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A Wrinkle in Time Movie Tie-In Edition (A Wrinkle in Time Quintet) Paperback – November 7, 2017
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The story is about a teenage girl named Meg Murry, whose father has been missing for several years. Originally on a research mission for the US government, the brilliant scientist (both Meg's parents are brilliant scientists) vanished. While the government says that he is "serving his country", the family is worried, and most of the small town where they live has assumed the worst. Despite their worry, the family insists that the father is coming back someday.
This seems to be a point of contention between the Murrys and the rest of the town. The rest of the town wants the Murrys to see the truth, as they think it is, and they also are put off by the Meg and her behavior. You see, while all of the Murry children are quite brilliant, Meg and her youngest brother Charles Wallace, are brilliant but troubled in that their quirkiness gets them weird reactions from folks.
Into this situation come three strange older women, who look like typical, though extremely eccentric in their own right, senior citizens. But they are not. They know things no one else should. Things about the Murry family, Dr. Murry's (the vanished husband) research, and about everyone in general.
These three women, Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Which, and Mrs. Who, take Meg, Charles Wallace, and their new friend Calvin, on a trip through realms of magic and science to another world, one where there father is trapped and held captive by an insidiously evil force. This force has turned many planets toward it's ends, and while it didn't seek out Mr. Murry, it now is unwilling to release him, or anyone else, it can get in it's grasp.
The question for Meg, Calvin, and Charles Wallace is whether they can save Dr. Murry. For that matter, can they even save themselves? Because while their new friends in the form of the entities called Mrs. Who, Which, and Whatsit are powerful, even they have limits and such, for what they can and can't do.
I said at the beginning that this is both more, and less, blatant in it's religious imagery than the *Narnia* books. That is because while Lewis was writing as a (what he liked to call) "supposal" or a "what if" scenario, he largely stayed away from the actual words of the Bible. L'Engle, on the other hand, actually had the Scripture verses quoted quite often, and they seem to be words with power. Both authors stopped just shy of stating outright the biblical nature of the characters, though Lewis would quite quickly become more blatant, whereas L'Engle had the Scriptures quoted and other hints, but didn't outright state anything.
It's quite a contrast of approaches to story-telling with a theological and religious mythical framework. In the case of the Narnia books, the actions are done largely by God, and the characters,while important, are just there to perform actions until God saves the day. In L'Engle's books, or at least *Wrinkle*, God (through his angels obviously) still saves the day, but He and they leave the actions up to the characters to do what is necessary to save the day. I would probably liken this book to *The Silver Chair*, which is the most protagonist-centered and least Aslan-centered of the *Narnia* books.
It's interesting, because both approaches (God doing everything and the characters doing less, and the characters doing everything with God's help) are actually Scriptural in a way. In the end, God *does* do everything, because it is in His strength that we act, but *we* are supposed to take actions as well as God expects us to freely do good and avoid evil, with his help.
Don't get the wrong idea. This is not a religious book, and one can avoid the religious overtones and easily still enjoy the premise. There's a lot of fun stuff. Friendships, interplanetary travels, fighting a totalitarian menace, so on. The religious themes are there, but are not "in your face", in other words. My reason for exploring the religious concepts is that a) such philosophical stuff interests me, and b) they are there so getting that discussion out of the way is necessary. It's necessary to both understanding some of the deeper meanings of the book if one wishes to do so, and to understanding the cosmology of the series as a whole, even if one doesn't want to focus on any real-life connections to Scripture. It's like how in *The Dresden Files*, Christianity has a role (as do many myths), but one needn't be a believer to understand and cheer, because those books are NOT Christian fic, but understanding these myths or the Christian cosmology used by the author helps understand the books better.
Though brief, the authoress managed to give us some good characterization and sense of the cast, or the ones we spend much time with, at least. Meg is socially clumsy, self-conscious, and seems to not be bright via the school's standards. But she is, in fact, *brilliant*, and she is also loving, loyal, and kind, though also stubborn and prone to anger and other emotional extremes at times. These are part of who she is and not a bad thing (except the various emotional extremes bit), if they are channeled to good uses.
Charles Wallace seems to be on a different wave length than everyone else and closer to the land of the beings like the entities known as Mrs. Who, Which, and Whatsit. He is also, especially for his age, surprisingly mature, kind, and thoughtful, not to mention brave and quick on his feet. His main fault though is his pride. He is more brilliant than most people, his family included, as shown by his insights into many areas. And he *knows* this. While he never acts arrogant and condescending to anyone else, his knowledge of his own extraordinariness causes him to be unduly confident in his own abilities, which causes a LOT of problems.
Calvin is the most well-rounded character in that he is quite smart, though not nearly so much as the Murrys are, and very athletic for his age. He also is brave and empathetic to others, which given his very dysfunctional, and heartbreakingly so, home life is almost a small miracle. He doesn't have Charles amazing abilities, or any of the Murry's intelligence, but he has rhetorical skills, leadership qualities, is dependable, and has a strong will. He also is surprisingly insightful in ways that the uber-intelligent but quirky Murrys are not.
Mrs. Murry is sweet and kind, a good mother and a faithful wife who never gives up on her husband's return and holds the family together by her sheer force of will, personality and love. She doesn't have much of a presence, but she is impressive when we do see her. On top of all of this, she is a brilliant scientist herself who does experiments in her home laboratory while raising her children. She's pretty much super-Mom and super-scientist.
Mr. Murry I won't get into much because that is very spoilery about his appearances and what he does, who he is, so on. Suffice it to say that he is a good man whose families love and praise are realized mostly, but can never be as perfect as they have made him out to be in the years of his disappearance.
Before I close, as this review is getting rather longish, the system of a meld of science fiction and fantasy that L'Engle sets up here was impressive and fun. It's not hard sci-fi, by any means, but neither is it soft like *Star Wars* or *Star Trek*. It has some science fiction concepts and speculative ideas, but goes it's own way to engage the imagination and sense of awe of the reader, even where creative liberties occur. It's a fun and careful balance that L'Engle expertly maintained.
For such a thin volume, the authoress had a great deal of characterization, of carefully, though briefly explored, cosmology, and a fun adventure. I really did enjoy, and highly recommend, this story. I can't wait to read the future volumes in this series.
Rating: 5/5 Stars.