Meet the Austins (Austin Family #1)

Meet the Austins (Austin Family #1)
Age Range
12+
Release Date
March 15, 1981
ISBN
044095777X
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A revised edition, including one section of the manuscript that was omitted in the original publication. Vicky Austin and her siblings must adjust to the presence of a new member of the household-Maggie Hamilton, who is orphaned when her father is killed in a plane crash. Maggie is at first petulant and spoiled, but gradually opens her heart to the Austins to become one of the family.

User reviews

2 reviews
Overall rating
 
4.3
Plot
 
4.0(2)
Characters
 
5.0(1)
Writing Style
 
4.0(1)
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Favorite Austin Book!
Overall rating
 
4.3
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Here’s the funny thing about Meet the Austins. When I read it in elementary school, I found the pace slow and so almost never discovered Madeleine L’Engle. I reread Meet the Austins only after I fell for Madeleine L’Engle’s other books. Yet now upon rereading the Austin books, Meet the Austins is by far my favorite because of its rich thematic depth. The rest of the world almost never discovered Meet the Austins either, given that it was rejected by publishers for two years. Why? Because Madeleine L’Engle dared to write about the then-taboo subject of death. In first chapter, called “The Telephone Call,” the Austins receive a call from their close friend Elena that changes their lives. Her husband Hal had an accident with his plane. Both he and his co-pilot were killed instantly. The co-pilot had a little girl, who doesn’t have a mother. Guess who ultimately takes her in? As such, Meet the Austins is partly about grief. If you think that makes for a depressing book, take comfort: It's more about understanding life itself. Vicky's brother John most aptly puts it this way: “I don’t understand about anything. I don't understand about people dying, and I don't understand about families, about people being as close as we are, and then everyone growing up….” Meet the Austins is about even more, in that it’s also about family. Maggy rarely saw either of her parents, but was regularly left with nurses and governesses. In contrast, the Austins are a close-knit nuclear family with loving parents who take their time to talk with their children about the confusing events unfolding around them, but at the same time make clear that certain actions such as playing in their father’s office are wrong and therefore have consequences. Over the years, I’ve also grown to appreciate how subtly Madeleine L’Engle slipped in positive references to God; something that still remains unusual for a book not published in the religious market. There are so many other compliments I could bestow on Meet the Austins. Read it!
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A Family Tale
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4.0
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4.0
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0.0
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0.0
Reader reviewed by Bookworm9

A departure from the sci-fi/ fantasy that many L'Engle fans are used to, "Meet the Austins" focuses on an average country family seen through the eyes of second-oldest Vicky. When orphaned Maggy-- a distantly related stranger-- comes to live with them, 12 year old Vicky is struck by how this ten year old brat can disrupt the entire household. The story mainly centers around the family dynamics of the 4 Austin kids, their parents, and Vicky, but its dealt with in the typical thought-provoking L'Engle-esque way. Fans of the Austins should know that there are several sequels.
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