July 16, 2020

Review: I Capture the Castle

I Capture the Castle I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I am absolutely furious... The book had a very good beginning, I first liked the members of the family, and could sympathize with them, although their misery and hopelessness was a tad too much. Upon the arrival of the Cottons, everything seemed to take a turn for better. I wasn't bored by the story like many other readers/reviewers here, but my heart ached very much for Stephen. The thing with the wireless vs. the gramophone was simply unfair and heart-breaking. And I wasn’t happy with Cassandra’s way of handling the situation. As the story continued, I started to feel utter hatred towards Rose, she is definitely that kind of woman whom I mostly avoid in real life. Hence, I am extremely angry that it is exactly her who got a happy ending in the end (although of course I guessed very early on where her real interests lie). With respect to the men, first I had a very good feeling about the Cottons, but very soon I had to come to the realization that they are two very stupid men. They simply fell for the looks of Rose, and that’s that. Besides her looks, she was lacking any virtues, but these men didn’t see or didn’t want to see it. For this reason, I began to have my doubts if it would be any good for the heroine to be with any of them. But I was hoping till the very end that even if she cannot be in love with the best male character of the book (aka Stephen), at least Simon should recognize her worth and his own stupidity. Regrettably, the author disappointed me. The ending was even made worse by the very boring conversation about Mr. Mortmain’s second book. I have a PhD in Political Science, so I read some highly philosophical books, but even for me, it was so out of place here and I couldn’t be bothered to understand half of what they were talking about. This line of the story also had so much potential, but in the end, it was also resolved very poorly. (For example, I wished Mr Mortmain to tell Topaz to leave him in the tower and let him work.) Anyway, I even read this boring part word for word because I knew the end was near and I didn’t want to skip something important. My expectations were really high up when I arrived at the last couple of paragraphs, and I couldn’t believe my eyes that after having been invested in the story so much, I get next to nothing. Some would say: yeah this is a coming of age novel, this is just Cassandra’s first love, etc. But in that era, it wasn’t a strange thing if a 17-18 years old fell in love with a man twice her age and they got married. My grandmother (born in 1933) was 17 when she married my grandfather, who was 31 at the time. To sum up, I can see why many people may like this story, but it disappointed me in so many aspects that I can only give it one star, and am glad that I didn’t buy the hardcover, which I originally wanted to buy; so I don’t have to dust this book every time I clean my bookshelves and won’t get angry over and over again.

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