A Swiftly Tilting Planet

by Madeline L’Engle
ages: 8-11
First sentence: “The big kitchen of the Murrys’ house was bright and warm, curtains drawn against the dark outside, against the rain driving past the house from the northeast.”

I never much liked this one, even as a kid. And the only reason I can think of, now, is that it’s because Meg isn’t really a part of the story. Oh, she’s there: she’s older now, married to Calvin, and pregnant with her first child. But she’s not really an active part in the story. She spends the book lying on a bed kything with Charles Wallace, who, at age 15, is off on an adventure of his own.

And honestly his adventure — saving the world from certain destruction by Madog Branzillo — isn’t really that interesting. He rides through time with a unicorn/Pegasus creature named Gaudior, popping in and out of within other people. I’m sure it has a very nice and neat conclusion, where Madog is stopped (not that it was memorable enough to stay with me), but honestly, I gave up halfway through. Charles Wallace was never my favorite character; he was always a bit too precocious for my taste. It was Meg I liked, Meg that resonated with me. And a Meg that just lies around being worried for Charles Wallace is kind of boring. Even now — perhaps especially now — after I’m all grown up, living the life that Meg was starting out on.

I feel bad about it, though. Like I’m giving up on some part of my childhood. Perhaps some books just shouldn’t be reread?

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6 thoughts on “A Swiftly Tilting Planet

  1. You know, I've never read anything by Madeline L'Engle! It's probably a shame since I teach middle school…I know A Wrinkle in Time is suppose to be brilliant, but it's one of those books that I've heard so much about I almost feel like I've read it!!

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  2. Interesting… JAM and I read AWIT recently, but I wasn't planning on reading the others with him. I suggested he could try to read the whole “series” by himself this summer if he wanted. I think you just solidified my decision. 🙂

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  3. I love L'Engle's Murray Family books, and though this wasn't my favorite I have to say parts of it have stuck with me, even 30 years after reading the book. This book touched on the dysfunction of Meg's boyfriend's extended family in such a way that I still remember it. I may have to pick it up and give it a re-read!

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  4. Christina: AWIT is a really good book. Surprisingly religious, but really good overall. The others… I haven't enjoyed as much.

    Dawn: yes. NOW is the time for JAM to read the books. I should get C to read them, too.

    Jenni: I did, too. I liked Meg most, and I liked her insecurity. I missed that.

    And rmlhonda: that is a good point. I can't say it stuck with me, but I can see how it might.

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