A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Title:  A Wrinkle In Time

Author:  Madeleine L’Engle

Paperback:  247 pages

Publisher:  Square Fish

Publish Date:  2007

ISBN:  9780312367541

Miscellaneous:  Originally published in 1962 (after 26 rejection letters, I might add), A Wrinkle in Time is the first book in The Wrinkle in Time Quintet book series.

Meg’s eyes ached from the strain of looking and seeing nothing.  Then, above the clouds which encircled the mountain, she seemed to see a shadow, a faint think of darkness so far off that she was scarcely sure she was really seeing it…  It was a shadow, nothing but a shadow.  It was not even as tangible as a cloud.  Was it cast by something?  Or was it a Thing in itself?

The sky darkened.  The gold left the light and they were surrounded by blue, blue deepening until where there had been nothing but the evening sky there was now a faint pulse of star, and then another and another and another.  There were more stars than Meg had ever seen before.

“The atmosphere is so thin here,” Mrs Whatsit said as though in answer to her unasked question, “that it does not obscure your vision as it would at home.  Now look.  Look straight ahead.”

Meg looked.  The dark shadow was still there.  It had not lessened or dispersed with the coming of night.  And where the shadow was the stars were not visible.

What could there be about a shadow that was so terrible that she knew that there had never been before or ever would be again, anything that would chill her with a fear that was beyond shuddering, beyond crying or screaming, beyond the possibility of comfort?

A Wrinkle in Timeby Madeleine L’Engle, pages 81-82

I have started reading and put down without finishing A Wrinkle in Timeby Madeleine L’Engle three or more times in my life.  It is one of those few books that I have felt like I’m suppose to read it, or that I should read it, but have never been able to finish.  I have long felt like I couldn’t let the book beat me, even going so far as to watch the movie in hopes of encouraging myself.  And now, I can finally say that, after first picking it up nearly 25 years ago in fifth grade, I have read A Wrinkle in Time.

I’ve always said that I didn’t know why I couldn’t get into this book, and this time around I figured out what it is that grates my nerves about it.  MEG.  Meg is whiny, and mopey, and self-deprecating.  She’s horrid, to be quite honest, and every time she spoke I rolled my eyes so hard they nearly fell out.  “Wah Wah Wah… nobody likes me.  I’m dumb.  I’m ugly.  Blah, blah, blah.”  BUT, she does change, thank GAWD!  In fact, as the book neared it’s end, her attitude and behaviour is explained.

“I’m sorry… I wanted you to do it all for me.  I wanted everything to be all easy and simple….  So I tried to pretend that it was all your fault… because I was scared, and I didn’t want to have to do anything myself” -page 220

Beginning with a groaner of a first line, “It was a dark and stormy night…”  A Wrinkle in Timespins a tale that crosses the universe and even dimensions.  Young Charles Wallace is different from other people, he understands the world around him in a unique way.  He is very protective of his sister Meg, whom he sees as needing him.  Meg is a sulky teen girl going through an ugly duckling phase, who prefers math and science to anything having to do with the world of words.  The two of them plus Calvin, a local sports hero and relates to the world around him in a similar way to Charles Wallace, travel across the universe by tessering, something akin to a wormhole.  They are on a mission to save Charles and Meg’s father from IT, the controlling entity on Camazotz, a planet which has submitted to the darkness.  To accomplish this task, they will all learn much about themselves, their talents and faults, and ultimately about love, the only force capable of conquering evil.

I really wish I had stuck with this story when I first started it.  I think I would have truly appreciated it had I pushed through the first fourth of the book.  As it is, I still enjoyed it, and want to read A Wind in the Door, the next book in the Quintet.  I was surprised by L’Engle’s Christian references.  If people are shocked and wish to challenge Narnian books on the basis of their religious overtones, then these same folk would have apoplectic fits when reading actual passages from the Bible in A Wrinkle in Time.

The fact that the book is so overtly Christian, though Buddha and Gandhi are also given credit as “lights” in the fight against the darkness, is even more stimulating when you take into consideration that the story takes Einstein’s theories about time and gravity as inspiration AND makes a further bold step (mind, this book was FIRST published in 1962, before civil rights and ERA) by making the hero and saviour a female.  The story itself is interesting, if not a bit simple, but the context surrounding it and the complex science it incorporates make A Wrinkle in Time an impressive book and a literary classic.

A Wrinkle in Timeby Madeleine L’Engle incorporates science and religion in a harmonious way and said that guys aren’t the only heroes, is math and science just for men.  For all that the story is and what the book represents, I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The following video is a clear and concise mathematical explanation of a tesseract. It incorporates lines from the book, as well.

Oww… OW! My brain hurts!!!

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7 Responses

  1. I’m glad you finished A Wrinkle in Time! And your reaction is so very different from mine–even as a kid I loved Meg *because* she was so beligerent. She goes through a lot, and I don’t think her story would have been all that effective if she hadn’t been such a sulky little brat. Plus, I was totally that weird kid when I was growing up, too.

    I also like that in all of her writing L’engle treats her readers like they’re smart enough to figure things out for themselves. She trusts the reader to eventually figure out enough about what she’s trying to get at to not belabor the explanation.

    Oh yeah, and she’s definitely a Christian. Her nonfiction is pretty explicit about that. But I think her writing embodies the absolute best sense of what it means to be Christian.

    To close this rambling comment, House Like a Lotus and A Ring of Endless Light are both excellent books. The former is about Meg and Calvin’s daughter Polly, who goes through a similar growing up process, and the latter explores a teenager’s contemplation of death. They’re both rather lighter on the supernatural stuff, but they’re both brilliant and beautiful.

    LOL I am such a fangirl. I promise I’m done now. 🙂

  2. My son loves this book, but I’ve never read it. Great review.

  3. Loved this as a kid and I just bought a new copy a while back. I really want to read it again.

  4. I’m actually listening to this book at the moment – I haven’t read it since childhood. I remember A Wind in the Door not being super-fantastic, but A Swiftly Tilting Planet, the third book in the series, is probably one of my top five favorite books of my childhood, if not of all time.

  5. I’m with Shannon – I loved Meg for her irreverence. I have to confess I’m not a big fan of Narnia (full disclosure: I’m not a Christian myself, but there were things I had much bigger problems with than the allegory side of it), but this I really loved. And I really enjoyed reading your review 🙂

  6. I read “A Wrinkle In Time” in school in a reading group and it was awesom! My reading group teacher got the whole series and we are going around with the books and turns reading it.

  7. I can’t wait to read the WHOLE series!!!! XD 🙂

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