An Acceptable Time by Madeleine L’Engle
You know how I said we weren’t done with Zachary Grey? Yeah, we’re not done with Zachary Grey. WHY DOES MADELEINE L’ENGLE RETURN TO HIM? Was her readership in desperate need of a “bad boy” to swoon over and so she kept him in her books? Did she genuinely love him and keep him in her books? Why is he here? Constantly? Alas, these are the questions that will continue to plague me after I’ve finished reading.
An Acceptable Time is placed in the Time books, at least the set that I own, but that’s not really accurate. It’s really more fitting in the O’Keefe family books, since Polly is the protagonist and the novel is set in her adolescent timeline. After the Max-Renny-Zachary drama in A House Like a Lotus, the O’Keefes (who know only about the Max portion, and MORE’S THE PITY, because Renny’s ass deserves to be beaten for what he did) send her to the Drs. Murry for a season of R&R. Let’s just say that Dr. Mrs. Murry is still as much of a badass as when we first saw her. One crisp afternoon, Polly sees a young woman who is dressed very differently, and then she sees a young man and a dog walking through the field. This leads to the discovery of an open time portal, which is situated right by the Murrys’ pool. Polly, and of course young Zachary, get sucked into this portal, and they find themselves caught up in a battle between two neighboring nations, one of which believes in human sacrifice. Polly must rely on friendship and love to get herself back home.
I just don’t get why Zachary gets a free pass EVERY TIME. Seriously, he’s a selfish asshole who thinks of no one but himself. I realize that L’Engle, in this book at least, is making the point that Jesus sacrificed himself for everyone, and that includes the Zacharys of the world, but it doesn’t make the aggravation any less real. But I think that’s kind of the point. It’s easy and fun to be a Christian when other people are just.like.you, but when they’re terrible and selfish and horrible? UGH. That’s when you have to put that real, godly love to the test. [And if Zachary wasn’t such a useless douchecanoe in the other books without any such purpose as expressed here, maybe that’s why he functions in this book? But again, the other books do not have this clear indication, so I don’t know]