Mrs. What, Mrs. Who, Mrs Which. Screwy cherubim, mystical feathered pluralities, telepathic baby brothers. A dog named Fortinbras. And of course: tesseracts. What the hell am I talking about? The young adult books of Madeleine L'Engle (A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet) who passed away yesterday at the age of 88.
The trio of books above (as well as a couple sequels) introduced me, a bespectacled nerd of eight waaay too into ABBA and Greek philosophy for my own good (gay! gay! gay!), to the wonders of physics, theology, and biology -- no one but L'Engle could make a mitochondrion the scene an apocalyptic battle between good and evil. Plus: damn good writing.
These books, along with Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea Trilogy (soon to be a Narnia-like movie or three) and a few other young adult gems challenged and enchanted me, and did much to fly me past all the bruising I endured on the schoolyard (see? I WAS smarter than those bullies! Ha! Bite me.)
Farewell, Ms. L'Engle, and thanks for not talking down to kid geeks.