“As Madeleine taught more and more aspiring writers, she began articulating a unique, transformative understanding of art as a spiritual discipline.”
Madeleine L’Engle is probably best known as the author of A Wrinkle in Time. However, she was also a wife, mother, believer in God, artist, mentor, speaker, teacher and author of many other books. Her legacy is spread through all these hats she wore, but out of all of them, her faith spread through everything she did and her story is told in A Light So Lovely: The Spiritual Legacy of Madeleine L’Engle. She believed that making art well was in and of itself a show of faith, even if the art did not depict faith. Her views of faith and art, combined with her chasing a writing career when she was a mother of young children put L’Engle ahead of her time.
As part of the Handlebar book review team, I was offered the chance to get a review copy of A Light So Lovely: The Spiritual Legacy of Madeleine L’Engle. One of my daughters has recently read A Wrinkle in Time and my grandmother has read many of L’Engle’s books, so it immediately piqued my interest so I could learn more about her as a person. I was given a free copy of the book in exchange for a fair review.
The author, Sarah Arthur, is a fan of L’Engle’s. She heavily researched this book, looking through books and speeches and interviewing friends and relatives. She takes the reader through L’Engle’s life in A Light So Lovely: The Spiritual Legacy of Madeleine L’Engle, but not necessarily chronologically. Instead, she looks at specific areas of L’Engle’s life and shows the legacy she left behind because of the life beliefs she had. The chapters are titled “Icon and Iconoclast” and “Truth and Story” and so on. My two favorite sections are when she explored L’Engle’s views of Faith and Science and Religion and Art. I found myself relating to L’Engle and how she saw how to supposedly conflicting thoughts could actually share space and both be believed in. I learned a lot about L’Engle and plan to read many more of her books after this. My favorite quote and the inspiration for the title is:
“We draw people to Christ not by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it.” – L’Engle
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves biographies, loves Madeline L’Engle or who finds it hard to fit in a specific mold (like Christians who enjoy Harry Potter). It is very revealing and thought-provoking. I plan to send this book along to my grandma who loves L’Engle.