Wednesday, January 9, 2019

A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L'Engle

★★★½

I think I liked this book better than A Wrinkle in Time because I already knew what to expect, so I didn't spend so much time wondering what was going on. I have an even vaguer recollection of this book than A Wrinkle in Time, though I'm pretty sure I read it back in the 4th grade because I remember having a conversation with a classmate about not understanding whether or not farandolae were real or just made up. (They are made up.) Since this series is generally recommended for ages 10 and up, I guess my reading comprehension skills just weren't up to snuff as a kid.

This book follows much the same template as A Wrinkle in Time. In A Wrinkle in Time, Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which guide Meg and company on a journey through the universe. Charles Wallace's life is in danger, and Meg needs to save him by overcoming her fear and using the power of love. In A Wind in the Door, Blajeny and Proginoskes guide Meg and company on a journey through a microcosmic universe. Charles Wallace's life is in danger, and Meg needs to save him by overcoming her lack of confidence and using the power of a different kind of love. Once again, events unfold against a backdrop of good versus evil, with the good side being wrapped in sometimes Christian language.

First published in 1973, there is still some old-fashioned charm, for example, when Meg assumes Calvin has a handkerchief, and he does. The book's denouncement of war and hate is timeless.

I really liked the "Naming," the idea that when someone "Names" you, when they really know you, then you are. Your existence is affirmed and you are rooted in being. I also liked how "kything" put a word on the idea of truly gaining courage and strength from those who would give you these qualities.

There's a satisfying message about everything, and everyone, being important, no matter how seemingly inconsequential. It actually reminded me of a Bible verse about how every person in a community matters: "[S]o that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it." --1 Corinthians 12:25-26

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