Sunday, 13 June 2010

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Meg and her brother Charles are outsiders. Their parents are brilliant and their twin brothers normal, but Meg is a chronic underachiever and Charles, who is really a genius and empathetic to boot, is considered backwards because he didn’t develop speech until well after he should have. They just don’t seem to fit into their surroundings. Topping off their troubles is the mysterious disappearance of their father, whom the town assumes has run off with a younger woman, when in reality, he works for a top secret, scientific branch of the government and disappeared on duty. Then Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which and Mrs. Whatsit appear on the scene just after Meg meets Calvin, a popular boy from school who is a couple of grades ahead of her. Their little group seems to be the necessary constellation and the time has come for them to go and rescue their father from a far off world the children know nothing about. Their guides are the three women. They give the children a quick lesson in wrinkling time as a method of space travel and they are off in search of their father.

When you read a book at the age of 10 and pretty much remember the whole thing 30 years later, you know that book has got to be good. A Wrinkle in Time very much belongs in this category.

I recently picked up a new set of the series, my old set probably having been given away by my parents after I left the house, because I wanted to see if I could remember them and if they were still as good as they were when I was a child. Your perspective changes as you grow up and I thought maybe I’d find them silly, but I didn’t. Yes, they do seem a bit more one dimensional and the characters flatter than they did at the age of ten, but then L’engle wasn’t writing them for adults. As a kid I loved Meg and Calvin and Charles and felt I could relate to them. I can still see how this was, even though I now have a different perspective and can see their faults more clearly. I was also a bit shocked to realize that there’s quite a religious/Christian element to the books. That didn’t register with me back then, even though I did recognize the good vs. evil element. That might be because my younger self had more belief in Religion and took the references for granted. It might also be because I read the stories for the plot and didn’t spend to much time analysing them (maybe no time would be more exact). Even today, I feel that L’Engle put more weight on good vs. evil as opposed to making the books into a religious advertisement, so to speak. I thought that was well done.

Still, all these years later, it was a good read and I loved reading it again. It's not really old enough to be a classic, but I think it should be in a little classic category all by itself anyway, so I'm counting it towards the challenge. How you could give A Wrinkle in Time less than 5 out of 5 is beyond me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This was one of my all-time favorite series when I was younger as well, especially A Wrinkle in Time.