Camilla Dickinson, also published as Camilla (ISBN 0-440-01020-9), is a 1951 novel by Madeleine L'Engle. Camilla Dickinson, a fifteen-year-old New Yorker, narrates an important approximately three-week period of her life in November 1950.
Camilla Dickinson is fifteen, wants nothing more than to become an astronomer, and is facing significant problems at home. Her mother, Rose, has begun an affair with a man named Jacques. Her mother begs Camilla to keep it a secret, while Camilla's father, Rafferty, asks her to be honest and tell him the truth. Camilla is torn between her loyalty to both parents and begins to realize they are very imperfect people.
To cope with the struggle, Camilla befriends Frank Rowan, her best friend Luisa's older brother. He is understanding of her problems and assists her in accepting her parents flaws. Frank encourages Camilla to define herself, not by her family, but to define herself as who she truly is. The pair share ideas on life, religion and philosophy and begin to form a romantic attachment. Frank's and Luisa's parents fight constantly, and both teenagers are wholly aware that it will most likely end in divorce. The parallels to the Rowans' bad marriage and that of Camilla's parents is a large component of Camilla and Luisa's friendship. Luisa wants to be a psychiatrist when she is an adult, and spends part of the book psychoanalyzing Camilla. Most of this book centers around the idea of growing up and learning how to be deal with hard things. Towards the end of the book, right as Camilla is getting comfortable with the way things are, everything changes again. Frank and Luisa's parents break up, and Frank is forced to suddenly move away with his father. Camilla's parents decide to work on their marriage and go on a European Vacation together,sending Camilla to boarding school while they're gone. While Camilla is heartbroken by the loss of her closest relationships, she uses the inner strength she has gained in the past weeks to deal with the changes in her life.
Camilla Dickinson- The fifteen-year-old narrator.
Rose Dickinson- Camilla's mother, who is having an affair. She is very beautiful but weak, foolish and needy.
Rafferty Dickinson- Camilla's father. He is an architect, serious and cold. But in many ways, he is also weak because he is unable to leave Rose, no matter what she does.
Luisa Rowan- Camilla's best friend. Luisa is strong-willed and very possessive, especially when is comes to Camilla. Her parents are also face serious marital issues.
Frank Rowan- Luisa's older brother who has recently returned from boarding school. He is very philosophical and passionate but is also troubled by his own problems.
Jacques- Rose's lover. He seems very intelligent but also manipulative.
Pompilia Riccoli- Frank's girlfriend.
All of these characters, except for Jacques, appear in the sequel, A Live Coal in the Sea.
An adaptation of the novel that was made into a film written and directed by Cornelia Moore. The drama stars Adelaide Clemens as Camilla Dickinson alongside Gregg Sulkin as Frank Rowan. Cary Elwes and Samantha Mathis as Raferty and Rose Dickinson. Rachel Grate as Pompilia Riccoli, Colby Minifie as Luisa Rowan, Margaret Colin as Mona Rowan, Robert Picardo as Mr. Stephanowski, Salvator Xuereb as Jacques Nissen, and Lenny von Dohlen as Bill Rowan. The project began filming in Spokane, Washington in mid-November 2010.
The official movie site is: camilladickinson.com.
- Kit, Borys (9 November 2010). "EXCLUSIVE: Four Actors Board Madeleine L'Engle Adaptation". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 15 November 2010.
- "Camilla Dickinson". Seattle International Film Festival. Retrieved 2012-05-25.