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I had to read Meet the Austins and The Moon by Night, the first two Austin Family novels, in eighth grade While I didn t like Meet the Austins as it read like a juvenile fiction book, I fell in love with The Moon by Night and the book s heroine, Vicky Austin I reread the book so many times, the pages are coming out.Surprisingly, I never picked up A Ring of Endless Light until college My sister read it for school and told me that it was a fellow Vicky Austin novel and was surprised I had not yet read it I have since reread A Ring of Endless Light many times and find myself always crying at the end.The charm of A Ring of Endless Light and The Moon by Night is Vicky Austin s intense vulnerability She is fifteen in A Ring of Endless Light and unsure of herself She does not consider herself pretty because she is not like her sister Suzy, the outgoing blonde She surprises herself when, in A Ring of Endless Light, she finds herself competing for the attention of her former fling Zachary and the kind hearted Adam Adam is gentle and patient and opens Vicky s world to the love of dolphins as she helps him hear their voices Zachary is inconsiderate and the token bad boy, but Vicky finds him appealing We yearn with Vicky as she suffers from her Grandfather s death and cry with her as she comes in contact with death yet again in her young life She carries the novel with her vulnerability and makes her one of the most believable and compassionate characters in literature. Upon re read still one of the best books ever mini review as a follow up to the read along A Ring of Endless Light is one of my all time favorite books I first read it many years ago and when I got the opportunity to re read it, I was terrified I worried that even though I had loved this book so many years ago, I wouldn t feel the same way years later I was wrong I feel like I need to bang my head on a wall for ever underestimating this book but there it is This is one of the best books I ve ever read and upon re reading, I can reaffirm that conviction.I want to keep this short because I have already fangirled enough to last a while but let me just say that this is such an important coming to age novel Given that it s set in the 80s, some parts of it may strike some readers as odd but for me, it is still relatable for the modern day reader.It deals with common issues teenagers have to deal with growing up but it also deals with bigger issues of life and death.Vicky is a young girl who, during the particular summer this book is set in, is surrounded by death What she needs, is to find hope amidst all the death and learn to let go and look at the brighter things in life She needs to rise from her despair and grow as a person but also cross that awkward bridge between teen and adult It s so great to experience the journey with her because it is so realistic and so relevant but also Vicky is also just a great female lead I love that she isn t perfect and sometimes hides from the truth but she is also just fantastic.This book also comes with an entourage of great family members and great secondary characters INCLUDING DOLPHINS.This is a powerful book and one I will continue to recommend 20 30 years from now because it will still be relevant and will still be important I just want to shower the book with all the love because it s so special to me Definitely a book I d recommend for ALL readers So you know, check it out @Download Book ⚡ A Ring of Endless Light â After A Tumultuous Year In New York City, The Austins Are Spending The Summer On The Small Island Where Their Grandfather Lives He S Very Sick, And Watching His Condition Deteriorate As The Summer Passes Is Almost Than Vicky Can Bear To Complicate Matters, She Finds Herself As The Center Of Attention For Three Very Different Boys Zachary Grey, The Troubled And Reckless Boy Vicky Met Last Summer, Wants Her All To Himself As He Grieves The Loss Of His Mother Leo Rodney Has Been Just A Friend For Years, But The Tragic Loss Of His Father Causes Him To Turn To Vicky For Comfort And Romance And Then There S Adam Eddington Adam Is Only Asking Vicky To Help With His Research On Dolphins But Adam And The Dolphins May Just Be What Vicky Needs To Get Through This Heartbreaking Summer I read this book in fifth grade, and I loved it so much I bought it earlier this spring at Borders I think it was on sale because it s newbery honor sticker is the wrong color , though I just picked it up.Vicky Austin goes to her grandfather s house on Seven Bay Island Each day, her grandfather only seems to grow weaker from Leukemia The book begins with the Austin s family friend Commander Rodney s funeral There, she meets her older brother s friend Adam, who she thinks she likes She works with him and his dolphins in an ESP project don t worry nothing odd at all.There are some very, very life changing scenes, not to be dramatic, that really jolted me out of my seat while I read this L Engle, the wonderful author she was, knows what is real and what isn t real She deals with some really tough issues for a children s book suicide, death in the family, romance seemingly not tough , unexpected death, the meaning of existance, etc.I ve read some reviews that said this book doesn t deserve a newbery honor They said that this book dealt with issues too deep, too dangerous for children I think the opposite This book didn t bother me in fifth grade, and was the perfect introduction to those topics. In my youth I was on a L engle tear having gone through the Time serieshowever I didn t get the memo that L engle s writing ministry developed into one catered towards guiding pre adolescent females through their awkward years.Needless to say, I caught on when I realized that the books really weren t speaking to me like the others wereand I quietly returned this one back to the library and saw that I was the only dude to read the book for the past decadeA good read nonetheless This is all about dolphins, adolescent life, death and regeneration of limbs in dolphins and the possibilities on human.Though the narrative was okay,the character descriptions was alright and the story line is some how muddied but I will give this book 2 stars. Vicky Austin s summer is filled with joy and heartbreak Her family has come to the Island to stay with her grandfather, who s dying of leukemia She has three boys vying for her affections, each of whom has his own demons, all of whom look to Vicky for a kind of salvation She s trying to find her place in the world at a time when the support of her family isn t what it used to be, not because they ve changed, but because she has And she is introduced to three dolphins with whom she has an unusual connection, who may be the key to her understanding her life and her future Sayingwould just trivialize what I think is a moving, excellent book that has aged very well.There is something special about the books you read when you re young like music, they shape the child you are into the adult you re going to be When I was in high school, I read this book almost obsessively I loved the Austin family, how smart they all were in their different ways and how they loved each other, even Vicky and Suzy whom I despised, probably because I, too, have a younger and prettier sister everyone always noticed and who was frequently believed to be older than I am despite being SIX YEARS YOUNGER I loved the dolphins, even though I don t think it ever made me want to be a marine biologist Vicky, after all, is a poet and a dreamer and she s the ones the dolphins connect to, and I was a reader and a writer and that s who I identified with I cried at the end, every time, over every death I felt it was a wise book, one that had something real to say about life and humanity and religion, even if it wasn t a religion I shared I enjoyed the rest of the Austin Family novels and how they intersected with the O Keefe books, but this was my favorite I was a smart kid who loved books in a family of smart people who didn t really read, and I wished my family werelike the Austins.Then I got older, and I found other books, and though I still considered this a favorite, I kept it in memory rather than reading it frequently It was a good memory, well cherished.Then I read it again And the joy was gone.I d never realized that the Austins are too perfect a family, created to be an ideal you either aspire to or feel intimidated by Seriously, who says Let s have family reading time in the evenings and picks Shakespeare for a seven year old boy They re all really intelligent and well read, they re spiritually minded, they re all good at what they do except for Vicky, and it turns out she is good at what she does, but her gifts are exceptional in a less flashy way They live in a super cool house that used to be a barn instead of somewhere mundane Their grandfather looks wise, but it s a superficial wisdom there s a part where they mention how popular his sermons were when he preached in a giant congregation, and I couldn t help thinking that it was probably because he handed out comforting platitudes that didn t challenge anyone s faith or security I also noticed that there s never a mention of what denomination he is, which L engle possibly intended so as not to tilt the narrative toward one faith and put off some readers, but struck me instead as hedging her bets And he s selfless and stuff like that, which struck me as oneidealization It didn t help that my Presbyterian minister grandfather really was what this character aspired to be, while still remaining incredibly human I was embarrassed that I d ever wished my family werelike them, oraccurately, that I d ever resented my family for not being like them.And yet there are still things about this book that ring true to me Vicky s insecurities and confusion seem very real She struggles with understanding the impending death of her grandfather, bears the burden of three young men all demanding support from her, and is a little lost in her family of scientific geniuses I m not a poet, so I have no idea how mature or immature her poetry is, but it seems a natural way for someone to express those struggles of adolescence And my concerns about idealization aside, Vicky also relates naturally to her siblings, if there s a little less conflict than I d expect coming from a very large family Even now I can see how that struck me as real, as a teen Side comment What parents let their fifteen year old daughter date a twenty year old man I never realized it, since Zachary behaves like a kid, but he s twenty, and while a five year age difference is nothing when it s twenty five and thirty, there is a world of difference between a high schooler and someone who s past that stage and moving into full adulthood Ditto Adam, who s nineteen I loved him, though he s got problems of his own, but he s got adult responsibilities and Vicky really doesn t, and shouldn t Though I give Adam credit for at least realizing there s a gap between them, even if he fumbles around not knowing what to do about it Maybe I needed to be a parent to really understand this aspect of the book I dislike talking about changing opinions of books in terms like outgrown or moved beyond It implies that the changes in our characters that happen over time are invariably positive, as if wisdom is something conferred on us solely by the passing of years What I ve learned in re reading this book some thirty years after my teenage experience with it is that my younger self found meaning in it that related to what I was living at the time Vicky s grandfather s wisdom may be only platitudes, but I turned them into something meaningful that I think made me a better person The science in the book may be inaccurate, shaped by L engle to fit the mystical fantasy of her other books, but it got me interested in reading actual science And those things turned me into the person who can look at the book from this much later perspective and think not in terms of its flaws, but of who I am that I now see the book in a different light.So, having said all this, how can I still say A Ring of Endless Light is a moving, excellent book Because beneath everything, whether I accept my younger self s experience or my older self s new reading, I sense Madeleine L engle s beliefs about life and how we live it If she idealizes the Austins, it s out of love, or a wish that this is the way the world ought to be, and there s nothing wrong with her wishing that even if I don t share her feelings and have reservations about whether writers should approach fiction in this way, and further reservations about whether I should make that demand of them I m probably not coming back to this book again But I don t regret having read it. A Ring of Endless Light takes what could be a beautiful, poignant book with the most saintly of grandfathers and a reverence for the poetic soul, dries it out, overloads it with sentiment, and then beats it over the head with understanding and well wishing And that s my polite impression of it.Honestly, I don t know how anyone can like this book unless they find picture perfect, saccharine families and neat answers appealing Vicky is the most understanding and emotionally and psychologically aware 15 year old girl that I ve ever encountered, her vocabulary is way beyond her range as evidenced by her use of susurrate , she talks and interacts with people like a 30 year old, and after a 5 second conversation with anyone she immediately calms down and deals with whatever massive problem is in front of her with barely a tear or a murmur She s completely unbelievable and, as she s a bit dry, flat, and completely unbelievable, she s almost unlikeable I appreciate that L Engle tried to create a mature teenage girl who has self respect and can put her foot down, but in doing so she created a dull matron whom I can t relate to as a 24 year old and would never have been able to relate to as a 15 year old.This basic unbelievability permeates the entire book from plot to characters None of the characters were really enjoyable, not even Suzy, who s supposed to be the crazy, out spoken one Honestly, her hard headedness, inability to understand how the world works or how anyone else thinks, and the constant repetition of her being this gorgeous, intelligent blonde was annoying and grating, and I wanted her to shut up Zachary, the bad boy, was all pre school philosophy complete sociopath who has no understanding of death or emotion and whom everyone but Vicky avoids, even when it s obvious that he needs help this from a family of ultra empaths Unbelievable.Not only were the characters unbelievable, but they were completely flat This was a book of emotion, and there was no emotion Zachary brushed everything aside, Leo and his mother mourned Commander Rodney for about a day before just moving on with their lives, Adam and Vicky talk rationally about their attraction and the fact that Vicky is the dolphin whisperer, and the subject of the slowly fading dying grandfather is neatly shoved into the background after the first 50 pages Where was the emotion The conflict The arguments The tears The lack of understanding The cliched epiphany SOMETHING The book just went on, Vicky had a way out in left field crisis Who just throws their leukemia afflicted, unconscious, epilepsy prone daughter at a perfect stranger and tells them to take care of her , it was solved in 5 pages after her brother and sister say things that are so wrong they re offensive, and then the book ends Grandfather doesn t even die WHAT THE HELL I just have no idea what this book was trying to do In the beginning, it seemed like it was trying to portray how a family and especially an adolescent deals with the act of their grandfather dying, but that got left to the wayside Then it s about the different kinds of friendships we can have and learning how to deal with our feelings of attraction, but that got left to the wayside A weird tangent about interacting with dolphins and developing ESP wayside The poetic mind wayside Depression and suicide wayside Tirades about what a cruel, cruel world we live in and how people are essentially evil Get over it Who over the age of 12 doesn t know that already wayside Sudden introduction of how awful modern, urban hospitals especially their emergency rooms are wayside Also get the hell over that and appreciate that they re THERE They re not fun, and they ll never be, but when you don t have a live in nurse who works from gratis in your giant beach house, you ve got to do what you ve got to do Oh, and the coup de grace an attack against creative writing programs, which just burns me up personally.Was this just the dumping ground for everything L Engle could possibly think of Did her mind wander while writing this Did her editor even read this book What happened that made this book go so horribly, horribly wrong Honestly, I don t want to read any of her other stuff after this, not even A Wrinkle in Time It just seems that if she has this flat of characterization, this unbelievable of scenario, and this many soupboxes, I m not going to enjoy anything else that she s written One book can ruin your reputation. I first read this book as an early teen I can see now, reading it as an adult, that having read this book along with all Madeleine L Engle s other books at twelve and thirteen clearly had a profound impact on my world view L Engle s writing has a depth and profundity that draws on emotions of which most writers only attempt to scratch the surface.I think all developing adolescents should read this book and all its accompanying ones, if only to see that there isout there than either complete surrender to the inanity of life, or conversely, that fantasy does not necessarily mean being out of touch with reality.I am happy that I left this book on a shelf long enough that coming back to it all these years later meant it was fresh and new while being comfortingly familiar. Battle is over for this book, at any rate Before anyone starts throwing stones or even worse missiles, I have to point out that this is not a review, but rather a response Further, I read this book at the wrong time Which is NOT code for saying that it s an immature book you could only love if you read it as a child But really, rather than desiring to avoid abuse, I hate to say why a book that is an abiding favourite for so many friends is one that really didn t work for me As a child myself, I read A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, and possibly one or two of L Engle s others, but not many The Crosswicks Journal books and Walking on Water I read as an adult and loved These books spoke in a way that felt deeply authentic, and always seemed right, whether she was talking of love and loss, or imperfection and failure, or grace When the later controversy arose over the extent to which she d thrown her own family into her fiction without much concern for their feelings, I didn t really know the fiction that might have been involved, so was just confused and saddened to hear about literary and family conflict for a favourite author.Another thing that had been floating in the back of my head for some years in an unresolved kind of way was what Connie Willis said about L Engle Or at least, I very much hope she said it and I m not misquoting her Even though Willis herself is a believer, she said that Madeleine L Engle was a Christian apologist before she was a storyteller, and that sometimes that didn t work for a writer Which just didn t quite make sense, especially after reading Walking on Water and the Crosswicks Journals Then came the Book Battle and reading A Ring of Endless Light, and those two disparate things fell into place in my head Nothing about the book felt true or natural to me I don t just mean that the family seemed too good to be true, with their musical evenings and extreme intellectual superiority They did, but in an odd way, as if they were Madeleine L Engle s idealised version of how she and hers were It also made very clear to me why there might be a question of her family s being upset about appearing in her fiction Vicky s behaviour, in her family and outside it, felt especially unnatural, and thewe were told that she was special, and a poet, the worst it got Seeing the poetry did not fix that The thing is, though, that it s often possible to put a problem like my one of finding the family to be unbelievable off to an analytical part of your mind, as long as the story is flowing around it smoothly This one only flowed for me in a very few places I m sure I d have reacted to the returning characters differently if I d read the earlier books in the series, so again, I m acknowledging this is not the usual way to read them As it was, though, I especially disliked the three guys chasing Vicky plotline, a reaction which included not much liking any of the guys, or, to be honest, Vicky herself It started to feel as if the author were going for the magic number three I ll come back to that and cherry picking relationships a special girl like Vicky might encounter for purposes of education Adam the serious boy who ll blow hot and cold except always hot for your usefulness to his scientific pursuits as he s tugged between the opposing forces of respect he s got YEARS of post graduate study before he can MARRY and she s the kind of girl you would only MARRY , guilt she s too young AND his friend s younger sister and OMG SHE S SO SPECIAL the dolphins know it Leo a classic The friend who wantsand you don t want to hurt because you re nice and you care about himbut know you ll never be interested in that way, but can t you be friends And finally Zachary Bad boy with the tortured soul extraordinaire Sexy, sophisticated, handsome, charming except when he absolutely isn t, buton that shortly In theory, it should have worked really well, having intelligent yet insecure and never as popular with the boys as her younger sister, natch Vicky seen as truly attractive and also showing the real distress each of these relationships could cause a caring and compassionate person It didn t come off that way for me, though, and the point at which it really hit me enough to throw me out of story reading into a detached, what IS thistype of reading was after Zachary nearly hits an old woman crossing the road Zach s already brought Vicky out twice, on wonderful outings, taking her to an exclusive country club although that might be tautological with fancy food, a concert she loves, flying, which she also loves, and here s the significant third time He picks her up and she has to yell at him to slow down or if he doesn t, to let her out of the car He does, but then sees an old woman with a cane crossing the road He says, She s no use to society Shall I mow her down and steps on the accelerator He slammed on the brakes, but not before he d given the old woman and me a good fright He then says that Vicky knew he wouldn t hit her, and she replies that with him she never knows, but that s the end of the incident s ramifications She goes on with the day, enjoying the flying enormously, is taken to a fancy French menu without even a menu, the ultimate in elegance , is made to feel glamorous , which she likes, and enjoys a long, slow kiss while being grateful Zach doesn t make anythingof it This is a day spent with someone who started off by accelerating towards an old and not very mobile woman, making her fear he ll run her down Just WHAT It s so utterly inconceivable to me that anyone with any decency would scream at Zach to slow down or let her out when he s driving too fast on EMPTY roads, but not do the same when he s purposefully terrified an old woman Especially as Vicky is presented as a character who s deeply moral if sometimes struggling to figure out what s right in some situations.Suddenly, that number three came back to me Three guys, the third day s outing with Zachary and three temptations I can t quite fit the three temptations of Christ in the desert to the three temptations Zachary offers Vicky, but three there are, nonetheless, and it feels much less fairy tale andscriptural to me First, he tempts her with luxuries the good things money and privilege can offer She enjoys them thoroughly, even though she has gained enough confidence in herself not to be pushed into drinking alcohol when she doesn t want to Even Zach s too speedy driving of an Alfa Romeo, no less on an earlier trip both terrifies and exhilarates her Second, he tempts her with the pleasures of the flesh, to use the old fashioned term He s gorgeous, sexy and she really enjoys kissing him, except when thoughts of Adam get in the way Finally, and most interestingly, she s tempted by the desire to save him Her grandfather is the one who sees this in her most clearly or possibly it s just that she trusts him to understand and not immediately judge Zachary and his advice is characteristically gentle and wise But, unfortunately, it s not until she feels that Zachary lets her down when she needs him that this desire to save him loses its power.There were many other minor things that bothered me, though some irritated less than they might have because I just gave up and laughed Of course you all sit around and read Shakespeare at night, and in your world Twelfth Night and The Tempest are as good for a 7 year old as for the grandfather I also got a bit of amusement out of thinking of the three guys as the three bears Zachary too rich, Leo too poor, and Adam just right Not that Vicky ever thinks that Leo is too poor, of course, but there sthan a bit of classism in the book, and it s telling that when she hopes she can manage to always be friends with Leo it s because He was the kind of person, like his mother, who could always be counted on to be there when you needed him Mostly, as well as what I ve said about the book not feeling natural, it was strange seeing so many events, discussions and even musical preferences that had been described in the Crosswicks Journals turning up again I have no idea whether the non fiction was aa portrait of the person L Engle wanted to be, and the family she wanted to have than of who she and they actually were, even if I had any desire to make such a judgment about it Nor am I saying that my odd reading of A Ring of Endless Light as a structure of lessons, or almost homilies, wrapped around plot and characters that weren t strong enough to hold them together, is anything other than odd All the same, when I started to write this up, I couldn t stop thinking about the ending of one of Connie Willis s books I ll put the title behind a spoiler cut view spoiler Passage hide spoiler