A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Published by Yearling Books on March 15th 1973
Series: A Wrinkle in Time Quintet #1
Genres: Children's, Classics, Fantasy, Fiction, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Length: 211 pages Source: Library Sale
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It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.
"Wild nights are my glory," the unearthly stranger told them. "I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me be on my way. Speaking of way, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract".
Meg's father had been experimenting with this fifth dimension of time travel when he mysteriously disappeared. Now the time has come for Meg, her friend Calvin, and Charles Wallace to rescue him. But can they outwit the forces of evil they will encounter on their heart-stopping journey through space?
Of all the books I’ve read across my twenty-eight years, the opening of A Wrinkle in Time is still among my favorites. An old, dusty attic. A howling windstorm outside. A girl lying in bed, listening to the weather, terrified. And angry that she is so afraid.
This is Meg Murray, one of the original YA heroines.
I want to try a bit of a different review style with this book. One of my goals this year is to improve my reviews so they flow better. I’m going to try a bulleted review… let me know if this reads better than my usual reviews!
1. I really enjoy the main character in this one. Meg is delightfully flawed in a world of heroines with no faults beyond their own stubbornness (which always turns out to be a strength in the end). She is relatable even 50+ years after she was first written and it’s lovely.
2. The combination of the three children that really make this book delightful. Calvin, Charles Wallace, and Meg have an amazing rapport. They support one another and urge each other to be the best version of themselves. There need to be more supportive siblings and friends like this in YA and Children’s Lit.
3. When I first read this book as a youngling, I desperately wanted to visit Uriel, and to meet Aunt Beast. As an adult, I can appreciate the astonishing world-building. A Wrinkle in Time takes place across five planets, and each of them are stunning and unique. It’s the sort of thing that makes the reader consider the possibilities of a greater universe and the Star Trek fan in me is delighted.
4. Unfortunately, as with anything written so long ago, parts of it can feel a bit dated. While Meg and everything off-Earth is delightful, there are definitely aspects of family dynamics and social perceptions that are not acceptable in our modern world. These things aren’t offensive, not quite, but they do make you pause and that’s worth mentioning.
5. I do want to talk a bit about Camazotz because… talk about a creepy dystopian world. The synchronicity of its people and the heavily enforced regulations scream cruel dictatorship at every turn. Then, of course, there is IT, which is a force of IT’s own. As a villain, IT and the Darkness are fascinating and intangible. L’Engle has chosen *evil* as a concept as her villain, and even though this is a children’s book, the shadow over the world are a bit chilling.
6. I found myself having to focus hard while I read this, not because it was boring, but because the pacing is so fast. It’s the one fault that bothers me most – there is time for explaining scientific concepts, but not to really drink in the worlds. I feel somewhat cheated of the experience.
7. The science is fascinating and flawless. A Wrinkle in Time presents its ideas in the same vein as classics by Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. The explanation of tessering is perfect, both as a curious child and a critical adult. It’s so important that a science fiction novel is upheld by science… and this one is. Yes!
8. I have the commemorative edition from 1997. I’ve had it for as long as I can remember. I love this cover. It suits the story perfectly.
I do believe that this book is subjective – while I like it a lot, I can see how others would not enjoy it. It’s a bit odd at times, and like I said, dated in some ways. But the worlds and the underlying story are wonderful. And, really? Meg Murray may be the original Kickass YA Heroine. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys whimsy and philosophy of good verses evil, and anyone who is planning to see the movie in March.
A Wrinkle in Time stays on my shelf
Besides being a classic, besides the fact that this still pulls in 4 stars as I get older and so many years after publication, A Wrinkle In Time is a childhood favorite of mine. There are a handful of these on my shelves: books I got in elementary school that I will probably never part with. So unless it was truly terrible, A Wrinkle in Time was always destined to be a keeper for me.
All that said, I think that A Wrinkle in Time is the type of book that needs to be read over and over again, because it runs at such a quick pace. It’s difficult to gather all the pieces in a first read through. Only through repetition does this book particularly shine.