In October, let’s play #6Degrees of Separation “book style”!
October #6Degrees of Separation: From I Capture the Castle to Anne of Green Gables
*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
#6Degrees is a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. Making connections between books is challenging, creative, and fun!
Each month a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain. The rules are:
- Link the books together in any way you like.
- Provide a link in your post to the meme at Books Are My Favourite and Best.
- Share these rules in your post.
- Paste the link to your post in the comments on Kate’s post and/or the Linky Tool on that post.
- Invite your blog readers to join in and paste their links in the comments and/or the Linky Tool.
- Share your post on Twitter using the #6Degrees hashtag.
- Be nice! Visit and comment on other posts and/or retweet other #6Degrees posts.
I haven’t participated in the #6Degrees meme for over a year because I hesitate to begin a chain with a book I haven’t read and felt little urge to read based on the descriptions. I MUST jump in this month because I Capture the Castle is a book I’ve read and loved.
This month’s prompt starts with I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, and the theme of my chain will be coming-of-age from girls’ perspectives.
I loved my I Capture the Castle reading experience!
Amazon Summary: “Adapted to a feature film in 2003, I Capture the Castle tells the story of seventeen-year-old Cassandra and her family, who live in not-so-genteel poverty in a ramshackle old English castle. Here she strives, over six turbulent months, to hone her writing skills. She fills three notebooks with sharply funny yet poignant entries. Her journals candidly chronicle the great changes that take place within the castle’s walls, and her own first descent into love.”
FIRST DEGREE. From I Capture the Castle it’s easy to jump to another book with “castle” in the title The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls.
My Summary: “The Glass Castle is a tender, tragic, and unique memoir of a girl’s remarkable resilience as she survives a childhood in a dysfunctional family who lived like nomads. The father is brilliant and charismatic and taught his children about imagination and living fearlessly as well as some physics and geology. A dreamer, he often worked on elaborate plans for their future home nicknamed “the glass castle.” However, he was also dishonest and destructive when he drank. On the other hand, Mother was a free-spirited artist who didn’t (or couldn’t) take responsibility for the care of her children. For the most part, the Walls children took care of themselves, demonstrating ingenuity, determination, bravery, and fierce loyalty. As the children became adults, found the will and resources to leave the parents, and enjoyed some success, the parents followed them to New York City and chose to remain homeless. The adventures are remarkable, harrowing, memorable, and quirky, all the while demonstrating themes of fierce loyalty, triumph against the odds, the power of hope, unconditional love, determination, and protectiveness.” My review of The Glass Castle.
SECOND DEGREE: The content of Glass Castle reminds me of another memoir with similar dysfunctional family themes, Educated by Tara Westover.
My Summary: “Tara grew up as one of seven children in a Mormon family making their home in Idaho. Both parents are devout Mormons; however, her father is an extremist, survivalist, and he isolates the family while stockpiling supplies, avoiding the government, and planning for worst-case scenarios. While Tara’s soft-spoken mother makes healing herbs and ointments and practices midwifery, her charismatic father makes a living extracting and selling scrap from his junkyard. To avoid the government, the children do not have birth certificates, are not taken to the doctor, and most of them are homeschooled, although according to Tara’s account, Mom’s interest for homeschooling waned with the younger ones and to complicate the situation, Dad always needed help in the junkyard. Tara wished she could go to school, and I didn’t receive the impression that her parents would have kept her from school, it’s that she suffered from not having the right clothes, feelings of not belonging, and often felt pressured to help her father in the junkyard. Over the years she experiences mental and physical abuse from one of her brothers, becomes more dissatisfied with her chaotic home life, and her desire for education grows. With the encouragement of a brother, she decides to study independently for the ACT and make application to BYU. Thus begins her educational journey, her path of self-realization, healing, and ultimate separation from her family. Tara’s first classroom experience was at age 17. Readers will thoroughly understand and empathize with how difficult and emotional it was for her to take these steps as she’s a loyal girl who feels a great duty to her family. Tara’s understanding of “education “ is that with it, one can gain one’s own perspective on life.” My review of Educated in this post.
THIRD DEGREE: A story similar in intensity and themes to Educated is The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah.
My Summary: “The Great Alone is the story of a dysfunctional family that eventually moves to the harsh wilderness of Alaska to make a fresh start. Thirteen-year-old Leni watches her gentle and artistic mother struggle to live a happy and secure life with her father, a Vietnam War vet, who suffers from PTSD. A survivalist, her father becomes more paranoid and controlling as the story progresses. ***trigger warnings for emotional and physical abuse*** Leni, struggling to stay in school and walking on eggshells around her father, is also concerned about her mother and about their general well-being as the dark winter and isolation of the Alaskan wilderness cause her father’s symptoms to worsen. The first part of the story is slower-paced and devoted to establishing a sense of place, character development, and a slow build-up of the problem. The last part of the story unfolds at a rapid pace and there are attempts to escape and confrontations. Some have commented that the ending is tied together too easily, quickly, and conveniently.” My review The Great Alone here.
FOURTH DEGREE: Moving away from contemporary memoirs and back to classics, my next connection is the beloved story, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. It’s a compelling coming of age story.
Amazon Summary: “From the moment she entered the world, Francie Nolan needed to be made of stern stuff, for growing up in the Williamsburg slums of Brooklyn, New York demanded fortitude, precocity, and strength of spirit. Often scorned by neighbors for her family’s erratic and eccentric behavior―such as her father Johnny’s taste for alcohol and Aunt Sissy’s habit of marrying serially without the formality of divorce―no one, least of all Francie, could say that the Nolans’ life lacked drama. By turns overwhelming, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the Nolans’ daily experiences are raw with honestly and tenderly threaded with family connectedness. Betty Smith has captured the joys of humble Williamsburg life―from “junk day” on Saturdays, when the children traded their weekly take for pennies, to the special excitement of holidays, bringing cause for celebration and revelry. Smith has created a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as deeply resonant moments of universal experience. Here is an American classic that “cuts right to the heart of life,” hails the New York Times.”
FIFTH DEGREE: The next link in the chain brings us back to a girl and her reflections in Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret by Judy Blume.
Amazon Summary: Margaret Simon, almost twelve, has just moved from New York City to the suburbs, and she’s anxious to fit in with her new friends. When she’s asked to join a secret club she jumps at the chance. But when the girls start talking about boys, bras, and getting their first periods, Margaret starts to wonder if she’s normal. There are some things about growing up that are hard for her to talk about, even with her friends. Lucky for Margaret, she’s got someone else to confide in . . . someone who always listens.
SIXTH DEGREE: for the final link in the chain, Anne in Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery comes to mind. Anne reminds me of Cassandra in many ways and the story is written gently in the reflective manner of I Capture the Castle.
Amazon Summary: “In Anne of Green Gables, the book introduces us to the Cuthberts of Prince Edward Island. When Marilla and Matthew intend to adopt a boy to help them on their farm, they receive an unexpected surprise—a fiery-haired, imaginative girl named Anne. With her vivid imagination, penchant for grand dreams, and knack for finding trouble, Anne quickly becomes a beloved part of the Cuthbert family and the community of Avonlea.
In the book Anne of Green Gables, we follow Anne’s journey as she navigates the ups and downs of life in the late 19th century. From comical mishaps and heartwarming friendships to academic achievements and personal growth, Anne’s tale is a delightful exploration of love, resilience, and the power of dreams.”
I hope you enjoyed this October edition of #6Degrees of Separation from I Capture the Castle to Anne of Green Gables!
The most striking thread that connects the stories in this chain is young women who are coming of age and are either profoundly affected by the circumstances of their families and/or are deeply reflective. The chain neatly links together from beginning to end with two characters who are writers.
I need to note that these are the first six books I thought to connect. Many stories are out there that could also fit this chain. Can you think of another title that features young women/girls coming of age?
Do you have ideas for creating your own chain?
What book would you add to this chain?
Have you read one of these stories?
If you have an October #6Degrees of Separation post, please leave a link in the comments!
Happy Reading Book Buddies!
“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke
“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes
“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text
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Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.
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