Review: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet #1)A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Published by: Square Fish
Publication Date: May 2007 (First Published in 1962)
Time Quintet, #1
Genres: Children, Classic, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Pages: 247
Rating: 2
Date Read:
January 11th, 2017
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

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?

It’s a children’s classic that I’ve been aware of since joining the book community. A Wrinkle in Time is not only a highly-regarded classic, but a much-beloved classic. It’s super popular in the US, but not so much in Australia. This is a children’s fantasy novel with a significant element of science fiction; its thoughtful ideas, intriguing plot and amusing conversation style make it enjoyable to read; yet, it often borders on being overdone.

The novel tells us about Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin, and there travel in the universe in order to rescue Meg and Charles Wallace’s father. Each family member is quite intelligent, perhaps genius.

I found the characters rather flat. The story itself is made up of vague scenarios of conflict of the psyche and spirit, with the entire Universe at stake. L’Engle’s metaphors are obvious and their manifestations flat.

There is no character development in the book. The Characters are essentially the same people at every stage of the book, no matter where they go. After being whisked away by weird old ladies to an alien world, where they fly on the back of a cenaugusus into space the kids are exactly the same. There was no panicking, no freaking out, no crying to go home, just characters going with it because that’s how we advance the plot.

However, there are things in this book, and in L’Engle’s writing that I love: I love her courage in at least attempting a controversial issue like mixing science and spirituality. I love that she has enough respect for children that she included difficult vocabulary and a few difficult concepts. Many children are far more capable of handling complex ideas than we give them credit for, especially if we expose them to these things early on.

The novel wasn’t exactly bad. Like I said above there were things that I did enjoy in this book; however, it had some problems in my opinion. I do not like it when a novel tries to push knowledge down your throat, especially on matters like religion. They do that a lot in children’s novels, assuming that children aren’t smart to pick up implications on their own. This novel did try that with many subjects, not just religion.

I’ve known about this book for a long time and have only ever heard great things about it, so I was shocked and unpleasantly surprised to discover that I didn’t really care about anything happening inside of it.

I sort of don’t like stories about how special people are. I know that should account for most books, but I’m generally not interested in books about people who are special or geniuses. So a book about children who are secretly special. It’s kind of a weak premise.

A Wrinkle in Time is a very nice tale, but I just wish L’Engle spent more time developing the settings. I’ll admit It was a let down for me. I did keep in mind while reading that it’s a children’s book first and foremost, but I couldn’t help but feel that it was a little dishevelled in places.

I loved that the protagonist is female, and quite ordinary, even if she was slightly annoying at times. Time travel is always cool, and the unfamiliar planets were incredibly fun to imagine. The themes of individuality, love, and acceptance carried strongly throughout; even though they were almost shoved in the reader’s face.

Overall, I did enjoy parts of this story and appreciate some of the themes and values. And I would still recommend this to anyone who loves science fiction.

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2 Responses to Review: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

  1. shazjera says:

    Going to admit Jade, I had never heard of this! I enjoyed reading your balanced review. Thanks for linking #ToTT

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Saturday Review of Books: February 11, 2017 – Semicolon

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