Monday, September 10, 2007

Madeleine L'Engle (1918-2007)

One of my all-time favorite writers, Madeleine L'Engle passed away recently. She wrote two of my favorite books, A Wrinkle in Time and A Ring of Endless Light. (If you've never read these books, please do so ASAP. You won't be sorry. And then read everything else she wrote. But promise me you'll skip the GOD AWFUL movies that were based on them. MISCHA BARTON was in the adaptation of Light. That's really all I need to say about that, isn't it?) L'Engle's writing is a fascinating combination of fantasy and science fiction, with explorations of faith, life, love and actual science thrown in. (Seriously, I've used tidbits about science that I picked up from her books to answer Jeopardy! questions. It's fun.) The books are aimed at children and adolescents, but there's plenty there for adults to enjoy. Hence why I reread them constantly.

For my godson Mothra's first Christmas, I gave him (amongst other things, because if he gets spoiled...hey, not my problem!) A Wrinkle in Time and Harriet the Spy. I chose these two books for several reasons: 1. Clearly, 'cause they're awesome. 2. Generally, boys don't often read books in which the protagonist is a girl. Girls are far more likely to read books about boys. That's bullshit. As I told Andie, "YOUR son is going to be a boy who reads books about GIRLS." (Andie just smiled and nodded as she does when I go off on such tangents. Also, she pointed out that he wouldn't be reading these books or any others for a few years yet. Bah.) 3. I wanted him to have the same fun that I did, seeing the world through Meg Murry's (And Harriet M. Welsch's) eyes. To experience that wonder and adventure and develop an appreciation for physics. Heh, watch him grow up to become a jock who tells me to piss off with my books.

L'Engle wasn't a young woman; I've actually been bracing myself for this loss for awhile. She had a long, interesting life. Seriously, check out that woman's Wikipedia entry some time. Good stuff, that. I was hoping there might be another book; I've been wondering what Vicky Austin's been up to since her trip to Antarctica or just what Charles Wallace's "secret missions" entailed (though L'Engle had said herself that she didn't know, so I wasn't holding my breath or anything.) or what Polly O'Keefe's been up to. Last we heard from her was in the novel, An Acceptable Time, where I get one of my favorite quotes in literature:

"We do not always understand our part in the working out of the pattern. And you see,
it is possible for people to work against the pattern, to - to tangle the lines
of love between stars and people and places. The pattern is as perfect as a spiderweb,
and as delicate." (L'Engle 1989, 200)

So, maybe I'm sitting here, surrounded by all the L'Engle books I own (Um. That would be nine of them, not counting one that I can't find. A House Like a Lotus is around here SOMEWHERE, damn it.) WHAT OF IT? She ruled a whole lot and so did her books. I hope she rests in peace and her novels are appreciated forever, especially by kids like Mothra and Glowbug. (I know what Glowbug's getting from me for Christmas. You're welcome, Mame!)

Wow. That was almost serious. I'll be back later with a review of a crappy movie and more flailing about something trashy!

3 comments:

Niki said...

This is so sad... Oddly I was just reading one of her books a couple of weeks ago.

It was really enjoyable, as was Wrinkle, which I totally loved.

Thanks for the wonderful and insightful update... you know I didn't even see this mentioned online anywhere else. I probably wouldn't have even known if it wasn't for you so thanks I think!

Niki said...

This is so sad... Oddly I was just reading one of her books a couple of weeks ago.

It was really enjoyable, as was Wrinkle, which I totally loved.

Thanks for the wonderful and insightful update... you know I didn't even see this mentioned online anywhere else. I probably wouldn't have even known if it wasn't for you so thanks I think!

And this stupid thing won't let me publish a comment without logging in and I can't remember my stupid password!
(growling)
Love Ya
niki

Bea's mom said...

"A Wrinkle in Time and "Harriet the Spy" wonder who gave you these books to read. Perhaps someone who loved them when she was a girl. You're welcome brat!
XOXOXOXO