Right now I’m in the middle of Dodie Smith’s delightful novel, I Capture the Castle (1948).
I saw the film version a couple of years ago, so I know the plot. At its core, ICTC is a coming of age story told from the point of view of nineteen-year-old Cassandra living in a crumbling castle with her family in the 1930s. What draws the reader in is the cast of eccentric yet entirely believable characters. Literary references to other books, love interests, and, of course, many complications make the story highly readable.
What I am falling for is the story of a writer and the struggles of writing. Cassandra is writing about her life in her diary as a writer working on gaining experience, yet it’s not just this is what happened to me today. The narration reveals the challenges faced by writers, this is what I’m attempting to portray through words today. At one point, Cassandra reflects on her writing about her feelings for a boy named Stephen and is terrified of her own honesty, “I should rather like to tear these last pages out of the book. Shall I? No—a journal ought not to cheat.”
I would agree. Any good story ought not to cheat.