I recently reread A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle for an MFA essay. I love to revisit this book. I’ve read it so much it’s literally split down the middle with only Scotch tape to keep it in one piece. I can’t remember how old I was when I first read it, but I remember going through it over and over again. I can still see the crease marks from when I used to dog-ear the pages.
The very obvious theme of this book is death, but I don’t think I realized that until there was a made-for-TV Disney movie coming out. The commercials went on an on about saving dolphins, which enraged me. While dolphins are a big part of the story, there aren’t any poachers in the book. It wasn’t until a movie was being made with an absence of this theme that I understood what I’d been reading for all those years. So I can be thankful for that, at least. (I never watched the movie, by the way.)
Another thing that’s interesting about this book and me is that, even though A Ring of Endless Light is technically the fourth book in the Austin Family series, I’ve only ever read the sequel to this one, Troubling a Star, and that only once. A Ring of Endless Light stands well enough on it’s own, so I didn’t realize for a long while that there was anything else to read about Vicky Austin. I wonder now, if I had read the first 3 books before this one, if I would have loved it as much.
Understanding the book better colors it differently when I read it now, but I still get a satisfied enjoyment out of it. I’ll always go back to it, and maybe when this copy finally disintegrates I’ll buy a new copy for my own kids. And who knows, maybe someday I’ll read the rest of the books.
Do you have a book you’ve read again and again? Or a book you didn’t understand fully until much later?