Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Wrinkle in Time

Madeleine L' Engle, A Wrinkle in Time, Square Fish, 2007, 245 pages. ISBN 9780312367541.

A Wrinkle in Time was originally published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 1962. A year before I was born. Pamela Paul in her review of the book said it was rejected 26 times before being accepted by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. It won the 1963 Newbery Medal, an award for the top children's book of the year. The book is science fiction which tends to be read more by boys than girls. My daughter, however, loved it. The story's principal character is Meg, a girl wrestling with her identity. The book was probably written originally to appeal to young girls struggling with their own personal identity. The book, howver, is loved by both boys and girls.

The story is about Meg's father, a scientist, who has been missing for two years. Meg, her brother, Charles Wallace, and her friend, Calvin O'Keefe go on a journey to find and rescue her father. Ultimately, Meg has to face the monster, "IT," on her own. The place where her father is held prisoner is a place where everyone has lost their freedom to IT, a disembodied brain. It reminded me of C. S. Lewis' That Hideous Strength. Some major themes of the book are individuality, friendship, loyalty, and courage.

A Wrinkle in Time is a good read aloud book. I read it to my children and they loved it. They have become interested in science fiction. I do not think you have to love science fiction to enjoy the book. L"Engle is an excellent writer and tells a good story. A Wrinkle in Time celebrated its fiftieth anniversary last year and continued to be read and enjoyed by both kids and adults.

The edition I read includes "An Appreciation" by Anna Quindlan, a children's author. Quindlen notes, "The most memorable books from our childhoods are those that make us feel less alone, convince us that our own foibles and quirks are both as individual as a fingerprint and as universal as a open hand. That's why I still have a copy of A Wrinkle in Time that was given me when I was twelve years old. . . . The girl who first owned it has grown up and changed, but the book she loved, though battered, is still magical" (1). We can see the big difference this book has made on Quindlan's life.

In the last part of the book is an interview with the author, Madeleine L'Engle. It also includes her 1963 Newbery Medal acceptance speech.

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