Reviews of I Capture the Castle (1948)
Review by nmhewitt (2007-02-18)
I capture the Castle is one of my favorite books. The plot transends time to enlighten and touch generations of girls and women. This book is the amazing journal of casandra mortmain. Dodie smith discribes her charcters in such an amazing manner that you feel very connected to these people. I found myself feeling sorrow for not only casandra becasue of her nonreturned love fo simon but also for simon and rose and even poor lovesick steven. yet the love story is tastfully intertwined with the inspiring epic of the mortmain family.
ps. that last review was kind of creepy and sounded a bit pedifilia-ish.
Review by kirwar4face (2004-02-26)
When I was about as old as the writer-heroine of I Capture the Castle, I saw the animated Disney version of 101 Dalmatians, which led me to discover Dodie Smith's original novel, much better than the movie. I developed a definite affection for the author for writing such a wonderful book. (I missed the sequel, The Starlight Barking, which had not yet been written. In the same way, I discovered T.H. White's Once and Future King after enjoying the Disney abomination of The Sword in the Stone.)
So when I Capture the Castle was re-released a few years ago to enthusiastic applause, I was all ready to be delighted. I like stories about eccentrics, being one myself, and as a dirty old man I am not at all averse to scenes in which precocious, barely pubescent girls philosophise sitting naked in the sink behind flimsy partitions to have a bath, in the well-heated kitchens of drafty old castles. (Later on our heroine climbs to the top of a parapet while everyone is gone and sunbathes naked, a little uncomfortably. Perhaps it is the idea of this bright child having a big old sprawling ruin to play in that everyone finds so delightful.) But somehow this bag of eccentrics, though likeable, mostly failed to compel my interest.
The burden of the last part of the book is that there are these two very handsome and eligible young men that two of the young women of the family fall in love with, or something, and there is, like, soooooo much mawkish emotion that I, like, totally gagged. You know? I can't bring myself to really dislike I Capture the Castle, but I am a little baffled at the unconditional rave reviews of it. I've rated it a 7, though I secretly believe it only deserves a 6. But I unconditionally recommend The Hundred and One Dalmatians.