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*****= An all-time favorite
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*****Walking on Water:  Reflections on Faith and Art,

by Madeleine L’Engle

Reviewed September 30, 2002.
A Sonderbooks' Best Book of 2002 (#2, Nonfiction Rereads)
Bantam Books, 1982.  First published, 1972.  198 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (246 LEN).

Walking On Water is a magnificent book.  The book covers what the subtitle suggests:  Reflections on faith and art.  Madeleine L’Engle attempts to answer questions like what it means to be a Christian writer, what is Christian art, and what makes a book a children’s book.  She doesn’t settle for easy answers or watertight definitions.

I first read this book when I was a student at Biola University.  It’s easy for a student at a Christian school to start getting smug that one knows the “right” way to act and the “right” way to think.  Madeleine L’Engle shatters those sorts of ideas.  She opened my eyes to wonderful ideas, both about being a Christian and about being a writer for children.

I’ve got all kinds of passages highlighted with the pink highlighter I used in college.  Here are a few:

“The minute we begin to think we know all the answers, we forget the questions, and we become smug like the Pharisee who listed all his considerable virtues, and thanked God that he was not like other men.”

“And so story helped me to learn to live.  Story was in no way an evasion of life, but a way of living life creatively instead of fearfully.”

“Only the most mature of us are able to be childlike. . . .  If we lose any part of ourselves, we are thereby diminished.  If I cannot be thirteen and sixty-one simultaneously, part of me has been taken away.”

“The marvelous thing is that in the writing of fiction we can, indeed, be eighteen again, and retain all that has happened to us in our slow growing up.  For growing up never ends; we never get there.  I am still in the process of growing up, but I will make no progress if I lose any of myself on the way.”

“Books like A Wrinkle in Time may seem too difficult to some parents.  But if a book is not good enough for a grown-up, it is not good enough for a child.”

She explores life, creativity, art and faith.  This is a wonderful book, worth reading every few years to inspire you.  I especially recommend it to the children’s writers on my list.

Reviews of other books by Madeleine L'Engle:
A Circle of Quiet:  The Crosswicks Journals, Book 1
The Summer of the Great-Grandmother:  The Crosswicks Journals, Book 2
The Irrational Season:  The Crosswicks Journals, Book 3
Glimpses of Grace, with Carole F. Chase
Madeleine L'Engle Herself: Reflections on a Writing Life, with Carole F. Chase
A Wrinkle in Time
A Wrinkle in Time audiobook
The Joys of Love

Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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