Certain Women by Madeleine L’Engle

David Wheaton is on his death bed.  From his boat in the Pacific Ocean, he shares his life memories – hopes and regrets with his daughter Emma who has come to be with him these last days.  Having had 9 wives and eleven children, David has had quite a life.  As an actor, there is one role he had always hoped to play and now regrets deeply he never had the chance to do so – and that was the role of King David. Emma’s husband had struggled writing a play for David Wheaton to create the much coveted role for him.

While Emma works to gather the family for David’s final moments on earth,as readers we see the parallels between the two David’s – in some cases even hitting a little close to home for the Wheaton family.

Luke 24:22:  Certain women made us astonished

I read this book as our first read of 2011 with the Faith N Fiction group.   Madelaine L’ Engle is most known for her work with children’s books, probably mostly known for writing A Wrinkle In Time (a book I have never read).

I thought this would be a book I could read within a couple of days and be done in plenty of time for our discussion that started in early February.  This turned out not to be the case.   I spent much time getting to know the characters as tends to happen for me when a book is loaded with characters such as this.  I back track and try to capture who each person is as they are introduced.  That fact, as well as just a busy time of life caused me to pop in late to the discuss points of what was an interesting read.

A theme that was brought up that I personally enjoyed was how as David recalls his marriages (all eight of them!) as they often reflected the life and wives of the Biblical David.  You could almost hear the whispers of the Biblical David’s wives coming from between the lines.  Written with a witty and lyrical pen, I found L’Engle’s writing to be just what I would have expected from a family such as David’s who was deeply embedded in the arts of acting, producing, and such.

If anything, I found, as well as a few in our group discussion that the parallels between the two David’s became a bit much.  Not so much the parallel itself, but the fact that the author had a habit of pointing out that this was a parallel with things like “…. much like the David of the Bible….” I prefer to figure these things out for myself more than feeling like I am led by the hand through a read.

Another part of our group discussion was a heavier topic in the book that I do not wish to give away but unfortunately is a topic that is all to real for many of us.  Some felt it was tiring to constantly see this come up, while other found it as I mentioned here – something that is real.  (Hope I was not too cryptic here but trying  hard not to give anything away.) 😀

A well-rounded read that covered many topics.   David has really had the life and Certain Women, being told in a reflective manner is a brilliant way to write this particular story.

I found the book descriptive and while more work to read than I had planned for, I am glad I had the opportunity to read and discuss this book.

For me personally I recall the part where David (Wheaton) reflects on how badly he has screwed it all up and how he wishes he could change the way he handled many things in his life.  David in The Bible also lived with much regret, and this reminds me of how God used those of us who are broke, damaged, vessels and fills us up.  A reminder, that we all are human – we are going to screw this thing up, and God will still be able to use is if we only let Him.

Please stop by and see what the other Faith N Fiction Participants have to say:

Amy at My Friend Amy

Hannah at Wordlily

Heather at Book Addiction

Carrie at Books and Movie

Julie at Book Hooked Blog

Jennifer at Crazy for Books

Ronnica at Ignorant Historian

Nicole at Linus’s Blanket

Thomas at My Random Thoughts

Liz at Roving Reads

Sherry at Semicolon

Florinda at The 3 R’s Blog

Tina at Tina’s Book Reviews

Brooks at Victorious Cafe

I purchased my book from Amazon

23 thoughts on “Certain Women by Madeleine L’Engle

  1. It is hard to think of how many things we will regret by the time we die, isn’t it? I mean, even if we live as well as we can, we will still mess up and sin and hurt others. Thank God for forgiveness!

    (Also, my name isn’t in your list of participants. 🙂 I accidentally skipped Hannah in my list! LOL)

  2. You haven’t read the Wrinkle in Time books?!? *gasp*

    I’ve been looking forward to your review of this book because I (obviously) adore the Wrinkle in Time series, and have enjoyed some of L’engle’s poetry as well. This sounds like an iffy read, and a much too heavy-handed allegory, however.

  3. I actually didn’t mind having the parallels pointed out, but I’m less Biblically literate than some members of the group and needed the help :-). I thought that was generally handled pretty well.

  4. Lovely thoughts…I liked how you ended it with how we will all make mistakes. So true…even when we try to be perfect, we fail sometimes and God uses imperfect people…:D

    1. For some reason that stuck with me Tina…. as abrupt as David was and seemed to move on form one thing to the other (women among other things)…. he did have regrets….

      it made me think of how often we go from one thing tot he next looking for searching for…. what? I am not even sure we realize we are doing it… and in the end… well…. 🙂

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