Saturday, February 26, 2011
We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Bleah. Thanks, Snoopy (and Charles Schulz). That says everything that needs saying about Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle. I could just leave the review at that. I realize that isn't very professional. But wait, I'm not a professional. I'm just your average, book-loving blogger who wants to record her thoughts on what she reads. But, you say, why did you think it was bleah? [Possible spoilers ahead...beware.]
Well, maybe because nothing happened in the first third of the book. Nothing substantial that is. Oh...Mary Katherine went to town to get library books and groceries. And she thinks the townspeople all hate her & her family. What's left of it. Okay. Great. Oh, and there's these little snippets that tell you that there used to be more people in Mary Katherine's family. Before they were all poisoned. And her sister, Constance, was accused and acquitted of the murders. Well, that ought to grab the attention, right? Not so much. Not even when you consider that I love mysteries. But quite frankly there was nothing in this book that made me the least bit curious whether Constance really did it or not, and, if not, who did. If all the build up was supposed to produce a gothic feel, then, I'm sorry Shirley Jackson, but it Did Not Work. At least not for me.
Sure, this is one weird little family which gets a whole lot weirder when Cousin Charles shows up. And there's a fire. And we find out who poisoned the family. But...I Did Not Care. There wasn't anything about this story that grabbed me. Not the characters. Not the story itself. Not the setting. Not the writing. This was a big ol' black hole of a novel--it sucked up a whole day's worth of reading and gave me nothing in return. I'm not even sure I can award it one star on the ol' rating scale. But I will...one star for giving me one read in the Gothic Reading Challenge.