Publisher: MacmillanPublish Date: 1962Series: TimeOther Books in Series: A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters, An Acceptable Time
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.
"Wild nights are my glory," the unearthly stranger told them. "I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me be on my way. Speaking of way, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract".
A tesseract (in case the reader doesn't know) is a wrinkle in time. To tell more would rob the reader of the enjoyment of Miss L'Engle's unusal book.
When I first read A Wrinkle in Time, I loved it! I don't think I understood how timeless it really was. After hearing about the celebration planned for the birthday of the book, I knew that I had to get in on that. February 13, 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the first publication of A Wrinkle in Time.
I loved reading it again. I must admit that I haven't read all the books in the Time Quintet, but Wrinkle is one of my favorite books of all time. I was going to write up a review on the book, but I'm not sure I could do it the justice it deserves. At the beginning of my copy of the book, there is "An Appreciation" written and I am putting that on here because I love it's description. Happy 50th birthday A Wrinkle in Time!!
An Appreciation by Anna Quindlen
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 an open hand. That’s why I still have the copy of A Wrinkle in Time that was given to me when I was twelve years old. It long ago lost its dust jacket, the fabric binding is loose and water stained, and the soft and loopy signature on its inside cover bears little resemblance to the way I sign my name today. The girl who first owned it has grown up and changed, but the book she loved, though battered, is still magical.
It’s heroine is someone who feels very much alone indeed. Meg Murray has braces glasses, and flyaway hair. She can’t seem to get anything right in school, where everyone things she is strange and stupid. And she runs up against some real nastiness at a young age in the form of all those snide looks and comments about her father, a scientist who seems to have mysteriously vanished – or, town gossip has it, run off with another woman.
But Meg doesn’t know real evil until she sets out on a journey to find her father and bring him home, along with her little brother, Charles Wallace, and a boy named Calvin. As they transcend time, space, and the limitations of their own minds, they get help from individuals of great goodness: Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Which, Mrs Who, the Happy Medium, and Aunt Beast. But the climax of their journey is a showdown with IT, the cold and calculating disembodied intelligence that has cast a black shadow over the universe in its quest to make everyone behave and believe the same.
If that sounds like science fiction, it’s because that’s one way to describe the story. Or perhaps you could call it the fiction of science. The action of the books, the search for Meg and Charles Wallace’s missing father, relies on something called a tesseract, which is a way to travel through time and space using a fifth dimension. Although there’s even a little illustration to make it easier to visualize, I still am not certain I do. Of course, Meg, who is so bright she can do square roots in her head, doesn’t entirely understand it either. “For just a moment I got it !” she says. “I can’t possibly explain it now, but for a second I saw it!”
The truth is, I’m not a fan of science fiction, and my math and physics gene has always been weak. But there’s plenty in the book for those of us predisposed toward the humanities as well. Mrs Who, who remedies her language deficit by using the words of others to explain herself, quotes Dante, Euripides, and Cervantes, to name just a few. When Meg is trying to keep IT from invading her brain, she realizes the multiplication tables are too rote to do the trick and instead shouts out the opening of the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” IT retorts that that’s exactly the point: “Everybody exactly alike.” Meg replies triumphantly, “No! Like and equal are not the same thing at all!”
Madeleine L’Engle published Wrinkle in 1962, after it was rejected by dozens of publishers. And her description of the tyranny of conformity clearly reflects that time. The identical houses outside which identical children bounce balls and jump rope in mindless unison evoke the fear so many American’s had of Communist regimes that enshrined the interests of state-mandated order over the rights of the individual. “Why do you think we have wars at home?” Charles Wallace asks his sister, channeling the mind of IT. “Why do you think people get confused and unhappy? Because they all live their own separate individual lives.” He tells Meg what she already knows from her own everyday battles: “Differences create problems.”
But While L’Engle’s story may have originally been inspired by the gray sameness of those Communist countries, it still feels completely contemporary today, except maybe for Meg’s desire for a typewriter to get around her dreadful penmanship. The Murray home is fractured by Mr. Murrays’ mysterious absence and Meg’s “mother sleeping alone in the great double bed.” Calvin may look like a golden boy, but his family barely notices he’s alive. Even more timeless is the sense Meg has of herself as someone who doesn’t fit in, who does “everything wrong.” Conformity knows no time or place; it is the struggle all of us face, to be ourselves despite the overwhelming pressure to be like everyone else. Perhaps one of the most compelling and moving descriptions of that internal battle comes near the end of the book, when Mrs Whatsit tells the children that life, with its rules, it obligations, and its freedoms, is like a sonnet: “You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. What you say is completely up to you.”
On its surface, this is a book about three children who fight an evil force threatening their planet. But it is really about a more primal battle all human beings face, to respect, defend, and love themselves. When Meg pulls the ultimate weapon from her emotional arsenal to fight, for her little brother and for good, it is a great moment, not just for her, but for every reader who has ever felt overlooked, confused, alone. It has been more than four decades since I first read A Wrinkle in Time. If I could tesser, perhaps in some different time and place I would find a Meg Murray just my age, a grown woman with an astonishing brain, a good heart, and a unique perspective on how our differences are what makes life worth living. Oh, how I would like to meet her!
What would a birthday celebration be without presents? I am hosting a giveway so the readers of YABR can enjoy the book as much as I have. What are the prizes? I'm glad you asked...
- 2 prizes of: T-Shirt (size large), bookmark, button, a copy of A Wrinkle in Time
- 2 prizes of: Tote bag, button, bookmark, a copy of A Wrinkle in TIme
- 3 prizes of: A Wrinkle in Time: 50th Anniversary Commemoritive Edition, poster, button, bookmark
- 7 prizes of: button, bookmark
- 20 prizes of: bookmark
●Names will be drawn by random.org that is within rafflecopter. Winners will be notified by e-mail and will have 48 hours to respond or you forfeit your prize.
●Contest is international.
●Must be at least 13 years old to enter.
●I reserve the right to cancel the contest at any time without notice.
●I am not responsible to prizes lost or damaged in the postal system. I try to package things so this doesn’t happen, but the postal system isn’t infallible.
a Rafflecopter giveaway