Madeleine L'Engle died yesterday at her home in Connecticut, at age 88. She's been in failing health for years, not writing or speaking in public. Still I will miss her. Though I claim not to have read much YA literature as a teenager, I certainly read L'Engle, whether she wrote for children, young adults, or (older!) adults. I had several of her books signed when my father met her through their mutual responsibilities in the diocese of New York, and I returned to her novels and her non-fiction writing as comfort reading often over the years.
Last year when I taught A Wrinkle in Time in my seminar on children's literature and theology it didn't fare well. The ending felt rushed, the kids a little too perfect, the mom definitely so. And yet. It meant so much to me as a child, I couldn't let go of it. Its imperfections were obvious, but so were its strengths: Meg and her brother's odd bond, the wonderful Mrs Ws, the hell of Camazotz. It is a book of its time, certainly, but one well worth revisiting as well. L'Engle made the world better for me, and for many children and adults, throughout her long life. May she now have the peace and light she so beautifully depicted for others.