A Wrinkle in Time

by Madeline L’Engle
ages: 9+
First sentence: “It was a dark and stormy night.”
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I thought, as I started this deceptively small novel, what was it that captivated me about this book when I was a child? See, I have the copy I originally got — was it a gift? did I buy it with my own money? — and it’s well-loved. I remember reading it over and over again, though I stopped sometime in high school, and honestly haven’t picked it up (or thought much about it) before I cracked it open last week.

When I finished, though, I knew exactly what I loved about it. See, I was Meg. I was geeky, awkward, kind of smart (but not in everything), and felt I was unable to quite fit in. The idea that someone like me — that Meg, of all the characters — would be the one to save the day, would be the one with the answers, and (most importantly to my 11 year old self) would be the one to find love, gave me immense hope.

Going back to this book as an adult, one thing really surprised me: it’s an incredibly religious work. Not in the same way that, say, Narnia is — it’s more blatant than that. There’s the good-versus-evil element, of course, though L’Engle’s vision of evil is more subtle than I remembered (Evil is sameness? I can see that…), but it’s also the the references to Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which as Guardian Angels. It’s sometimes small little things throughout, but it’s also the big things, like this quote from Mrs. Who:

The foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called, but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring naught things that are.

Religious aspects aside, I still love the story. It’s Meg’s story, of course, and her growth and coming into her own. That still captivated me. I loved the Mrs.es, adored Charles Wallace, and enjoyed the story, though it wasn’t as unputdownable as I remember it being when I was a child. Still, I’m glad I took the time to revisit the world and the Murrys.

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13 thoughts on “A Wrinkle in Time

  1. I adored Charles Wallace, too. This was my first time to read (I mean, LISTEN – I had the audio) so Meg didn't really appeal to me. I enjoyed the build up of the story much more than the resulting save the day ending. I loved Mrs. Who the best of the 'angels'. I'm very glad I gave this a looksee.

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  2. It was a very interesting read-through for me. I'm going to try the second one next month but if I can't get into it, I'll probably bow out of the rest of the readalong.

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  3. I first learned about this classic book in Bookjive, a wiki site where users can add book summaries and reviews. I can say this book will expose the children to science and adventure at the same time because the story is filled with strange but exciting characters.

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  4. millymarie says:

    I sadly never read this as a child. My first reading of the series was last year actually and I fell in love with it. Mostly for the same reason's you described about Meg. Someone very unlikely became the one to save the day and I *LOVE* those stories! I wonder if my viewpoint would be a little different like yours if I had read it as a child.

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  5. I read this many many (MANY MANY) times as a kid. At the time, I didn't get the religiousness of it, because I was raised as a practicing Catholic (haven't gotten it right yet!) and their casual mentions of the bible and Jesus didn't seem at all out of place to me. As an adult, I see how unusual it is, but it still doesn't feel out of place!

    I totally agree with you on Meg–she's no sugar and spice heroine. She pouts, she sulks, she screams, she fights, she's snarky, she's not so bright sometimes, and yet she saves the day by being her own flawed self. Awesome.

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