It’s a dark and stormy night. Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and their mother are in the kitchen for a midnight snack when a most disturbing visitor arrives.
Seems slightly ironic that I am so very late in blogging about the January book for the Time Quartet Read-A-Long … punctuality is my weakness, now if only I could figure out how to fold time backwards I’d be set!
Over at Kailana’s blog she is hosting a readalong that involves reading a book a month from Madeleine L’Engle’s Time series. January was the kick-off with Book 1 A Wrinkle In Time.
For some reason this is a series of books that I hadn’t read as a child (or that I cannot remember) so this was the perfect excuse for me to pick them up. I also hadn’t watched the television movie based on the books, which meant I had no real expectations going into the reading. With that said and after reading the first book, I’m not sure this is a series I would continue on my own. Not that I didn’t like A Wrinkle in Time, but I just didn’t love it either. This is one of those books where I’m more interested because of ideas within the story than the actual story itself.
What I did love about this book was the characters, or rather the mixture of personalities. This book features 3 children (Meg, Charles Wallace and Calvin), as the main characters along with extended family (mom, dad, older twin brothers), a trio of helpful ladies/entities (Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which) various aliens and non-earth creatures, and the token villain – IT (person, entity, idea?)
I didn’t like all the characters, in fact I felt a strong dislike for some of them. But that I think is what made them so appealing. Just like in real life there will be people you just can’t relate to, as well as people that intrigue you. Certain things were really relatable about Meg and she was a girl who I tried my hardest to like or even understand, but found her to be a little too whiney and (for her age) naive. Charles Wallace on the other hand came across as a total void personality-wise, but his above-average intelligence fascinated me.
Of all the characters the otherworld creatures were my favorite, in particular Aunt Beast. She is from a race of non-humans on the planet Ixchel, these beings cannot see visually, but seem to be stronger mentally because of this. Last semester I had a creative writing assignment that required us to write a description of our campus for a visitor who is blind – Meg has a similar experience when communicating with Aunt Beast, and she discovers that the idea of a thing is sometimes more important and informative than its appearance.
Now just let me slip into my super-nerd glasses and tell you what I loved most about this book = the ideas! Time travel books are a tricky lot for me, I don’t only want to read about past times, future times or other worlds. I want a little bit of science on the side (factual or fictional) Why am I addicted to Donnie Darko? Because of the Tangential Universe Theory. And so when reading A Wrinkle in Time I became obsessed by the ideas of folding time and Tesseracts. (That little blue diagram on the side is a visual representation of a Tesseract or hypercube) To be honest I don’t understand a bit of what it actually means mathematically, but it led me on late-night web prowling sessions to try and obtain even a slight understanding. Hours of Quantum Mechanics, Quantum Physics and Time-Space theory reading later I’m still at a loss but I’m starting to get a taste of what the theories are hypothesizing.
And that is what made this book a winner for me. The actual story was good, but took second place to the ideas. I love books that make me think, that prompt me to seek answers. In that way I find that a book has made a lasting impression on me and that it was time well spent.
About The Author
Madeleine L’Engle (1918-2007) was the author of more than forty books for children, including the Newberry Award Medal winner A Wrinkle In Time and its sequels, A Wind In The Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, and Many Waters all available in Dell Yearling Editions. She lived in New York and Connecticut.
© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.