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A Wrinkle in Time (A Wrinkle in Time Quintet) Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 2007
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Everyone in town thinks Meg is volatile and dull-witted and that her younger brother Charles Wallace is dumb. People are also saying that their father has run off and left their brilliant scientist mother. Spurred on by these rumors, Meg and Charles Wallace, along with their new friend Calvin, embark on a perilous quest through space to find their father. In doing so they must travel behind the shadow of an evil power that is darkening the cosmos, one planet at a time.
Young people who have trouble finding their place in the world will connect with the "misfit" characters in this provocative story. This is no superhero tale, nor is it science fiction, although it shares elements of both. The travelers must rely on their individual and collective strengths, delving deep into their characters to find answers.
A classic since 1962, Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time is sophisticated in concept yet warm in tone, with mystery and love coursing through its pages. Meg's shattering yet ultimately freeing discovery that her father is not omnipotent provides a satisfying coming-of-age element. Readers will feel a sense of power as they travel with these three children, challenging concepts of time, space, and the power of good over evil. (Ages 9 to 12) --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
“A Wrinkle in Time is one of my favorite books of all time. I've read it so often, I know it by heart. Meg Murry was my hero growing up. I wanted glasses and braces and my parents to stick me in an attic bedroom. And I so wanted to save Charles Wallace from IT.” ―Meg Cabot
“A book that every young person should read, a book that provides a road map for seeking knowledge and compassion even at the worst of times, a book to make the world a better place.” ―Cory Doctorow
“An exhilarating experience.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“This imaginative book will be read for a long time into the future.” ―Children's Literature
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Top Customer Reviews
In my late twenties, I re-read this novel as a book club event and was amazed by all the women who also related and offered comments on how this book directly touched their lives. In significant fashion. Later into my thirties, another group still discussed this novel, espousing the wisdom found within these pages. We all agreed A Wrinkle in Time to be a "Must read" for all teen girls and even boys. It likely won't resonate with men like it does women, but it's one of the most relatable books for females I've ever read.
I strongly recommend this book to women of all ages, and like me, believe teens will pull this out in a decade to read again. And pass to their children and grandchildren. I still own a tattered print copy as it was my saving grace when turmoil took over my life.
There are more novels by Ms. L'Engle, but A Wrinkle in Time will forever remain my favorite - and it's the foremost book I will be suggesting to my granddaughters when they are coming into their teens. Please do not interpret this as an adolescent read, for it is not. This is simply one of the best coming of age novels ever written for women, and I hope you will take time to read it as it will forever change you and most likely become a "go-to referral" when things in your life get a bit overwhelming
So worth the money - no matter your age!!!
It is a mostly enjoyable story, with a few points of contention I bring forth which drop my overall rating. And sadly, true to the author's sentiment during her Newbury acceptance statement, I have grown out of my childhood's fantastical styled thinking; thusly this work was not nearly as entertaining as I recall it as a youth. I will probably have torn this apart a bit more than I'd needed to.
The story begins with another of the protagonists pointing out that: in the woods, in the haunted house out there, there resides Mrs. Whatsit and her friends. Hence forward, meeting Mrs. Whatsit in the midst of a bad pm thunderstorm late at night (ominous, right?), Meg Murry and her younger brother (neurologically different) Charles Wallace meet the other `witches' - Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which. They also meet Calvin O'Keefe, a befreckled an old-timey speaking (think: `Golly gee' and `humdinger') ginger befitting of his last name. They (Meg, Charles, Calvin) soon learn of the tesseract, a fifth dimension which in lay is expressed as `creating a shortcut', or a wrinkle between two points of a trip - the beginning and end - touching them together, essentially (but L'Engle finds it difficult to keep the related time / distance thing out of the conversation when the characters must talk about `tessering' - the sci-fi elements of this work really are sub-par if compared to other, more contemporary authors, but for children's sci-fi, it is passable).
The mission: to find Meg and Charles Wallace's father, a scientist whom the town gossips say ran off with another woman, but who disappeared while doing work for the government. The `witches' assist in this endeavor, as does the Happy Medium. They're also a good source for much of the stories wisdom, as Mrs. Who is constantly quoting, and always initially in the original language.
Individuality, its preciousness and uniqueness are heartily espoused throughout the work. The introduction to the work suggests that because the work was written in 1962 there are elements of revolt and repulsion against the rising tensions created by Communism's popularity as a political leaning. Once the children reach Camazotz and all of its `grayness' and `sameness' are described, we see the fear of the status quo, the bleakness behind the lack of variety. (1428) Yet, the author states in her Newbury Award address (included at the end) that it is science & mathematics - `the truth' - which is responsible for killing off the imagination and in turn it is making us into `Muffins', alike all the other muffins in the tin. (2939)
Related to this, I find interesting that while the primary notion seems to be placed upon mind control (I allude to the `Man with the Red Eyes'), as IT is only a big brain and when the children arrive at Camazotz and enter the town, its inhabitants are doing everything in strictest rhythm. The only exception being the boy would wasn't bouncing the ball in time. And he was punished. Punishing indicates an effort made to change behavior, behavior isn't an issue if you're being mind-controlled, so aside from IT being the `Happy Sadist' (1940), which is indeed the only real indicator that IT is evil, otherwise IT just `looks' scary - which is why I found the Beasts interesting, that they provided empathic confirmation that the Black Thing was bad - or IT is trying to talk them into giving up their responsibilities, concerns, cares and worries, pain, suffering and et cetera. The thing worth fighting for, evidently, is the happiness, joy and pleasures which would also be taken away in the one-mind world styled after Camazotz (see, back to mind control but not true mind-control, but intensive behavior modification).
More realistically, this evil, this `power of darkness' (1240) is manifest not in everyone being the same, but in everyone failing to acknowledge anybody who is different. Back to the boy with the ball - his mother flatly denied his lack of dribbling skills, then stated that the whole of the neighborhood was without deficit for `centuries' (1502) - the entire neighborhood heard this (because they all looked in) AND STILL persisted that there hadn't been any member of the community out of sync.
It is a fear of differences (and an inability to embrace them) that's propelling the story, it's why Meg is picked on and hate's herself, it's why Charles Wallace is called a `moron', it's why the towns folk fire up the rumor mill - because Mrs. Murry is a hot-mom, it's why the mother of the boy with the ball denies his failures and then so does that entire block on Camazotz. The major push is to embrace the differences each of us have.
I do feel the import our author gives to individuality is... a bit overrated. For all our individuality we are, at base, human. And that should draw us together much more readily than saying `I'm different' proudly and then recognizing that in others. It walks divisive lines and draws you into the seven-deadly sins arena, whereas a broader `we are all human' spiel may have played out a bit better for myself now. This is clearly a very Western motif being maintained, but how closely it relates to anti-communistic ideals, I wouldn't be able to say right up front, as the argument by the introducer is want to suggest. I'd personally think that L'Engle would be able to recognize that even under a Communist regime, one would still have concerns.
My last griping point, I think, is with the author, pretty ironically mentioning in admiration Erich Fromm (2964), a renowned psychologist who published much of his work during the 1940's & 50's. Fromm is mentioned for his philosophy regarding `Universal language' but maybe L'Engle would have been better served to have also read `Escape From Freedom' - for what the author describes on Camazotz we see according to Fromm's own philosophy isn't all that unusual - the herd mentality persists because being `different' still provokes our anxieties and there is a safety net provided by a degree of assimilation (see: 'Escape From Freedom', Fromm, pub. 1941).
To have the story end as it did, with love being that which saves the day, redeems Meg, draws the family together. It's a very heartfelt and touching close. And I do think L'Engle is correct - it does matter that much; it should matter that much.
`... one thing I've learned is that you don't have to understand things for them to be. (362)
`The only way to cope with something deadly serious is to try to treat it a little lightly.' - Mrs. Which (878)
`It's my worst trouble, getting fond. If I didn't get fond I could be happy all the time.' - Happy Medium (1365)
`On Camazotz we are all happy because we are all alike. Differences create problems.' (1925)
Adventure, time travel, joys of discovery, excitement, all rolled into one great story for young adults and everyone else.
The final book of the Time Quintet finds Meg's daughter, Polly, visiting her grandparents. She is dragged back in time 3000 years with a couple of friends. It is up to Polly to survive and return safely, or history could be changed forever.
The Time Quintet has been a great set of books to read. I like the way the author presents a bit of history and science, rolled into science fiction and fantasy. These books will not only entertain the reader, but without realizing it, they will learn from them. Some of the dialog is a bit murky in this one, and could have been explained better as a foreign language.
Madeleine L'Engle injects a bit of science and history into each story. That does not detract from the stories, nor does it slow the reader down. The stories are very entertaining, while the science is explained in a way that the reader can understand it.
As the last book of the Time Quintet, this finishes a five book series. It is a great way to end a series. However, the author did not stop writing at this point. There are a great many more books to be read.
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