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review 2019-01-11 20:00
A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle
A Wrinkle in Time (The Time Quintet #1) - Anna Quindlen,Madeleine L'Engle

I decided to reread A Wrinkle in Time again because I am also going to reread the remainder of the Murry/O'Keefe series and I am one of those people who needs to begin at the beginning. I don't have anything to add to this review, except that I remain in awe of Madeleine L'Engle's extraordinary humanity. She was a remarkable woman, and I'm not sure that we deserved her.

 

Rereading the book inspired me to rewatch the movie, as well. Maybe this weekend!

 

Review from 3/24/18:

 

I decided to reread after seeing the new Ava DuVernay adaptation with my daughter. I read the book as a child of the 1970's - probably a bit more than decade or so after the initial 1963 publication, around 1977, when I was 11. I fell in love with the book then, seeing much of myself in Meg Murry, the ordinary, often grumpy, young woman. I revisited L'Engle in 2015, and found that, while some of her books had not held up with reread, many of them did. 

 

This book is part of my personal canon, one of the books that shaped my childhood and had a part in making me who I am today.


A Wrinkle in Time is a bit of a period piece, to be sure. Girls today are stronger, more self-aware, more cognizant of the pressures of an often sexist society, and more willing to buck convention in order to be authentic to themselves. Not all girls, of course, but some girls. Our culture, today, at least struggles to understand these pressures and to acknowledge that they exist, even if we often fail to genuinely confront them.


The DuVernay adaptation succeeds in a way that, after reading alot of L'Engle, and a fair amount about L'Engle, I believe that she would appreciate. Casting Meg Murry as a biracial young woman was an inspired decision, the relocation of the plot to a more diverse location in California, the addition of Charles Wallace as an adopted child, to me really work to illuminate some of the themes that L'Engle was writing about - alienation and dangers of extreme social conformity in particular. 

There are parts of the book that are quite different from the movie, of course. In the book, the Murry's have two additional children, a set of male twins who are effortlessly socially competent. They are capable of fulfilling society's expectations with little work. Meg, on the other hand, is prickly, defensive, occasionally angry, and fearsomely intelligent - all things which 1963 America couldn't really cope with in girls. Heck, we still struggle with girls who are prickly, defensive, occasionally angry and fearsomely intelligent. 

A Wrinkle in Time shines light into dark places. For that alone, it's worth reading.

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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

 

Stand-alones/duologies:

 

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 2016-06-02 15:44
Continuing the L'Engleverse

I read almost the entire Time series last year (both the Murry and the O'Keefe novels), stalling only on the last book An Acceptable Time, which I plan to finish in 2016. Before finishing that project, I embarked on the Austin Family Chronicles, which I asked for, and received, for Christmas.

 

I read the first book, Meet the Austins, and then fell into The Slump Of Literary Despond, which is located somewhere between the town of Bored-By-Reading and the river of ShortAttentionSpan and I basically stopped reading for months. Months, people. It's been awful.

 

Anyway, I did manage to finish a 675 page novel in three days, so I feel like maybe my reading mojo is slowly returning, and I'm ready to finish this slim volume that is book 2 in the Austin series.

 

 

I haven't quite decided which bingo space to place it in, but there's time for that.

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review 2016-02-19 19:28
An echo of my young adulthood
And Both Were Young - Madeleine L'Engle

I've been doing a L'Engle read for the last year or so & decided to read this standalone in connection with a genre reading challenge for one of my goodreads groups - February is romance month. I previously read this book back when I was in junior high/early high school. It was originally published in 1949, which makes it one of her very early novels (it appears this was 3rd), and I probably read it around 1978.

It is quite dated, but that doesn't mean it isn't also enjoyable. It is set in a Swiss boarding school, which was one of the things that fascinated me when I read it as a public school student growing up in Boise, Idaho. A Swiss boarding school seemed like one of the most exotic, interesting things ever and I frankly envied Philippa for what I perceived as a wonderful opportunity.

This time around, I enjoyed the fact that Flip was obviously an introvert, and I was interested in how L'Engle approached her introversion. Being an introvert in a boarding school would be tough - it's not a place where solitude is easily accessed. Being an introvert myself, I felt for Flip and understood her hunger to spend time alone, and didn't like the way the various characters approached her need for quiet. No one really seemed to understand, much less respect, the fact that a young woman might need to spend time alone to recharge her batteries. This rings really true, even today. Flip didn't always handle herself well, but her peers also really didn't understand her, and they seemed to expect that she would change to suit their expectations, rather than suiting their expectations to her character, which was frustrating.

The romance is extremely chaste, with some mild kissing between Flip and Paul. I also grew up skiing, which might have been another reason that this book made such an impression on me as a young woman, since a ski meet represented a major plot point in the book.

 

There is apparently an updated edition of the book which restored some of L'Engle's original manuscript which had been cut by her publishers because it either referenced death or was "sexually suggestive." Set in Europe in 1946, many of the various characters are dealing with the aftermath of WWII and the Jewish genocide. More than one character has family that was murdered in the concentration camps. It is sort of astonishing to me that, given the time and the subject matter, it was considered appropriate to sanitize that topic. And, having read it, I can't actually imagine how the words "sexually suggestive" could've been applied to this book. All of the adult characters appear to be celibate, and Paul and Flip share a couple of kisses.

I don't think it has worn quite as well as some of L'Engle's other work, but I still enjoyed rereading it and revisiting the young woman that I was when I fell in love with it for the first time. Philippa Hunter apparently makes a cameo appearance in one of the later works, A Severed Wasp, published in 1983.

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