[A Wrinkle in Time]: A Review

Hi y’all!

Hope your week is going well! We’ve got a busy weekend ahead of us celebrating my sister’s wedding. But I managed to squeeze this review in between festivities.

I am so excited to share a review of A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. This novel won the Newbery Medal in 1963. I have always thought I read this as a kid (for an elementary school class at some point). But until late in the plot, I felt like it was a whole new story for me! So I’d say this was more like a first time read than a reread.

Initial Thoughts:

  • This book is true science fiction! For some reason, I did not realize that going in. But it really is full of science! I was amazed at how L’Engle explains scientific processes so children could understand. I loved it!
  • The story is fast paced and I was finished before I knew it. One thing I love about Newbery winners is their shorter length, overall. They are easy to get into and easy to finish. This one is the first part in a quintet of books which I am curious to read more of.
  • I have yet to see the film adaptation but now I am very curious how they portray the different creatures, planets, and interactions between characters. Hoping it’s in Redbox soon!
  • My awesome sister in law got me this book for Christmas last year and the cover is gorgeous! She knows what I like 🙂

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Goodreads summarizes, “It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger. . . . Meg’s father had been experimenting with this fifth dimension of time travel when he mysteriously disappeared. Now the time has come for Meg, her friend Calvin, and Charles Wallace to rescue him. But can they outwit the forces of evil they will encounter on their heart-stopping journey through space?

“One thing I’ve learned is that you don’t have to understand things for them to be.”

“We have to make decisions and we can’t make them if they’re based on fear.”

“Like and equal are two entirely different things.”

A Wrinkle in Time

This book wasn’t what I expected but it was fascinating and strang, complex and simple, endearing and infuriating. I didn’t expect a story that takes us across space and time. I didn’t expect the intensity of the evil IT that they must defeat. I didn’t expect the ways Meg and her father would connect and disconnect and reconnect. I didn’t expect the simple hero story arch–or the twists along the way. This story is simple. But is also full of many layers of meaning. I was impressed.

The characters are endearing and unique. I loved the three main children who go to save Meg and Charles Wallace’s dad. They are great protagonists because they are loyal, innocent, courageous and scared sometimes. Plus, they make mistakes, but learn how to make things right. I love the complexities of Charles Wallace’s character and Meg’s stubborn impatience. I loved Calvin’s quiet knowledge and his love for Meg. I think Calvin was my favorite character. I also loved the absolutely unique characters we meet on the other planets. Aunt Beast was a favorite, although I’m not quite sure how to picture her in my mind. Mrs Whatsit’s quirks and Mrs Who’s quoting were also fun. I love the ways the nonhuman characters push against limited human understandings of seeing and living.

The settings were interesting, unnerving and familiar. I loved the Murray family home for it’s sense of love and belonging. The other planets were strange but also interesting. The planet under the control of IT was a bit freaky in it’s conformity and oppression. And Aunt Beast’s planet was strange too–but in a different way. I found it fascinating how that planet changed the way I understand sight and speech, light and darkness, fear and courage. Such a neat narrative there! Overall, I would have loved more time there. 

The plot was exciting and fast, almost to a fault. From the first chapter, we encounter excitement first with Mrs. Whatsit’s visit, then the space travel and rescue of their father (and themselves). There is always something going on. Which I think younger readers will enjoy especially. However, sometimes things were almost too easy like when Meg saves her father or goes back for Charles Wallace. I liked those scenes but I would have liked even more description and development of them. Because this is a children’s novel, we only get glimpses of deeper complexity. But I sure would have loved more!

That being said, I think there is so much to discuss in this novel. The themes are serious and compelling including the fight between good and evil, the danger of pride, the importance of learning from mistakes, the importance of family relationships, the connections between courage, fear, and strength, and–of course–the power of love. Each of these could be discussed at great length. I think what makes this novel great is the way audiences of any age can connect with it. While a young audience may just enjoy the story, adults will find the themes and complexities fascinating.

It is clear to me why this book won the Newbery Medal. This is a unique novel. The genre, the characterization, the themes are all beautifully done. It maintains a tone fit for a younger audience while introducing intense topics as well. The characters are engaging and easy to connect with. I’m not surprised and even applaud the fact that so many elementary age kids read this book in school. Sometimes, I don’t agree with the Newbery selection but this is a year that I completely agree.

This book is worth reading at any age or stage of life. It’s a great book to read out loud with kids. And a fun one to discuss with others. Now, I want to read the other books in the series. Very well deserved Newbery winner!

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This was my 8th Newbery Medal book finished as part of my Newbery Challenge
to read all 100 Newbery Medal winners by the end of 2022,
the year the 100th winner is announced!

21 thoughts on “[A Wrinkle in Time]: A Review

  1. Sherryl Hovard

    Words can’t discribe how fantastic this book is. The incredible story and plot will leave you stunned.The book itself is a lovely homage to the characters, games, movies, and tv reveals i matured with. I likewise suggest to read https://bit.ly/2MiaRCT Donna Ruth . P.S: I appreciate this site. Thank you so much

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: May Wrap Up and June TBR – greenish bookshelf

  3. I really like this book. But with the movie coming out recently, I have seen so many negative reviews of people who read it as a kid and now don’t like it. (Some of the reviews have conflicting sentiments.)

    I originally read this in 7th grade. I did a re-read a couple years ago and found I still liked it. So, I started thinking… was there something wrong with me that I still like this book?!

    Your review has made me realize that I’m not crazy after all. The points you bring up are exactly why I like this book. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Deanna! Your comment makes me want to continue in the series sooner than later–I did like the science fiction elements in this one.

      I suppose all movie adaptations make a few changes. But I am intrigued to see how they depict some of the places/characters described. Can they be done in our limited view of sight and sound? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so glad you are joining me on this quest, Jane!! I hadn’t read A Wrinkle in Time until adulthood. I really enjoyed how complex science concepts are explored in a simple way. In fact, it’s done so well that I had to explain to other readers that these are true science theories! This isn’t just made up.

    I agree that sometimes things were too simple and easy for Meg. Her character development is vast and feels a bit out of scope for the length of the book. But knowing this is intended for middle grade readers, I can give it a pass.

    I’m glad you’ll keep reading the series! I haven’t read them yet, but I want to. I hope you can help me figure out if I should push forward. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. JACKIE!!!! You’re back!! So good to hear from you, my friend! 🙂

      I’m glad you enjoyed this one as well. As I mention in the review, I felt like this was a first time read for me. It felt like a new story! I think I want to keep reading the series to find out more about Meg and hopefully get more of her journey. This being said, my TBR is (as always) growing faster than I can read but I’m hopeful that I will get to them soon (ish)!

      Liked by 1 person

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