Book Review: Meet the Austins by Madeleine L'Engle
Madeleine L'Engle is one of my all time favorite authors. I don't love her theology which is always a bit wacky and leans universalistic. I can read past that; I want my children to be able to read past that *later.* These are not books for young children who aren't well grounded in their faith.
However, these books are simply too well written to not read them. When I was a teenager reading L'Engle's writing, I always wanted to be Vicky. She *is* the main character and narrator after all. But, I truly identified with her; gangly, "all angles," not pretty, rather awkward, feeling things too much, never knowing what to say (some things don't change), not knowing what her future holds. And I wanted to live in her family.
Today, I want to be Mrs. Austin. She is a very real person. She isn't always sweetness & light. She gets mad, she cries. But, she generally holds it together. And she creates a family atmosphere that is incomparable. Music, stories, singing, food, star-gazing, individual attention are all tools in her toolbox. She has a general demeanor of quiet, calming capability. The home rotates around Dr. and Mrs. Austin, and to a large extent around Mrs. Austin simply because she is present.
How do you review such a book? The story is that of a family. How to make a family. How to love one another even when you may not particularly like one another at that moment. How to learn to love someone you don't really like at all. The story is of the things that happen in a family, but beautifully written.