Military School Book Club: Alpha Readers in the Mountain
By Grace Alexander
On Tuesday February 5th, Alpha Readers, sponsored by Mr. Robert Davies and the National English Honor Society, met for our fourth meeting this year. We had an off-campus meeting, which parent Ms. Margaret Melberg graciously hosted. She provided delicious food including homemade bread. Parent Ms. Nascimento donated cupcakes from her bakery.
We sat down in the comfort of the living room and discussed the book I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. It is the journal of a young girl who tells of the obstacles of growing up. However this girl isn’t the average teenager. Her family lives in a huge old castle in England in the mid-twentieth century. Her family has no income save from the boy who lives with them who works to gain her affection. The girl and her sister meet American men and begin to learn love. The journal details the outcome of their courtships, but it also details the family struggles.
The most striking scene, I think, is when the main character Cassandra and her brother Thomas lock their father in the tower. They do it for his own good to inspire his writing, for after one big hit book he encountered incessant writer’s block. Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling says, “This book has one of the most charismatic narrators I’ve ever met.” Throughout the story the author tries to capture, or describe explicitly and creatively, her life; in the end she has successfully “captured” her life and the castle in which she lives it. The novel is the coming-of-age story of a young writer; it is rich in literary allusions. Teachers Mr. Eric Barr and Ms. Jennifer Mustain as well as many students attended—and thank you again to Ms. Melberg!