Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Men of L'Engle #9: Adam Eddington

Let's just let Ms. L. introduce Adam, shall we?
"Adam Eddington, sixteen, going on seventeen, out of high school and set for Berkeley in the winter.... He had always, with a degree of arrogance, considered himself sophisticated because he had grown up in New York, because his friendships cut across racial and economic barriers, because he could cope with the subway and shuttle at rush hours, because the island of Manhattan (he thought) held no surprises for him."
This is the Adam we first meet in The Arm of the Starfish, heading off to get himself involved in far more international intrigue than usually accompanies a summer internship.

Which is actually the first of two times he ends up in the midst of completely unrelated international intrigues. By accident. The kid has a talent for it, even if he doesn't seem to have learned much from the first go-round.

But we're willing to overlook that, generally, because he's pretty awesome otherwise. Also he loves Vicky, and who reads the Austin books without identifying at least a little with her?

As far as I'm concerned, though, the single most endearing thing about Adam is one very subtle line in A Ring of Endless Light: "his trunks were zebra-striped." L'Engle just lets it fall, in the midst of Vicky's thoughts about the rest of his appearance (conclusion: not bad), and she expects the reader to know that the only reason zebra-striped swimming trunks matter is because they are the ones Joshua used.

Leading characteristics:
  • Chauvinist. Despite the fact that he's the awesome love interest (and he speaks Spanish), I'm not going to give him a pass on this one. It's particularly egregious in The Arm of the Starfish, where he lets himself get into all sorts of trouble with Kali because "what she was saying was only a soprano twittering in his ears. Most girls' conversation was, in his opinion."
  • Scientific. A point he makes over and over. See pull quotes.
  • Trustworthy. The first adjective Vicky applies to him, and we're never given any reason to doubt it.
  • Easygoing. Maybe that's not the word I'm looking for -- how would you describe someone who's totally comfortable joining in family singalongs with people he's only just met?
Pull quotes:
  • "I'm a scientist, not a poet. Even when I was a kid I read Scientific American, not fairy tales."
  • "You can't hindsight that way. When something happens, it happens, and you have to accept it and go on from there."
  • "I think that places hold atmospheres, too."


CLM said...

I like Vicky but didn't Poly see him first?

Sarah Rettger said...

Pol(l)y did, it's true, but her relationship with Adam was far more fraternal (and therefore less interesting for me to write about, since we all know how crush-worthy Adam is! :)

The Mom said...

The Men of L'Engle, brilliant idea! So much fun -who's next????

Sarah Rettger said...

My plan was to make Adam the last one, but I'm open to suggestions!

No guarantees, though -- I'd intended to write about Canon Tallis too, but just couldn't figure out what to say about him.

grrlpup said...

Aww, I never realized about the swim trunks. :)

Sarah Rettger said...

Then I'm very glad I could point it out! It's one of those little details that makes related-but-not-series books work.

Arden said...

Adam was also a family man at heart-- remember his devotion to his great-aunt Serena? (Which also could help explain his attachment to the Austins.) He was also definitely my biggest L'Engle crush (sorry Calvin!).

Where do you think Adam is now? I always hoped the ending of Troubling a Star hinted that he & Vicky ended up together, & was upset as a child that A Severed Wasp revealed who Suzy married but not Vicky.

Sarah Rettger said...

That's such a great way of putting it, Arden. I'd meant to include something about Aunt Serena, but I couldn't quite figure out what I wanted to say.

Yup, definitely Adam and Vicky together, maybe based out of Woods Hole. That way she can hang with all the artsy people on the Cape.

Shoneez said...

Just stumbled onto your blog and I'm loving it. Oh Adam Eddington.. *swoon*

I'm STILL terribly disappointed that I never found out if Adam and Vicky ended up together. How cruel, Madeleine...

I never got into the adult books as a child (obviously, I guess) should I go back and read them now as an adult? Hmm

Sarah Rettger said...

Might be worth a try. I've only read a few of the adult fic books, and those several years ago. If you try them, let us know what you think!