Sunday, May 27, 2018

Bookish Thoughts: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

It was a dark and stormy night. ~ Opening of A Wrinkle in Time 

A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet #1) by Madeleine L'Engle
Yearling Books, 1962
Science Fiction (Children's); 211 pgs
Goodreads Summary:
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?

A Wrinkle in Time is one of my husband’s favorite books from his childhood. He has two copies of the book, and he will not part with either one. I can’t blame him as I have a hard time letting go of my favorite books too. I was in elementary school when I first read it (and that was a very long time ago). I confess I do not really remember it. I remember The Wind in the Door more. That one was a favorite. I mostly wanted to reread A Wrinkle in Time because of the movie based on the book.

I kind of wish I was reading the novel to my daughter instead of just to myself (I can always go back and read it to her, of course) because it seems like the perfect story for someone her age. The concepts of good and evil, believing in oneself, of loss and discovery, and of dealing with one’s emotions, including anger and hope are all presented in a way a school-aged child can easily grasp. There are scary moments, but not overly so, and the characters, especially the three Mrs. are bigger than life. There’s magic and monsters; and Meg, Calvin and Charles Wallace are very easy to relate to and cheer on. A Wrinkle in Time is a combination of funny, charming and thoughtful. I admit to being surprised at how obvious the religious overtones were, however. I don’t remember that at all about the series.

All in all though, I was a bit let down by the novel, but I think it had more to do with my own expectations of books as an adult versus those meant for a much younger crowd. I kept hoping for more . . . something. I am having trouble putting my thoughts into words, I am afraid. Still, this is a book I think my daughter would enjoy very much.

I had heard beforehand that the movie was quite a bit different from the book. My entire family enjoyed the film. There were the expected changes, in part to fit a larger and more modern audience. The movie is beautiful from a cinematic perspective, from the sets to the costumes to the CGI. It was very well done. I thought it followed the overall story of the movie well enough—up to a point. Some of the characters come across differently, particularly the mother and the father of Meg. Calvin’s backstory. Even Charles Wallace’s backstory. The movie has a few holes. But that may just be my perspective having recently read the book (when don’t I feel this way about a movie based on a book I have read?). And while I enjoyed it, this isn’t a movie that stands out for me or makes my “watch again and again” list (only if my daughter makes me).

To learn more about Madeleine L'Engle and her work, please visit the author's website

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  1. I read this as a child and remember liking it but it wasn't a favorite of mine.

  2. You know, this is a book that I've not ever read. Not sure how I missed it, but still I did. Probably won't read it now. Might see the movie. Thanks for telling us about your experience with it, Wendy. Sounds like it would be a good one for you and Mouse to share.

  3. I haven't seen the movie but I remember really enjoying the books! Then again I read it while I was still in school (probably early teens) which is definitely the target audience. I hope Mouse gets a chance to read it soon!

  4. Sometimes a book read in childhood lives up to a rereading as an adult, but not always. That doesn't change the feeling of initial love for the book, though. I have never read A Wrinkle in Time despite it's long reputation!

  5. I have never read this. When my great niece gets a little older, I will have to read it to her.

  6. My 5th grade teacher read this book to us and I loved it then, and have loved it ever since. so much so I couldn't make myself go see the movie. It just didn't look like the book I'd pictured in my head for so many years. :)

  7. I used to re-read the series every now and then- but it's been so long I wonder if another attempt would be a disappointment. I saw the trailer in theater and had no desire to see the movie because it seemed so different from my own memories of the book, I'll stick with that. But I'm glad it sounds like it was well done and might carry this story along to modern generation of kids who may not be as interested in actually reading it- it has so many good messages if I recall.

  8. I remember this being a favorite of my childhood too. One of these days I would love to watch the film version.

  9. I love Wrinkle in Time, but like you I read Wind in the Door, and the others, and liked them even more. :)

  10. I loved the book as a kid which was a little weird as this is very much a fantasy book and I was (I know you'll be shocked) a mystery fan. I don't think I've ever read any more of the series but I'd really like to explore it more. I'm glad you enjoyed the movie even if it wasn't a favorite. I'd like to watch it at some point.

  11. I know EXACTLY what you mean! About the 'something'. It's an uncomplicated book. But I think I must be a child inside - cause I know what I mean, and I still loved the book incredibly, and for me, the simplicity worked. And even the plot holes. I have also read the second one, liked it too! I love the universe L'Engle builds - one built on love, a trusting world. One with rules. I sometimes wish ours was actually like that.

    I haven't seen the movie yet though! I didn't know it was out already. I should totally watch.

  12. Thanks for your thoughtful comments! I am glad I re-familiarized myself with this book. I haven't decided if I will continue with re-reading the series. Maybe. :-)

  13. I think I've read this book six times. Five times as a child and once as an adult. I got it from the library to read with my son when he was seven and he didn't care for it enough to read any of the other books, and I was heart broken because the trilogy was on my all-time favorites list. However, it did lead me to find out about all the other books past the first three and I continued on to read them all except the most recent one which the library didn't have for some odd reason. I plan to re-read them soon so I will be getting to that one this time. 💜

    I don't plan on seeing the movie because I love the book too much. I am happy they chose a diverse cast though. ☺

    1. La La - I was happy to see the movie had a diverse cast as well. Everyone did a great job. I recently listened to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and admit to being more eager to read that one with my daughter than A Wrinkle in Time. Oz was a delight to listen to.


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