Book Review: We Have Always Lived In The CastlePosted: June 27, 2014
Full disclosure: this is more of a costume I put together for this book review rather than an outfit, because I couldn’t think of any everyday outfit to reflect this book. More on that later. First, the book.
“We Have Always Lived In The Castle” is a 1962 novel by Shirley Jackson. It tells the story of the Blackwood sisters, 18-year-old Mary Katherine, usually called Merricat, and her older sister Constance, who, along with their uncle Julian, are the only survivors after the entire family died of arsenic poisoning – the arsenic was mixed in with sugar and sprinkled onto their desert, but Merricat was sent to her room without dinner, Constance never takes sugar, and Uncle Julian barely survived. The three of them live a quietly happy life, despite being ostracized by the locals, but all that changes when a cousin, Charles, comes for a visit and threatens to turn their life upside down.
This book is kind of out of my comfort zone, but it’s beautifully written, a super quick read, and the story has the dark, sinister feel that I love, so I really enjoyed it. In a way, it’s like a more twisted version of I Capture the Castle, another of my favorite, and not just because they both have the word “castle” in their titles – two sister living in an unusual place; the story is told by the younger, bookish sister; a newcomer changing their life. Shirley Jackson does an amazing job of letting us inside Merricat’s head that we are entirely on her side before we start noticing that she is the least reliable of narrator. This is the first time I’ve read Jackson’s work, but I love this so much that I already have all of her other stuff waiting on my Kindle, and I’m looking forward to checking them out too.
As for the outfit, I really tried to come up with something that is inspired by the book in some way, and this is the best I could do. There’s a scene in the book where Constance makes dresses for Merricat out of tablecloths, so I picked my shift dress with a pattern that could pass for curtain or upholstery. It’s a 1960’s silhouette too. If I wanted to be even more literal I would go barefoot (because Merricat does), but my sandals will do. Actually I haven’t worn the dress in a while, but I think with different shoes, it’ll work for a spring/summer garden wedding or party. But of course the wedding season in Vietnam is during the coldest months, so… no dice.
Dress: vintage, Necklace: Forever21, Sandals: thrifted