Saturday, September 15, 2007

A Wrinkle in Time ~ by Madeleine L'Engle

Title, author, date of book, and genre?
A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engle, 1962, YA speculative fiction

What made you want to read this book?
After posting the story of Madeleine L'Engle's death, I got A Wrinkle in Time from the library and read it that same evening. But then I couldn't write the review. I guess I'm in mourning. This morning I decided I really MUST do this so I can move on to the other books I should have already reviewed. Okay, so I've gotten started, thanks to my handy-dandy book review outline.

Did it live up to your expectations?
My first reaction: Well, of course it did, since I've read it before! On second thought: I was surprised this time by what seemed to be missing, things like cell phones and computers which, of course, were not yet the ubiquitous items they are today. But I was also overwhelmingly pleased with what WAS in the book.

Summarize the book without giving away the ending.
The article below, that I posted from AP, does that quite nicely:
Wrinkle tells the story of adolescent Meg Murry, her genius little brother Charles Wallace, and their battle against evil as they search across the universe for their missing father, a scientist. The brother and sister, helped by a young neighbor, Calvin, and some supernatural spirits, must pass through a time travel corridor (the "wrinkle in time") and overcome the ruling powers on a planet with a totalitarian government reminiscent of George Orwell's 1984.
Meg is 12, the twins Sandy and Dennys are 10, and Charles Wallace is 5. Calvin O'Keefe, 14, goes with Meg and Charles Wallace to find their father.

Which character could you relate to best, and why?
Meg and I are both the oldest of our siblings, so I relate best to her. However, I find Charles Wallace to be the most interesting, though he's so young he does things I didn't want him to do. Well, Meg didn't want him to do those things, either. On the other hand, in some ways I relate best to Calvin O'Keefe (see the quote below).

Were there any other especially interesting characters?
Oh, yeah! Three of them: Mrs. Whatsit was the comforter, an interesting allusion to the Holy Spirit, in my opinion. A Wrinkle in Time exposes readers to the words of great thinkers, as Mrs. Who quotes Pascal, Seneca, Shakespeare, the Bible, Euripides, Dante, and others. Mrs. Which is so ephemeral she shimmers ... and doesn't quite appear.

What did you like most about the book?
I like the fact that Madeleine L'Engle never, ever talks down to children. She assumes children know a lot more than most adults seem to think.

Share a quote from the book.
Calvin: "I'm not alone any more! Do you realize what that means to me?"

"But you're good at basketball and things," Meg protested. "You're good in school. Everybody likes you."

"For all the most unimportant reasons," Calvin said. "There hasn't been anybody, anybody in the world I could talk to. Sure, I can function on the same level as everybody else, I can hold myself down, but it isn't me."
No wonder I have always liked Madeleine L'Engle!  She understands!  See what I wrote in March.

Share a favorite scene from the book.
Meg is talking with her mother (pp. 46-47 of a paperback copy):
"I like to understand things," Meg said.

"We all do. But it isn't always possible."

"Charles Wallace understands more than the rest of us, doesn't he?



"I suppose because he's -- well, because he's different, Meg."

"Different how?"

"I'm not quite sure. You know yourself he's not like anybody else."

"No. And I wouldn't want him to be," Meg said defensively.

"Wanting doesn't have anything to do with it. Charles Wallace is what he is. Different. New."


"Yes. That's what your father and I feel."

Meg twisted her pencil so hard that it broke. She laughed. "I'm sorry. I'm really not being destructive. I'm just trying to get things straight."

"I know."

"But Charles Wallace doesn't look different from anybody else."

"No, Meg, but people are more than just the way they look. Charles Wallace's difference isn't physical. It's in essence."

Meg sighed heavily, took off her glasses and twirled them, put them back on again. "Well, I know Charles Wallace is different, and I know he's something more. I guess I'll just have to accept it without understanding it."

Mrs. Murry smiled at her. "Maybe that's really the point I was trying to put across."

"Yah," Meg said dubiously.

Her mother smiled again. "Maybe that's why our visitor last night didn't surprise me. Maybe that's why I'm able to have a -- a willing suspension of disbelief. Because of Charles Wallace."

"Are you like Charles?" Meg asked.

"I? Heavens no. I'm blessed with more brains and opportunities than many people, but there's nothing about me that breaks out of the ordinary mold."
How would you rate the book?
Rated: 10/10, a book I couldn't put down.

Read Madeleine L'Engle's Newbery Award Acceptance Speech

and her Acceptance Speech upon receiving the Margaret Edwards Award from the ALA.

Now read what her former neighbor says about her!


Dewey said...

Mmm, love this book! I think I'll add her to my November possibilities for that author birthdays challenge. I'm so sad that she's no longer with us and writing. Have you ever read Circle of Quiet? It's for adults, a sort of memoir/journal and it's so warm and touching and just... perfect.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Yes, Dewey, I very much enjoyed Circle of Quiet and later enjoyed Summer of the Great-Grandmother even more. I've done a pretty fair job over the years of reading, I'd say, about half of the 62 books shown on her web site. (Ha! I just counted and it's 31 ... EXACTLY half.) Here's where to find the list:

Court said...

This was one of my favourite books growing up. It's such a lovely book, with such positively wonderful characters! (I love Aunt Beast.) The only thing I find difficult about reading it now is some of the cheesiness of the lines (I believe it had something to do with the mention of "dreamboat eyes" but I'm not 100% positive).

One of my all-time favourite quotes is from this book: "Wild nights are my glory".

Happy to hear that you've rediscovered such a wonderful little book. :)

Framed said...

This is the only book of L'Engle's that I have read. I loved it so much that I promptly bought the next three in the series but they are languishing on the shelf. Now I've added the two mentioned in the comments to my list. I must be crazy.

Anonymous said...

This is one of my favorite books ever. I just got a copy off Bookmooch and read it in one sitting. Now I need to go find the rest of the series.