AM  
Blogger PastaQueen said...

I saw the movie of this last year and thought it was excellent. If the book is better than the movie like it usually is I'll definitley be sure to read it.

11:30 AM  
Blogger mo pie said...

Lori, I didn't like The Golden Compass at all, but I will take your other suggestions under advisement!

And PQ, I would never want to see the movie. The book is so good in my head, I don't want any movie interpretation to come along and supplant it. You won't be disappointed.

11:36 AM  
Anonymous elasticwaist said...

I practically yelped when I saw this post! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this book. I had a deep love affair with this book and some intense hot chocolate this winter, and it was my favorite part of the day to climb into bed with both in the evenings. So, So, So good. Why don't more people know about it? I just loved the narrator so much -- I felt I'd lost a friend when it ended.

The movie is actually really well done, so maybe you should see it mo pie!

12:15 PM  
Blogger Laurie said...

I loved this book. It was recommended to me by a friend and I also thought --why did I Not discover this book earlier?! I recommended it to everyone. Dodie Smith wrote 101 Dalmatians - which i did not know until i read this book and tried to learn more about the author.

Have you read Water for Elephants by Sarah Gruen? It was wonderful..not in the same way as Castle but another book that I really enjoyed for sure.

8:11 PM  
Blogger mo pie said...

I have been tempted to pick it up a couple of times, but I haven't yet. It's nice to get a thumbs up; I'll try it!

9:17 AM  
Blogger Laurie said...

i hope you do read Water for Elephants ...can't wait to hear what you think. I really enjoy your book reviews!

10:58 AM  
Blogger eliza said...

I'm just seeing this post, and it's timely for me, because I'm re-reading this right now. I think I first read it in 1999 or 2000 -- I'm not sure how I heard about it -- Melissa, maybe? And I am with you. It might be the best book ever. I also adamantly refuse to see the movie, because for God's sake, Neil is played by Riley F-ing Finn! Just ... no. And Cassandra is played by the actress from Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. I'm feeling ill just thinking about these casting choices (with the exception of the glorious Bill Nighy and the very hot Henry Thomas as Simon), so I am going to forget the movie exists and throw myself into this wonderful book again. And again and again. I'm so glad you read it.

2:54 PM  
Blogger mo pie said...

I'm sorry, did you just say the one thing that might actually induce me to see the movie? (The thing being that Bill Nighy is in it. Bill Nighy!) I mean I don't want to. I don't want to! But... Bill! Nighy!

2:58 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

I know. I actually think he must be a fantastic Mortmain, because he is fantastic in all. But this? This is not Cassandra. No, ma'am.

3:59 PM  
Blogger K said...

The film is actually rather wonderful. Do not be put off by Romola Garai, for she can act.

It's not as good as the book, but probably nothing can recapture my first reading of the book. I was thirteen, which is probably the perfect age for it.

5:31 AM  
Blogger The Writers Blog said...

I enjoyed reading your reviews!

My sister just asked me about this book and I'm going to order it for her, and read it myself. We both read Enid Blyton's 'Adventure' series as children and I have to tell you that they too are excellent!! And of course "The Princess Bride"!

I didn't know that Dodie Smith wrote 101 Dalmations, but I'm going to google her name and see what else she's written. Thanks for a great review!

I have a book review blog that I just started. Feel free to check it out.


10:16 AM  

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