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Camilla by Madeleine L'Engle
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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Who would believe I would like and read a teenage love story from the girl's POV? Yet here it is, and I believe the reason I enjoyed it so much is the artistic crafting of Ms. L-Engle. The whole story set in New York City didn't hurt, either, as I knew most of the place names the players lattended. If I were a teenage girl, I'd probably give it the full five stars. Hee. Seriously, it just missed becasue of a slight drag effect that carried through the whole story. ( )
  andyray | Sep 18, 2009 |
One review on the cover compares this book to "Catcher in the Rye". That holds up only if you consider that both books are about privileged, inexperienced, horny teenagers who are full of their own specialness. You, as a reader, are subjected to the realistically meandering philosophicalisms of a young girl. Maybe if I had read it as a teenager . . .

The book does have one strength: none of the supporting characters are as one-dimensional as the protagonist. None of them are particularly likeable, but at least they aren't cliches. ( )
  epivet | May 11, 2009 |
My favorite book from my early teen years, this one will always have a special place in my heart. Many years after reading (and re-reading and re-reading) this, I picked up the sequel ("A Live Coal in the Sea") and found that Camilla had not had the life I had wanted for her at all. Yet the life that she did have was one of love and pain and challenge, and the things that seemed so important at 15 were often not important at all to the woman at 80. It is the way that many lives truly are, and L'Engle is a master at letting her characters go where they will, much closer to real life than the intricate plotting and happy endings found elsewhere.
  genreluctant | May 4, 2009 |
I love Madeleine L'Engle. Let me start by putting that out there. I'm sure there are people who don't like her style of writing, or the overt spiritual questions (and occasionally pat answers) in her novels. But I've always dived into her books the way I might into a good conversation with a kindred spirit. So yes, I enjoyed Camilla, my latest foray into her writing. That said, it wasn't anywhere near my favorite L'Engle book.
Camilla is much more 'real' than much of L'Engle's Young Adult fiction, which is somewhere in the science fiction/fantasy/metaphysical realm (think A Wrinkle in Time or A Swiftly Tilting Planet.) But, although Camilla's genre was more like L'Engle's works for adults, this book lacked the depth and the rich language that make me cherish books like The Crosswicks Journal. It was sweet and familiar: the bitter disappointment of first realizing people you want to look up to aren't perfect, the frustration of realizing you can't make the world alright, the giddy happiness of a first crush. But unless you happen to be a 15- or 16-year old girl yourself, you know – as Camilla doesn't – that she's still got so much to learn. Although I could recognize and empathize with Camilla's coming of age, I found myself wondering if a meeting with Camilla 10 years later might not be more intellectually satisfying.
Camilla's questions about the existence of God are what I'd expect from a 15-year old in her position, but they're ultimately neither satisfying nor very insightful. The recurring theme that being truly alive is the most important thing one can do – that to stop caring is a form of spiritual death – is phrased as a sort of adolescent rebellion. Where is the subtlety and grace with which L'Engle typically explores these subjects? Ultimately, I have to suggest passing on this book, and reading (or re-reading) one of her other works. Luckily, she was prolific enough that that's not hard to do. ( )
  monarchi | Jul 7, 2008 |
Camilla is the story of Camilla Dickinson, a 15 year old from a wealthy New York City family. She is an only child and has lived a relatively sheltered life until one day she comes home to find her beautiful and fragile mother kissing a man who isn't her strong and silent father. Camilla is great because she keeps almost everything inside (I can relate) and doesn't talk about how all this makes her feel, even to her best friend Luisa whose parents often have screaming matches that wake up the neighbors, drink too much, and break things. Instead Camilla finds herself falling into a first romance with Luisa's older brother, Frank, and that little bit of distance is enough to pull her away from her parents and make her see herself as an individual, her parents as human, and her friends as fallible.

There are the kinds of young-romance / coming-of-age plot points that you might expect in this kind of novel, but L'Engle handles them all in such a unique, real, and dark way that this book is miles away from the usual young adult fare. It treats the reader like they are smart and grown up enough to read about war, death, drinking problems, suicide, amputation, depression, unhappy endings, and failed love. There are light and happy points too, and L'Engle's description of New York City is truly wonderful.

[full review here: http://spacebeer.blogspot.com/2008/06/camilla-1951.html ] ( )
  kristykay22 | Jun 30, 2008 |
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To Hugh Franklin
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I knew as soon as I got home on Wednesday that Jacques was there with my mother.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Originally published as Camilla Dickinson in 1951. Republished as Camilla in 1965.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0440911710, Paperback)

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?

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:37:21 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Fifteen-year-old Camilla gains new maturity through her relationship with her best friend's brother and the growing realization that her parents are fallible individuals.

» see all 2 descriptions

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