Review: “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle

A Wrinkle in Time (Time #1) by Madeleine L’Engle

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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 sit down for a moment, and then I’ll be on my way. Speaking of ways, 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 unusual book. A Wrinkle in Time, winner of the Newbery Medal in 1963, is the story of the adventures in space and time of Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O’Keefe (athlete, student, and one of the most popular boys in high school). They are in search of Meg’s father, a scientist who disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government on the tesseract problem.

3 stars

BLAST FROM THE PAST TIME!

Okay, well, maybe from YOUR past. I honestly never read this book as a child. I have been told this was a crime against my childhood, and I can sort of see why.

I don’t think you can get the same experience from A Wrinkle in Time as an older person.

I mean, at 18 I’m aware I’m not ancient by any standards. But, upon a survey of the college class I had to read this for, most people read this the first time between the ages of 8-12. I can’t even begin to describe what kind of reading that must have been because I can’t fathom it. But I think it would have given the book a better light than my jaded brain.

The synopsis of this book calls it unusual, but I still wasn’t ready for the overall strangeness of the book. Absolutely nothing within the pages struck me as normal or commonplace, from the twists to the characters actions. It took a good fourth of the book before my rational brain settled down enough for me to read anything without going, “NUH-UH!”

The characters were where my real problem lay. Despite what I think we were trying to be told, I didn’t find Meg to be a strong character at all. She was impulsive, whiny and far too prone to crying. I understand trying to create a more realistic character by adding flaws, but like the writers of today are prone to do, Meg has too many of them. It really isn’t necessary to hit us over the head with the fact that Meg isn’t like the other girls. We get it.

Charles Wallace just reminded me of the kid from The Shining. That is all. Dude creeped me out.

Everyone else was pretty eh. They weren’t great, but they weren’t wonderful either. They were honestly all pretty flat.

Honestly, I think my biggest problem with this book was the ending–or rather, the lack thereof. It wasn’t a cliffhanger, no. But it wasn’t a formed ending, either. There is this giant build up to the final showdown, and then all the sudden the book goes AND IT’S OVER HAPPY TIMES! I actually missed the ending of the final showdown on my first read through and was left utterly confused by the sudden transition to a cabbage patch.

Actually, there is a great deal less to talk about from this book than I thought. A lot of the book just seems to deal with the characters talking about what’s going to happen or what has happened. Very little is the actual doing of things.

I do so wish I had read this as a younger child (though younger me was just as skeptic as older me still is…). There are some experiences you just can’t get back.

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9 thoughts on “Review: “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle

  1. Oh, man. I read this book in 6th grade and I absolutely HATED it. I can’t even remember exactly why. I just know it was torturous to read, and I was so glad when it was over (but also kind of confused/disappointed with the ending, like you).

    I’ve never understood why so many people like it, but haven’t gotten the courage to try reading it again.

      • Hmmm, yeah, maybe someday I’ll read it again. If I can get it from the library, because I won’t spend money on it, lol. If I do, I’ll come back here and let you know what I think. 🙂

  2. I read this for the first time over the summer, and I agree with you about the characters and the ending. The ending was a little too easy. I’m not so sure 8-12 year olds could handle this book so well, although I know it is taught to those age levels often. It has a lot of complex ideas, which redeemed the novel for me, but those ideas would be difficult for youngsters to grasp.

    However, I concede that a 12 year old would probably enjoy the characters and the ending better than we do now.

    Great review, Gretchen!

    • Thank you! I agree, the ideas are complex, but at least they illustrate with pictures. 😛 I think the reason it works when you’re younger is that you’re ready to accept the crazy ideas, even if you don’t understand them. As an adult, you do more questioning when you think things aren’t realistic or something. 😛

  3. “I honestly never read this book as a child. I have been told this was a crime against my childhood, and I can sort of see why.”

    Yep, me too. I haven’t read this series and I keep meaning to. Thanks for the adult-point-of-view review.

  4. Mallory says:

    Yay! Someone agrees with me! I feel I’m the only person I know who hated it. It was the ending, I can’t really remember how believable the characters were.

  5. It’s funny that you just reviewed this, because I’m reading this book now, too. I had been meaning to try it again for a while now, and I saw it on my boyfriend’s shelf, so I decided to read it. I know I read the first one as a kid, but I don’t remember having strong feelings either way, and I remember nothing about the plot. I’m only three chapters in, and I’m not understanding why people think it’s so great. I’m still early on, but your review leads me to believe I’m right in assuming it won’t get better.

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