Tiger Reads: We Have Always Lived in the Castle


Zoe Goldstein

Last Friday, Tiger Reads met for book club to eat bagels with pumpkin cream cheese and discuss Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle. The eerie book is about two sisters living an isolated life after the poisoning of their family members at a family dinner. The story follows the unreliable and childlike narrator, Merricat, as she tries to preserve an intense state of codependency with her sister despite their visiting uncle’s wishes to reintroduce the sisters to outside life. The book addresses themes of elitism, conformism, family, food, and resistance to change.

“We eat the year away. We eat the spring and the summer and the fall. We wait for something to grow and then we eat it.”

Tiger Reads Ratings

Spookiness: 6

(Cover from Amazon)

Unsettling-ness: 10

Food descriptions: 10

Character likeability: 2

The goods:


-Perfect for Halloween

-Character dynamics and complexity

-Possible magic

-Twist ending

The bads:

-Poisoned food

-Difficult to interpret the many layers of meaning