Jan 22, 2008

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

A Wrinkle in Time

Back when I was a wee nerdlet in the grade school gifted program, this was definitely a Series To Read. I think I read all four, but honestly, at this point that's a little hazy. I only really remember this one and A Swiftly Tilting Planet.

This past week, I lost an aunt and an uncle, in unrelated circumstances, which made for a pretty damn crappy time. I'm glad I was rereading Wrinkle, which is a hopeful little book, and not some Russian soul-killer.

L'Engle doesn't bother to specify one misery as the main villain driving the dystopian elements. Yes, IT ("the Happiest Sadist" - a great phrase) powers the conformity of Camazotz culture, but IT is only one face of that larger pall. Look at the names given as examples of those who have fought the good fight against this universal enemy: Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi, Bach, Einstein, Euclid. Discovery, love, peace, empathy and affection for your fellow beings. It's no wonder that so many of the hippie-raised kids I knew growing up were given this book early on in their reading.

And it's just a great story. You've got all the right elements for a kid's tale: missing parent, daring rescues, strange creatures, wide travels, new thoughts, misfits finding their places. Now I want to find a grade school student with a quick mind and hand over my copy.


Doc Holaday said...

Cool book. I was thinking about reading it to my kids, but I think it would scare my 8 year old. (He is pretty sensitive to creepy stories.) I'll wait for a few years, I think.

I've never read the sequels. Worth it?

If you liked this book, you should read Christopher's Tripod trilogy (White Mountains et al).

downtown guy said...

At least the first two sequels are well worth it. A Swiftly Tilting Planet particularly.

And I didn't just read the Tripod trilogy as a kid, I devoured those books in big gulps several times. It was the kid who needed glasses and had to go into the tripod town without them that I remember best (which makes sense, because without mine I'm blind as a bat).

Christina said...

This book is so incredible!! I absolutely love it. I re-read it a few months ago and it still stood up. What kid/adult can't relate to Meg in some way?

The message is so much deeper and truer than many other books. I was so sad to hear of L'Engle's death.

downtown guy said...

Of the books I've been reading for this dystopian year, Wrinkle in Time is one of the ones that stood best on its own merits. It's one of those books that makes me wish I had kids to read it to.

Colin said...

I loved that book because it didn't talk down to us kids. She was saying yes, this stuff is sometimes hard to grasp, but that's okay.

And yeah. "Happiest Sadist." *grins*

downtown guy said...

Exactly. She expected you to be able to keep up, she didn't handicap her ideas for our sakes.

Anonymous said...

Dude, totally also toted it around my middle school gifted class. But I left Many Waters on top of my locker one day and by the time I came back it was swiped. Totally. Lately I've been thinking about it too... the wrinkle book.

Anonymous said...

oh wait, my comment did post.... okay definitely retarded i am. definitely.