When I was younger, one of my favorite books was A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. I remember reading that book and just falling in love with the story and the characters. I wanted to be Meg! I should probably do a reread so I can write a review of that book. Anyway, I’ve also read the other Murray Family books but I never knew that L’Engle had YA books outside the Murray and Austin series until I saw the reprinted editions of Camilla and Both Were Young. Since the paperback of Camilla was available in Fully Booked for P470, I grabbed a copy to read. I wonder why this one is available in paperback and Both Were Young is only in hardcover?
Here’s the summary from Madeleine L’Engle’s website:
Life had always been easy for fifteen-year-old Camilla Dickinson. But now her parents, whom she had always loved and trusted, are behaving like strangers to each other and vying for her allegiance. Camilla is torn between her love for them and her disapproval of their actions.
Then she meets Frank, her best friend’s brother, who helps her to feel that she is not alone. Can Camilla learn to accept her parents for what they are and step toward her own independence?
Camila was first published in 1951 and although it got reprinted, the novel wasn’t really updated. The story is set before the cyber age so there are no cellphones and computers in the book. At its core, Camilla is a coming-of-age story. As Camilla’s parents struggle with problems in their marriage, their daughter slowly comes to realize that she’s mostly lived a sheltered life. The book focuses on how Camilla comes to her own and how she learns more about herself. Camilla looks back on her memories and spends time with new friends that have different ways of thinking about the world. I think the new cover captures the story pretty well because Camilla does a lot of walking around New York City while it’s snowing.
Camila is a quiet kind of novel. Nothing terribly exciting happens in it and I have a feeling a lot of people will get bored reading it. I think you have to be in a certain mood to read books like this. While I didn’t love it, I still had a pleasant reading experience with this one. I could still relate to Camilla as she tries to answer questions about life, love, God and the universe. Even if this isn’t her best work, I still recommend this book to fans of Madeleine L’Engle who are curious about her other books. If you’ve never read a L’Engle, I suggest you start with A Wrinkle in Time because that one is my favorite. Camila has a sequel called A Live Coal In The Sea and I hope to read it someday.