As an only child, I reveled in reading about a large, noisy and happy family. The Austin Family. Madeleine L’Engle again influenced and shaped everything I was to become with her deeper than surface writing. As an author, she never talks down to children. She expects them to handle difficult issues, death, life and everything in between. She forces the reader to see what is of eternal value.
These books are theologically “safer” than the time quintet. The star, Vicky Austin, has a grandfather who is a retired minister and any doubts about God and life are generally run by him and his wise and Judeo-Christian mind.
And although Vicky deals with feelings of sexual awareness and attraction to the dark and brooding Zachary at a rather young age, I am reminded that these books were written in the late 60’s and early 70’s when love and marriage were accepted at a much younger age.
What did I learn from the Austin series?
1. How to deal with a changed plan. The Austins have the balance of their family rhythm tampered with when a hurting, recently orphaned Maggie comes to live with them.
3. I learned that I wanted to experience an ice storm at some point in my life.
4. I learned my favorite poem…ever.
If thou could`st empty all thyself of self,
Like to a shell dishabited,
Then might He find thee on the ocean shelf,
And say, `This is not dead`,
And fill thee with Himself instead.
But thou art all replete with very thou
And hast such shrewd activity,
That when He comes, He says, `This is enow
Unto itself – `twere better let it be,
It is so small and full, there is no room for me.
Sir Thomas Browne (apparently, a kind reader told me that it is a common misconception that Sir Thomas Browne wrote this poem. You can check out his information here: http://penelope.uchicago.edu/false.shtml
6. I learned about the fascination of a bad boy to a good girl. (And what to do with it.)
8. I learned about death, and how I’d like to handle it gracefully.
9. I learned about the right guy rather than the exciting guy.
The Ring of Endless Light was a Newberry Honor Book. For more detailed review of these books visit The Christian Scribbler.