Wednesday, August 5, 2009

"A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle

Summary: Meg has been worried about the disappearance of her scientist father, even though her mother tries to stay optimistic for the children. When Meg's genius little brother, Charles Wallace, meets a strange woman named Mrs. Whatsit, Meg, Charles Wallace, and a classmate Calvin are suddenly jumping through space as they attempt to rescue Meg and Charles Wallace's father and save the Earth from IT.

Musings: This is, of course, a classic kid's sci-fi story. I read the entirety of the series when I was young, but I have no memory of any of the books except Many Waters. I had high expectations going in, but little idea of what I would encounter.

Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed. A Wrinkle in Time has much in common with the Chronicles of Narnia, sometimes to the point of being distracting to an adult. Kids are lectured and scolded and respond positively; they are told by adults to "think hard" and discover things; God is somehow present in the fantasy world without seeming to actually do anything to help fight the Evil in the world (at least Narnia had Aslan). I was a little put off by the random God references and the allegories to baptism and Jesus (I think that's what they were).

So much time was spent talking and encouraging the kids to "figure things out" that I missed the fantasy elements. The kids did not feel real to me, especially the way in which Calvin seamlessly integrated himself into Meg's and Charles Wallace's lives.

Perhaps after reading so much modern young adult fiction, this felt wooden. First of all, I missed real kids with sass and nerves. Secondly, Harry Potter had posthumously given away A Wrinkle in Time's ending for me (although, really, doesn't everyone know "love" is the one thing cute little weak kids have against BIG EVIL?).

So I'm bummed that I didn't enjoy it, but I may give the next in the series a chance again anyway.

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