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.
- 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 🙂
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!
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!