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text 2016-06-03 17:09
The Moon By Night by Madeleine L'Engle
The Moon by Night - Madeleine L'Engle


This is part of a L'Engleverse project that I am involved in. So far, I've finished the following books:


Murry series:


1. A Wrinkle in Time

2. A Swiftly Tilting Planet

3. The Wind in the Door

4. Many Waters

5. An Acceptable Time


O'Keefe series:


1. The Arm of the Starfish

2. Dragons in the Waters

3. House Like a Lotus

4. An Acceptable Time (overlaps with Murry series)


Austin series:


1. Meet the Austins

2. The Moon by Night

3. The Young Unicorns

4. The Endless Ring of Light

5. Troubling a Star




1. And Both Were Young

2. Camilla

3. A Live Coal in the Sea (Camilla #2)

4. The Small Rain (Katherine Forester #1)

5. A Severed Wasp (Katherine Forester #2)


Crosswicks Journals:


1. A Circle of Quiet

2. The Summer of the Great Grandmother

3. The Irrational Season

4. Two Part Invention: the Story of a Marriage


This book:


I'm glad I waited until June to read it, although July would've been even better. I was initially pretty lukewarm on it, but I ended up really enjoying it. I think my expectations were much too high initially, but once I settled into it as really a family road trip story, it started making more sense to me.

Moon by Night was initially published in 1963, 3 years before I was born. When I was about 14 myself, in 1980, my family did a similar camping road trip where we took a motor home from Boise down to California and visited Big Sur and the Redwoods, and then wound our way up the Oregon coast over the course of several days, to Astoria, and back over to Boise. I remember having many of the same experiences as Vicky, especially related to boys that I encountered on the trip. So, in that way, the book really resonated with my adolescent experiences. Vicky is very believable as a 14 year old girl.

I don't have my copy of the book with me while I type this post, so I can't add any quotes, but I also found the section where Vicky is confronted with the reality of Anne Frank and has a discussion with her uncle about her shaken faith in a benevolent God was to be well-done and perceptive on the part of L'Engle. Young people, in my opinion, don't get nearly enough credit for being willing to think big thoughts and have serious arguments with their own ideas. I love it that L'Engle included that section - she was a deeply religious woman, but also obviously spent a lot of time thinking about her faith and her religion and was aware of some of the contradictions inherent in religion (like C.S. Lewis, with his writing on, for example, the problem of pain).

I still hate Zachary Gray, and I wasn't all that thrilled with Andy putting demands on who Vicky could associate with after spending one afternoon with her, but that level of teenage male possessiveness does ring very true, and Vicky's irritated yet flattered reaction to it made me smile a bit.

Overall, I ended up really liking the book. I feel like it really added a lot of detail and life to the various characters. And, I want to go hang out with Vicky's grandfather, because he sounds like one of the most wonderful men ever.


Next up: I am going to finish An Acceptable Time, and then move on to The Young Unicorns.


20 books of summer: Book 2

Summer book bingo: YA or Children's Title


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text 2015-12-07 19:17
Night of the Moon: A Muslim Holiday Story by Khan, Hena (2008) Hardcover - Hena Khan

A gentle, prettily-illustrated description of a family's month-long celebration of Ramadan. Most of the description relates to practice -- what is eaten, when various events fall -- rather than the historical or religious meaning, which I would have liked to see a bit more of. I assume the intended audience is non-Muslim children who are having the holiday explained to them. For the purpose of making Islam seem comprehensible and not scary to kids who are probably growing up hearing it demonized I think the book does an excellent job of presenting from a child's perspective, which is similar to the perspective of a kid from any not-super-pious family: the little girl is mostly interested in the gifts, special foods, visiting relatives, parties, etc.


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review 2014-09-09 01:03
Review of The Moon by Night by Madeleine L'Engle
The Moon by Night - Madeleine L'Engle

The Moon by Night by Madeleine L'Engle is the second book in the Austin Family series and takes place a couple of years after Meet the Austins. The father of the family gets a new job and they have to move, but they decide to take a road trip/camping vacation all across the country first to bond as a family. I'd say that a lot of the book was fairly dull and just described the various places they visited, though some of the scenery descriptions were quite nice. Things did get more interesting when the main character met a guy at one of the campsites and they seemed to become instantly fascinated with each other and he actually followed/stalked her around the country much to her delight and her family's dismay. There was still a lot of dull filler type stuff after that with a few exciting events here and there, but I did enjoy reading about the budding relationship which had a lot of ups and downs. Overall I'd say that I enjoyed this book a bit more than Meet the Austins, but I probably wouldn't rate it as more than three stars. There was one brief reference to A Wrinkle in Time which really made me smile.

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review 2013-04-22 00:00
The Moon by Night (Austin Family Series #2)
The Moon by Night - Madeleine L'Engle Disclaimer: a lot of people I know don’t like the Austin Chronicles. They aren’t as action-packed as the Wrinkle in Time series, and involve fewer supernatural elements. They also have a slower pace. This is the story of the Austin family roadtrip across the United States (and some of Canada). It’s a very simple story, told in almost diary-like snippets by Vicky Austin, the second-oldest sibling. Facing the above complaints, I will admit that Moon By Night has a very slow pace. But the pace doesn’t hamper the story. In fact, Vicky has a very idyllic family life—idyllic to the point of ignorant—and some readers may balk at such a naïve protagonist. But this kind of calm personality is what drives the conflict. For example, it is Vicky’s principles that make Zachary Grey such a confusing and upsetting presence in her life. Zachary is brash and insulting, but is physically weaker than he seems; he talks endlessly about a godless, doom-driven world that clashes with Vicky’s spiritual and familial optimism. While equally attracted and depressed by Zachary, Vicky struggles with her feelings; here L’Engle describes the emotional stickiness that happens when people surround themselves with negativity. But Zachary is a realistic character: he is cruel, but he is the result of negligent parenting and a seemingly “unfair” heart condition that could kill him at any moment, and towards the end of the novel he shows interest in changing. Whether that change takes remains a mystery. As for cons: This takes place right after World War II, so some of the colloquial language is a little odd. Zachary sounds much less badass when the words “gee” and “Vicky-O” work their way into the dialogue. Another problem I had was with the parents: Vicky idolizes her parents. While that worked for her character, her constant praising of their spirituality, their kindness, and their good sense seemed a little too goody-goody. I’m sure that later, her parents will have to make a mistake and learn from it; they are, after all, the only characters who haven’t yet. I like having positive parents—they are a rare breed in children’s and young adult fiction—but they cannot be immaculate. I’m hoping that they will be challenged more in the following books.
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review 2011-08-18 11:18
The Moon by Night: The Austin Family Chronicles, Book 2
The Moon by Night - Madeleine L'Engle Boring, with a dull writing style. I couldn't even finish it.
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