by Madeline L’Engle
First sentence: “There are dragons in the twins’ vegetable garden.”
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I always remembered this one, from when I read it as a kid, as my “favorite”. Though, if you had asked me, I don’t think I could have pinpointed why. So, I was quite curious to reread the book: maybe I would love it as much as I remembered loving it. And maybe I could finally pinpoint the elusive why.
So. Charles Wallace is having problems. He’s not adapting to school particularly well, which shouldn’t be surprising considering the precocious child that he is. On top of that, something more fundamental is wrong: he’s sick, down in his very cells. Meg, Calvin and Mr. Jenkins (the school principal) together with the cheribum Proginoskes have to work together to battle the evil that’s invading the world and save Charles.
Honestly? I liked the book well enough, but I couldn’t pinpoint why it was my favorite. It was less overtly religious than Wrinkle in Time was, but there were still overtones of the Ultimate Battle. There was a lot about Hate and war and instant gratification versus Doing Ones’ Duty. Maybe that was it: the fact that Duty wins out over Fun and Frivolity. Perhaps I just wanted justification for my innate personality quirks?
I was disappointed in Meg; while she was still the heroine and she still did the most work, she just wasn’t as engaging a character as I felt she was in Wrinkle. That, and I just didn’t get much out of the plot: it seemed to be spinning in circles. Perhaps it was me, but I felt it just had too much narration and not enough action.
Then again, I may just be nitpicking. My 11-year-old self adored this book. And I might just be content to let it stay that way.