Science Fiction Friday: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

wrinkle

When I heard about this book being made into a new Disney film (starring Oprah, Mindy Kaling, and Reese Witherspoon) I decided to re-read it asap to refresh my memory. What a trip down memory lane this was! As I scanned the index of chapters before reading, the story slowly but surely began to come back to me. I first read A Wrinkle in Time when I was eleven, and of course I’ve read many books since then which is why I was so surprised by just how much of it I remembered. Everything from the fight Meg gets into on her way home from school, her curling up in the quilt in her attic bedroom during the storm, Charles Wallace leaving a pot of milk on the stove for her because he knew she would be coming downstairs, even the Murry family dog’s less-than-common name, Fortinbras.

Of course, there was a lot that I didn’t remember as well. I find it kind of funny that I didn’t pick up on the emotional/teenage angst that Meg and Calvin were dealing with; all very real issues, like not fitting in at school, worrying about being as smart as the other kids, wishing your family cared about you more, and finding your place in the world, and all of this clearly went right over my twelve-year-old head! I was much more interested in the action 🙂

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The cover of my first copy which I sadly no longer have

 

I recall being utterly confounded by the Happy Medium, too. As easy as it was for me to take Mrs. Which, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Whatsit for what they were (later revealed to be stars) it’s odd that the Happy Medium seemed to always confuse me the most. I’m glad that L’Engle description of her included a turban so I know I didn’t just make that up in my head! I’m so glad I decided to revisit this classic. I had to repurchase a copy as I sadly no longer have my original, but this new copy had a preface from Anna Quindlen in which she shares just what it is about Wrinkle that’s made it so memorable, so timeless.

One issue I had with this preface was that Quindlen said that she doesn’t consider the book to be science fiction, and that she herself dislikes science fiction.

*crickets*

Really, a book in which three characters are brought to “Uriel, the third planet of the star Malak in the spiral nebula Messier 101” by way of tessering, via the assistance of three stars that have taken human form (the clan of Mrs.) one of which transforms herself into a centaur of sorts and carries the children off on her back…what parts of this don’t sound like science fiction or fantasy? To each their own, I just found it strange that she was insistent that it not be called science fiction. But I do agree with her closing statement which I think all readers would:

“If I could tesser, perhaps in some different time and place I would find a Meg Murry just my age, a grown woman with an astonishing brain, a good hearts, and a unique perspective on how our differences are what makes life worth living. Oh, how I would like to meet her!” Same.

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