MANY WATERS by Madeline L’Engle: A Review

Published in 1986       Takes place sometime after the Wrinkle in Time Trilogy

Sandy and Dennys Murry, twin brothers of Meg and Calvin Wallace Murry (from A Wrinkle in Time) are the “dull,” “ordinary” ones in the family until they interrupt their physicist dad’s computer experiment.  Then, they are in trouble, not just with their dad, but in cosmos-changing trouble.  Many waters were coming soon to the dessert oasis where they “landed”, and stories their mother told them as small children from the Bible, as well as many mythologies and folktales of a world-wide flood come rushing to their minds.

Unknown to them, their dad was experimenting with time travel, and the Genesis (from the Bible) people’s reaction to them, as well as their reaction to the people of “this other place” is the premise for the story.  Unicorns, mammoths (miniature size ones), seraphims, and nephils all appear in this book. Both boys, young teens, fall for the same girl, Yalith, and for the first time, the twins do not tell each other “everything.” Will they get themselves home in time to avoid the “many waters?”/The Great Flood? Will they get home, period? L’Engle’s philosophy shines through as the boys engage in conflicts both on a personal level and on a universal level.

The writing, plot, and characterization are brilliant. This is one of my favorite authors whether she is writing YA novels, memoirs and philosophy, or anything. I highly recommend this book.

LAB GIRL by Hope Jahren: A Review

The Amazon review that made me want to read this 2016 memoir read like this, “I’m a mathematician and don’t always appreciate good writing, but this [writing] was amazing!” And, indeed, it is, both in the sensitive, poetic descriptions of the life of trees, plants and other botanical organisms and in the narrative of the story. The relationship between Hope and her more-than-assistant, Bill, was one that had me “rooting for them” to get together, but Alas, it was not to be.

Many themes are explored in this book, including struggles with mental illness, women of science, botany, friendship, motherhood, and many more–enough to keep the reader turning the pages to see what is next. It is funny in places, downright scary in other places, and touching and warm in between.

This book makes scientific facts fascinating!