A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle (1962)

I’ve never been much of a fantasy fan but a long time ago I picked up Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time based on the recommendation of a friend. As a title targeted to the young adult crowd, I hoped that it would be a bit more down to Earth. I enjoyed the earlier chapters which are more character introductions and, coincidentally, are actually all set on Earth. But once things got ‘off world’ I found it to be too mystical and magical for my tastes.

In a nutshell, it is the story about a young girl, Meg Murry, and her brother, Charles Wallace Murry, who set out to find their father who disappeared mysteriously years before. Aside from being constantly being called by his dual first name throughout, Charles Wallace is as odd a boy as you will ever encounter who seems to already live a world of his own and seems to have special mind reading abilities.

They first meet three witches, Mrs’ Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which who set them off on the journey along with another boy, Calvin, a fellow social outcast from their school. They visit an odd lot of planets culminating in finding their dad on the planet Camazots where he is a virtual prisoner of an evil entity. Using the abilities of each of the children they manage to free first the father, leaving behind Charles Wallace, and subsequently have Meg return alone to free her brother.

Peppered with poetic and biblical passages the travels beyond their home world are not in the least interesting to myself. I’m sure that having Mrs. Whatsit transform from a bespectacled, outlandishly clothed ‘witch’ into a winged centaur-like creature has some deep symbolic meaning that I missed, but to me it was just another magical sequence insignificant to the overall story.

As is often the case when religious references are used in fiction, some find offense to that content. It didn’t bother me in the least, but that’s because I’m not a good catholic and didn’t even recognize most of that content as biblical in the first place. (Yeah, I’m going to hell)

So, once again, when it comes to fantasy, I’ll stick with Pratchett’s Discworld. At least they’re funny.


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