Madeleine L’Engle 1949, 1983
I’m working my way through L’Engle’s entire fiction body of work over the coming months by purchasing used copies of each title. I’ll provide a synopsis of each title as I finish, and I will share my impressions – but, I have a strong personal bias toward Ms. L’Engle’s work, so my reviews are not particularly objective. (But really, are they ever?)
This YA novel is the story of Philippa Hunter’s time at a Swiss boarding school, shortly after WWII. Its first publication in 1949 was edited to remove the publisher’s perceived references to death and sex, and the 1983 edition added those omitted sections back to the story.
Philippa’s mother has recently died and her father is now dating (or what passes for dating in a L’Engle novel). This is a true coming of age story as Philippa (“Flip”) meets a boy, learns how to make friends, develops new skills, and generally matures. There isn’t much more to say about the story; I was mainly drawn to the book – and engrossed in it – because Ms. L’Engle wrote it, and because it’s authentic mid-century fiction, my favorite genre. I’ll give it four stars for nostalgia, but honestly it’s probably a respectable three-star book.