A Wrinkle In Time Series Pt. 1 – Books That Inspire

If you’ve followed me for any length of time you know how much I love Madeleine L’Engle.  One of my deepest regrets is that I never made it to one of her many writing conferences at Wheaton College.  My love affair with all things “Madeleine” began when I was in about sixth grade. My mother and I were on a quest to read all of the Newberry Award winners, and I came upon Madeleine’s A Wrinkle In Time.

I don’t know if any book, other than the Bible of course, has had such a strong impact on my life as this book did.  First of all, I was going through a very ugly stage.  I could completely relate to Meg Murray, who had nondescript mousy brown hair, thick glasses and braces.  Minus the braces, it could have been a description of me.  Not only is her appearance insignificant, but she feels that she is inadequate in every way.  She doesn’t do particularly well in school, although she is a math whiz, and she isn’t good at sports or music.  She feels completely useless.

Much of that changes during the book.  Meg is able to solve a deep problem for her family, to have a popular boy show interest in her and most importantly to she finds value in who she is.  The characters in the novel are quaint and lovable, and Madeleine’s search for God comes through in the pages.

As an adult fan of her work, I’ll never forget reading about her struggle to get this book published.  It was her first major work for children.  She was about to turn forty, and was wondering whether she should give up writing and concentrate on her family.  (Sound familiar anyone?)  On her birthday, she received a letter from a publisher.  It was yet another rejection.  She went on a walk to cry and talk to God.  “God, why all these rejection slips?  You know it’s good; I wrote it for you.”  It was only through an acquaintance that she was able to have her Newberry Award winning book published.

Although the book became part of a series, the books each stand on their own.

I will be exploring other Madeleine Books in the next few weeks, do you have a favorite?

Little House on the Prairie – Books That Inspire

Every Sunday evening, I spent in front of the TV in order to see how Michael Landon and Melissa Gilbert were going to make me cry.  The second installment of my Monday series, Books That Inspire is the Little House on the Prairie series.  These books are some of my mother’s favorites, and I remember her reading them out loud to me.

Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote about what it was like to grow up in an America with less than fifty stars on a flag, and before automobiles and skyscrapers.

If I summarized how these books influenced me, I think I would respond that they made me feel as though with hard work and ingenuity, man could accomplish just about anything he set his mind to.  The stories of survival in a once very wild America instilled within me an awe and reverence for the pioneer.  I loved to imagine what it would have been like to live here before all of our modern day conveniences.  I couldn’t imagine a world in which one could be so self-sufficient.

The relationships in the book were ideal to say the least.  I didn’t realize this until my second or third reading.  Ma struggled to be the always supportive, submissive wife.  The girls obeyed their parents and learned to work out their differences even with the ever-snobby Nellie.  Many of the moral and relationship themes are timeless.

These books also create a healthy interest in the time in history when their were still skirmishes with Indians, a growing railroad and new and when modern inventions were arriving at an alarming rate.

Tell me, which Little House book or story was your favorite?