Madeleine L’Engle Dies at 88

Madeleine L’Engle is one of my all-time favorite authors, and I was saddened to see that she died yesterday.

The first time I read one of L’Engle’s books was when my kids were in the upper elementary grades and we bought A WRINKLE IN TIME. I was concerned by the picture on the cover of our particular edition, so I read the book before the kids did and I loved it! I found that there was a lot of spiritual content in L’Engle’s books, and as a consequence I purchased several of them and read them to my family.

Maybe Madeleine L’Engle may not have been a  C. S. Lewis, but she certainly explored spiritual matters, and it was from her books initially that I realized not everyone has a smooth transition to Christianity. And that’s OK. I especially like the story of her own marriage, TWO PART INVENTION.

Madeline L’Engle had, I think, a lot of spiritual insight and a lot of insight into writing. One thing that I really took to heart was this, quoted from a 1993 Associated Press interview:

Although L’Engle was often labeled a children’s author, she disliked that classification… she said she did not write down to children.

“In my dreams, I never have an age,” she said. “I never write for any age group in mind. … When you underestimate your audience, you’re cutting yourself off from your best work.”‘

I find that quote particularly appropriate because good stories have no age limit. A WRINKLE IN TIME appealed to my family, adults and children alike, in the same way that THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA did.

We all must pass. I know that. But I, for one, will miss Madeleine L’Engle’s insight into spiritual matters, into writing, and into life itself.

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