It’s the summer of Madeleine – as in, the L’Engle – and once again my heart smiles.
Although I want to say that I did, I’m not sure if I read A Wrinkle in Time when I was in elementary school; instead, in a flood of memories, Sweet Valley Twins, The Babysitter’s Club and Sleepover Friends topped my list. Oh, and Jacob, Have I Loved – do any of your 80’s-loving selves remember those titles as well?
In the wintertime, I’d hole up between the counter and the microwave in the kitchen to read, snuggled in blanket, heater warming my bum below, hot chocolate between book and sticky fingers.
And then came summertime reading: now first, you have to understand the absolute epic-ness of our childhood backyard. Dad, a now-retired civil engineer, found it in his best interest to design and build a three-story treehouse, without ever putting a nail in the tree, in the giant oak.
First, we’d climb up the ladder to the alcove first story, which really was just a little nest of an entryway, with trapdoor above opening to the main level. Despite the Oregon rain, we spent hours up in those trees, reading and sleeping out, hoisting up the night’s supplies via rope and picnic basket. Friends would traipse up the ladder with us, the best of secrets saved for its nestled, magical home, the most favorite of books shared by flashlight under twinkling stars.
Eventually that level outgrew our burgeoning bodies, so a couple summers later, Dad set to building the third, epic of epic levels another five rungs above the main story. By now, sleepovers had migrated to include the latest Big Bopper and a flashlight to alight our chins and tell ghost stories by. But still, the treehouse was a source of magic and goodness, representing all that childhood had to offer.
I think that same magic and goodness, the very representation of childhood itself, was why I loved being transported back in time in reading A Wrinkle in Time. As children, the main things are the main things: good and evil, Light and Darkness, imagination and, in the case here, the very thought that love alone is enough. Regardless of whether or not L’Engle’s writing is then toted as an underscoring Christian tale of redemption or of godless scientific exploration, there is something absolutely lovely and full of breath in the pages.
And call it magic or the Spirit or perhaps a combination of both, I for one enjoyed being transported.
What about you? What was your favorite childhood book? What children’s or YA book have you read lately?0