Friday, September 14, 2007

The death of a master

Madeleine L’Engle is dead.

I discovered this after going through the articles at Thanks to Laurel Snyder, I now know that one of the most defining authors of my childhood will write no more.

Snyder’s own memorial of L’Engle can be found at

I began my love affair with L’Engle’s work in the third grade, with A Wrinkle in Time. I quickly moved on to her other books chronicling the lives of the Murry family; they were a realistic literary clan who helped me through the difficulties of my first few years as a religious skeptic. L’Engle also provided a foundation which has led to my current interest in anthropology and mysticism.

L’Engle provided me and millions of other readers with a world where physics and faith intertwined and kids struggling with school and complex issues could find themselves mixed up in wild adventures. Going back and participating in biblical legends and meeting celestial beings were possible.

Looking back, I related to Charles Wallace the most, even though Meg was a strong female lead unafraid to step forward into the unknown. While I enjoyed keeping up with her story, Charles Wallace’s vulnerability and unlimited intelligence drew me into the story. Instead of fostering his creativity and intellect, society and his school stifled and did little to understand where he was coming from, let alone the advanced theories and evolved abilities he demonstrated.

The world will miss L’Engle’s ability to see into the world of childhood and write without talking down to her audience. Even though she wrote many books for adults, I will always remember the multiple times I read her children’s books growing up. In a world where little girls are given low-rise jeans and tank tops at the age of four and told to tread quietly and consume all that is pink and princess-related, L’Engle’s universe of strong, capable role models is needed more than ever.

For more information on L’Engle, and her service to be held on September 15, 2007, please visit And, if you get the time, read her books.

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