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Dodie Smith was born in Manchester in 1896. Aged 17 she set off for London, determined to become an actress, but she struggled to find work, living off baked beans in freezing hostels. While working at the famous Heals department store, Dodie turned to writing plays instead, and her first was an overnight sensation - the newspapers excitedly declared 'Shopgirl Turns Playwright!'. During the war she moved to Hollywood with her husband, and it was there, spurned on by regret and homesickness for the English countryside she'd left behind, that Dodie began writing I Capture the Castle. When a friend gave Dodie a dalmatian puppy (presented in a hat box!) this began a life-long love of the spotty dogs. Dodie's well-loved novel 101 Dalmatians was inspired by her experiences of raising fifteen puppies. She lived in a ramshackle cottage with her husband and many other animals until her death in 1990, aged 94.
In a nutshell: Iconic | Outspoken | Big Issues | Difficult Truths A story about writing, this is also a wonderfully romantic story told by a young narrator trying to capture the unusual behaviour of her family and the life they lead in an unusual ruined castle as well as describing her own emotional turmoil. Cassandra is determined not to be pretentious as she tells the stories of her family and the story of her own desperate entanglement with the man who loves her sister. The result is a book that is delightfully entertaining and humorous. ~ Julia Eccleshare It is one of The Originals from Penguin - iconic, outspoken, first. The Originals are the pioneers of fiction for young adults. From political awakening, war and unrequited love to addiction, teenage pregnancy and nuclear holocaust, The Originals confront big issues and articulate difficult truths. The collection includes: The Outsiders - S.E. Hinton, I Capture the Castle - Dodie Smith, Postcards from No Man's Land - Aidan Chambers, After the First Death - Robert Cormier, Dear Nobody - Berlie Doherty, The Endless Steppe - Esther Hautzig, Buddy - Nigel Hinton, Across the Barricades - Joan Lingard, The Twelfth Day of July - Joan Lingard, No Turning Back - Beverley Naidoo, Z for Zachariah - Richard C. O'Brien, The Wave - Morton Rhue, The Red Pony - John Steinbeck, The Pearl - John Steinbeck, Stone Cold - Robert Swindells.
January 2015 Guest Editor Harriet Evans on I Capture the Castle... This is probably my favourite novel. It gives something new every time I reread it. At first it’s ‘just’ a story of a deliciously eccentric family living in a crumbling castle in a beautiful English village (and that’d be quite enough for me!) but it’s so much more than that. It’s about broken families, class, England before the war, and most importantly and daringly it’s about a young girl’s burgeoning sexuality.
A hundred and one dalmatians and more! This bumper Modern Classic edition includes the original Hundred and One Dalmatians and Dodie Smith's sequel, Starlight Barking. Cruella de Vil is enough to frighten the spots off a Dalmatian puppy. So when she steals a whole family of them, the puppies' parents, Pongo and Missus, lose no time in mounting a daring rescue mission. Will they be in time to thwart Cruella's evil scheme, or have they bitten off more than they can chew? Perfect for fans of the classic Disney film.
One of BBC's 100 Novels That Shaped Our World. A wonderfully quirky coming-of-age story, I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, author of The Hundred and One Dalmatians is an affectionately drawn portrait of one of the funniest families in literature. Part of the Macmillan Collector's Library; a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket sized classics with gold foiled edges and ribbon markers. These beautiful books make perfect gifts or a treat for any book lover. This edition is illustrated by Ruth Steed, and features an afterword by publisher Anna South. The eccentric Mortmain family have been rattling around in a vast, decrepit castle for years, gradually slipping into financial ruin. Mortmain is crippled by writer's block, while his beautiful second wife Topaz struggles to be a dutiful stepmother to Rose, Cassandra and Thomas. Rose needs a husband, Thomas an education but Cassandra lives for her writing. Through her gloriously witty and shrewd diaries, she chronicles the trials of family life, the impact on their prospects of the arrival of a glamorous American family, and the agonies of falling in love for the first time.
The life of an English family shown in terms of the chatter of youngsters, the careers and nursery memories of the middle-aged and the sense of the swift passing of the years.-12 women, 5 men
Toby Jones and Holliday Grainger star in a new BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation of Dodie Smith's enduringly popular coming-of-age novel In the 1930s, seventeen-year-old Cassandra Mortmain lives in a crumbling ruin of a castle in the Suffolk countryside. Her father, an author wrestling with writer's block, spends his time reading detective stories; her bohemian stepmother Topaz is an artist's model, and her beautiful older sister Rose is determined to escape the poverty of their existence - ideally by marriage to a rich man. Intelligent and observant, Cassandra chronicles the eccentricities of her relations in her journal, in a bid to capture her family and their lives at the castle. When two rich American brothers, Simon and Neil Cotton, arrive unexpectedly, the family's isolation is disrupted. Rose accepts a marriage proposal from Simon, and as she is whisked off to a world of wealth in London, Cassandra is left to deal with the increasingly bizarre behaviour of her father - as well as her own feelings for Simon... Dodie Smith's charming, funny and poignant love story is a classic of 20th-Century English literature and this sparkling adaptation, starring Toby Jones and Holliday Grainger, will enchant and delight. Duration: 2 hours
A determined young Lancashire girl arrives in London intent on a stage career - this tale from the author of I Capture the Castle is told with the candour and authenticity that derives from Dodie Smith's own experience of the theatre world. Mouse never did fully suit her nickname. Tiny she may have been, but timid never. After less than twenty-four hours in London she had bluffed her way into an audition at a famous theatre, infuriated its forceful young stage director, and amused its kind if quite amoral actor-manager. She had finally landed not a part but a toehold as a junior secretary. During her involvement in the engrossing affairs of the Crossway Theatre she met her friends Molly, a baby-faced six-footer; and elegant, ambitious Lilian, who was fated to clash disastrously with Mouse. Later, there was also Zelle, rich, generous, enigmatic, and responsible for an outing to Suffolk village pageant which proved a turning point for them all. Life was always surprising the fearless Mouse: when she unexpectedly got to a chance to act she made an unforgettable impression, though not the one she had intended. However, nothing prepared her for the assault of first love, highly unsuitable, but welcomed by her in a way which was to have far-reaching consequences. Only when she looks back after a reunion luncheon does she realise the full effects of that shared summer on her friends and herself. A startlingly frank yet nostalgic read, this is a charming novel about coming of age and the healing effects of time.
Pongo and Missis Pongo, pampered dogs from Regent's Park, have their 15 beloved puppies stolen by the outrageous Cruella de Vil, who thinks their coats will make a nice fur jacket. The Pongos set out to rescue their pups from an isolated mansion.
Dodie Smith's classic tale about 101 Dalmations and their fight for survival against the evil Cruella De Vil. When Missis and Pongo's puppies go missing, the two Dalmatian parents know the scary Cruella De Vil has had something to do with it. After all, she adores furs, and the Dalmatians have such beautiful coats ...The dogs' pets, Mr and Mrs Dearly, don't understand them, so it is up to Pongo and Missis to rescue their pups - with the help of all the dogs in England. The Hundred and One Dalmations is an all-time classic children's book. Famously adapted by Walt Disney Studios, it continues to be one of the most popular children's books long after the author's death.
Cassandra Mortmain lives with her bohemian and impoverished family in a crumbling castle in the middle of nowhere. Her journal records her life with her beautiful, bored sister, Rose, her fadingly glamorous stepmother, Topaz, her little brother Thomas and her eccentric novelist father who suffers from a financially crippling writer's block. However, all their lives are turned upside down when the American heirs to the castle arrive and Cassandra finds herself falling in love for the first time.
To mark the publication of Stop What You're Doing and Read This!, a collection of essays celebrating reading, Vintage Classics are releasing 12 limited edition themed ebook 'bundles', to tempt readers to discover and rediscover great books. I CAPTURE THE CASTLE'I write this sitting in the kitchen sink' is the first line of this timeless, witty and enchanting novel about growing up. Cassandra Mortmain lives with her bohemian and impoverished family in a crumbling castle in the middle of nowhere. Her journal records her life with her beautiful, bored sister, Rose, her fadingly glamorous stepmother, Topaz, her little brother Thomas and her eccentric novelist father who suffers from a financially crippling writer's block. However, all their lives are turned upside down when the American heirs to the castle arrive and Cassandra finds herself falling in love for the first time...THE SECRET GARDENMary Lennox is an orphan who is sent to live with her uncle at gloomy Misselthwaite Manor. Neglected and lonely, she begins to explore her new home and learns of a secret garden that her uncle has forbidden anyone to enter. A friendly robin shows Mary the key to the garden and she discovers a world she could never have imagined... The Secret Garden has enchanted generations of children and adults alike.
This is the wonderful journal of Cassandra Mortmain, aged 17. A heartwarming and completely original coming-of-age story, it is the account of one year in her life and that of her extraordinary family. With great wit and sensitivity Cassandra reveals her eccentric father with writer's block, her clever younger brother Tom, and eldest sister Rose, beautiful, bored, and mainly interested in marrying a rich man. Then there is their stepmother Topaz, a rather exotic artist's model, and Stephen who works for the family and is hopelessly in love with Cassandra. When two young American men, Simon and Neil, arrive to live nearby, the lives of this intimate community are changed forever. Cassandra records the events in her diary from the crumbling castle, which is their home. The result is marvellously funny and genuinely moving. Emilia Fox the narrator, is one of Britain's best-loved television and radio actors, and star of Silent Witness.
This stunning audio production brings to life everyone's favourite canine cast. Featuring Martin Jarvis as the voices of Pongo, Missus Pongo, Perdita, the Sheepdog Colonel, Lucky, Patch, Cadpig and Roly Poly, plus many, many more! The Hundred and One Dalmatians is one of the best-known and most-loved children's stories of all time. Dodie Smith's magical book is presented here complete and unabridged for a great family listening experience.The story follows Mr and Mrs Dearly, who are surprised but happy when Missus Pongo produces an extremely large brood! However, the nasty and intimidating Cruella de Vil is fast onto their scent, as her lust for a beautiful Dalmatian coat drives her to attempt to steal the puppies, with the help of her side-kicks the Baddun Brothers. A story as full of love and kindness as it is of adventure and excitement, The Hundred and One Dalmatians is a lovely listen, and a rewarding one.
The book that inspired the animated movie classic!When Dearly's Dalmatians have their first litter of pupsfifteen in alleveryone is delighted. But their joy is shortlived, for the pups are kidnapped! Scotland Yard is baffled, but the keenest canine minds are on the caseand on the trail of Cruella de Vil, the most fiendish person to ever covet a fur coat.Pongo and Missis would give everything they have to bring their puppies safely home... but will they succeed in rescuing them from the cluthes of the evil Cruella de Vil?"e;A tale full to overflowing with those prime requisites of a good storywarmth and humor, imagination and suspense."e;Chicago Sunday Tribune"e;Superb reading. The puzzle of the hundred and one is delightful.... Highly recommended."e;SLJ