Saturday, November 1, 2008

The road to hell... (Books - A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L'Engle)

I've given up on Madeleine L'Engle's A Ring of Endless Light after 80 pages. Chalk it up to my not being or having been an adolescent girl, or chalk it up to her brand of spirituality which, although tame in itself, is always worn on her sleeve in a way I simply find aggressive - the plots in her books are constantly veering off in directions that will give adults opportunities to give the kids religious life lessons in the most baldly didactic fashion - but most of all it is because these lessons are delivered as such milky platitudes. I swear, in the space of about three pages we got:

If we knew each morning that there was going to be another morning, and on and on and on, we'd tend not to notice the sunrise, or hear the birds...

I like the old adage that we should live each day as though were going to live forever, and as though we were going to die to morrow.

Zachary doesn't have much joy. But neither do - did his parents. All that money - and they used it to spoil him rotten, not to love him. Poor little rich boy, eh?

I think we're given strength for what we have to carry. What I question is whether or not this burden is meant for you.

I do know that we're not good, and there's a lot of truth to the saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
... and, evidently, endless cliches. I never knew there were so many. I grant that this book is paved with good intentions as well, but too many of them packed for public display side by side for my taste. A little character development might have been nice. We know 'Grandfather' is dying and that he is good as good can be, but who the hell is he? And what does he do all day besides sit around trying to leave no cliche unspoken to his grandkids? If you are actually going to offer wisdom, it might help to have an in-depth discussion rather than skim the surface with bon mots. The Austin family, for all its supposed goodness, does very little in the way of talking about other people that is not about passing judgment on whether they are living in ways that are up to the Austin's expectations of what is good or what is right. Can't do it - sorry, Sheila. I'm sure Sheila probably has a very different take on this book, for anyone who is interested in a more positive take on it.

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