I think most of us had to read Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time when we were growing up. The only thing that stuck out in my mind from middle school was the terrible cover of an obese woman dressed in ridiculous clothing. And my mind for some reason always associated the ‘wrinkle’ in the title to be a description of the decrepit cover lady’s age.
However, lately I’ve been excited to revisit all of the reading we were assigned as kids, and have been delighted to find out that my English teachers who I thought were bores, who took joy in assigning us books that cured insomnia, really did love and recommend awesome literature. Madeleine L’Engle has composed a beautiful young adult epic that is a mix of the Chronicles of Narnia and Douglas Adams’ Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series. It undoubtedly fits the category of books we read long ago that deserve another shot. The narration is witty and clever why still maintaining a quirky sense of humor that makes the book more than just tolerable as it was in 7th grade, but something that is truly enjoyable.
I picked up a copy at half price books, and to my dismay it was a beaten-up old copy that was annotated by some punk middle schooler. Usually I don’t care much for other people’s annotations. I want to discover and make connections on my own, but seeing the novel (in a sense) through a middle schooler’s eyes was so much fun. I think a handful of people remember the book as being a novel packed with new vocabulary words that we had to look up. For instance, it HAS to bring a smile to anyone’s face when you start thumbing through the pages and seeing words like these highlighted in different colors: tesseract, propitious, dilapidated, retort, judiciously, and indignant. L’Engle’s writing is more than descriptive, she has a powerful ability to submerge you in her kooky world with lyrical passages that read like poetry:
Silence fell between them, as tangible as the dark tree shadows that fell across their laps and that now seemed to rest upon them as heavily as though they possessed a measurable weight of their own.
Another facet of L’Engle that I had never appreciated was how ‘Christian’ A Wrinkle in Time really is. There are undeniable overtones pleasantly blended with direct quotations of beloved scriptures all throughout the book that drove me to check her out on wikipedia (a universally recognized credible source). And if any weight can be given to a wikipedia article, it seems that L’Engle loved Jesus and was passionate about communicating (specifically) His love through her work, especially in A Wrinkle in Time.
Her creative writing traces the time and space traveling trio of Meg Murray, her brother Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin. Together with the help of three enigmatic beings, Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which, Meg and her gang go galavanting throughout the universe to find the Murray’s lost father who has been missing for over a year. It’s a heartwarming quest that had me laughing and and brimming over with excitement and anticipation.
The captivating writing, intriguing and unique story line, mixed with the overwhelming message of love’s power put this book on shelf 4 1/2 of 5… go read it again. You know you want to… you’ll like it way more the second time around just like I did.