Meg Murry’s little brother Calvin isn’t well. Meg’s mother, an important biologist, believes his mitochondria might be ill, but doesn’t know how to fix it. Charles is also being bullied at school because he doesn’t fit in. Meg is frustrated with her lack of ability to help Charles on either front, even thought Charles knows himself that he must learn to adapt. Then Charles begins to see things. He tells Meg he’s seen a dragon in the garden, which she at first does not believe, but when they find one of it’s feathers, Meg begins to see that another fight between good and evil is inevitable. Once again, Meg must find the will to grow and become wiser while committing herself to fighting the darkness which is beginning to surround and overtake the earth.
This was another of my favourites as a child. I loved all of the Wrinkle in Time books back then, which is why I’ve got back to them in my old age I suppose. I have to admit that I was a little disappointed with the character growth in this one. As with A Wrinkle in Time, the focus is on Meg’s shortcomings and although she should have learned quite a bit in the first book, she seems to be right back where she started in this one. I would have expected more of her. However, that’s my opinion when reading it as an adult. As a child I remember having much more understanding for Meg and thinking she was thoroughly justified in her self-doubts and obstinacy.
The references to Christianity were less noticeable in this second book, but the fight between good and evil was still there in full force. The children must face, and fight, things they don’t understand and resist the urge to remain stagnate while the world goes on without them. It’s a good metaphor for life, either Christian or non- Christian. There will always be things we must choose to do or not to do even if we don’t fully understand them. The most difficult thing is to learn to chose the right thing despite that lack of understanding and the desire to do what’s easy. L’Engle does a good job at presenting this to children in a way they can understand.
A Wind in the Door is an excellent book I can recommend to anyone with children. 5 out of 5.