For years people have been telling me I had to read the novel I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith, immediately, if not sooner. And it's always been people I really respect, both as friends, and as readers.
So I finally did.
And I liked it. I read the whole thing, and pretty quickly, as I was interested in the story. (And you knew I'd be interested in a book set in Great Britain, ina falling-down castle.) But I've got to be honest: I didn't love it, love it. I didn't love it like I expected to love it.
The story is about seventeen-year-old Cassandra, and her rather unorthodox family life, living with her author father (who hasn't written a word in years), her beautiful sister Rose, her unconventional and artistic stepmother, her younger brother, and the hired hand (Stephen) who they don't actually pay. The story is good and is narrated by Cassandra in an appealing first-person voice; the family is on the brink of destruction from poverty, Rose is frustrated because she thinks she'll never meet a man to marry in their circumstances, Stephen is fruitlessly in love with Cassandra...and if that all weren't enough, two brothers who had been living in America suddenly show up as the heirs to a property next door. Hilarity doesn't really ensue, but Cassandra's love for and frustration with all of her family members makes for some nice comic touches.
God, that's a bloodless description, and as much as I liked the book, that's kind of how I feel about it. Just kind of average. What it HAS put me in the mood for is to re-read Dodie Smith's classic The 101 Dalmatians, which is largely set during Christmas and would therefore be a fun December read. So that's what I'm going to do.