Camilla by Madeleine L’Engle
Genre: Juvenile Fiction
Published in 1965
Recommended Age Group: 14 and Up
Summary: Camilla is about a 15 year-old girl by the same name. She is at the age where she doesn’t get any of the privileges of adulthood and none of those from childhood. Her life, which was relatively easy, suddenly gets harder when she realizes her parents are not only people but imperfect people at that. Her mother Rose is dating another man while still married but she thinks she is fooling everyone and that no one knows, even though he comes to the house. Her father Rafferty tries to ignore the situation or he blames it on himself. Meanwhile Camilla is becoming a woman and although she knows she wants to be an astronomer she doesn’t know about the rest of her life and the problems with her parents make her unsure that she’ll make the right choices.
Luisa, her best friend, helps Camilla on her way to finding out who she is and what she wants from life but she also gets in the way. When Camilla starts seeing Luisa’s brother Frank Luisa tries to tell her he’s a bad guy and not to spend time with him, but Camilla ignores her. Camilla learns from Frank and Luisa about life, love, and God and in the end decides who she is and that it’s not always possible to know and control everything about anything.
Personal Notes: The summary on the back of this book did not do it justice. I bought it because I am a big fan of Madeleine L’Engle. I wasn’t too excited about reading it but I loved it. Even though it was written over forty years ago it really ties in to life in today’s society where divorce is so common. It was realistic and true to life. I think a lot of people would relate to how Camilla was trying to find out who she was and how to cope with the problems her parents added to the ones she had herself. It was interesting and entertaining with just the right amount of love story mixed in.