“My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood.”

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

Jackson died at age 48.

This was a book club book that I really struggled through. It’s not that it was difficult reading or disturbing, but I simply found it way too boring. The characters were not well developed until at least half way into the book. I love Uncle Julian, but again, I didn’t feel this until much later into the book. I just simply didn’t care enough about any of the characters to want to know what happens to them next.

Jackson spent much of the first half of the book developing a theme–a family of hermits with a whole village hating them. Right. Okay. I got that about two chapters in, but Jackson goes on and on to develop this theme at the expense of developing her characters.

What did I like about this book? Probably just uncle Julian. I didn’t like any of the other characters. None of the other characters were sympathetic or had much to go on. We never really got to know any of the other characters very well. I felt I only came to know uncle Julian because there was so much to be read from Merricat’s observations of her uncle.

In the end I finished the book because I had to. I really wanted to quit the book, but I have this thing about finishing books I want to talk about at book club. It’s astounding that it took me about two weeks to finish the book considering this is the shortest book I have read in a LONG time.

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