A Wrinkle in Time- Madeleine L’Engle

A Wrinkle in Time bantam cover

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle was April’s pick for Book Hoarders Anonymous, an online book group hosted by Alison of The Cheap Reader.

This book is such a classic.  I read it once as a kid and remember loving it, although science fiction was never really my thing. A Wrinkle in Time follows Meg, her frighteningly smart kid brother, Charles Wallace, and genius basketball star Calvin as they travel through space and time with the guidance of three “witches” on a journey to return Meg’s father back home.

  • I love Meg.  She is uncomfortable in her own skin and has a very hard time at school, but she is clearly quite intelligent and fiercely protective of those she loves.  She is also flawed, but in the end she comes to realize that these flaws are not always such terrible detriments.  Plus she is a girl who is good at math.  I love a character who defies stereotypes!
  • I also love Charles Wallace.  The kid is creepy smart and has some sort of mind-reading abilities.  But he is a fun character as such a self-assured, sickeningly smart five-year old.
  • There is remarkable beauty in the some of the worlds that L’Engle creates, but there is also pure evil in them, too.  And then, there is the ambiguity of Earth.  It is kind of a fun ride to see the imaginative worlds Meg, Charles, and Calvin get to visit.
  • There are some great themes in this book– the power of love and the coming of age, particularly grappling with the knowledge that your parents are not infallible.
  • There is one scene in this book that has stuck in my memory for years.  The kids land in Camazotz, the town/planet where their father is trapped and the first thing they notice is a bunch of small kids in front of the houses bouncing balls simultaneously.  I had forgotten what book this scene was from, but I always think of it when I read about strict conformist societies.
  • This book is often remarked upon because there are some pretty complicated (but disguised as friendly and easy to understand!) science concepts in here.  It’s like candy-coated physics or something because I sort of understood time travel there for a minute.

All in all, this is a fun, short, beautiful book.  If you’ve never given it a try and like science fiction, I’d highly recommend you read it or share it with your middle schoolers.  It is a classic kid’s book for a reason!