My Rating: 4 / 5 stars
Verdict: Buy Borrow Bypass
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
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”.
Meg’s father had been experimenting with this fifth dimension of time travel when he mysteriously disappeared. Now the time has come for Meg, her friend Calvin, and Charles Wallace to rescue him. But can they outwit the forces of evil they will encounter on their heart-stopping journey through space?
What a great story! This book has everything: heroes, villains, magical creatures, time travel, and a quest to save the world. This book is short and pretty plot heavy, which really keeps the story moving forward. I appreciated that while there was science involved, it wasn’t too complicated and L’Engle explains it well. It’s important to remember that this is a middle grade book, meaning the target audience here is about 8-12 years old. I also enjoyed that L’Engle chose to emphasize that the gifts that make us all unique can save the day. Each of the main characters in this story had something helpful to contribute as they tried to save the world, and they were able to help because they were allowed to be themselves.
I found the characters in this book to be very compelling. The three Mrs. Ws are an absolute delight! I enjoyed how they mysteriously guided the children and supported them in their own curious ways. But of all the characters, I found Charles Wallace to be the most unbelievable. Frankly, I find that funny considering all the other characters we meet in this story! Charles Wallace not only has a ridiculous name, but he’s beyond wise and precocious for his years. Given his age, I found his behavior to be absurdly unrealistic. I believe L’Engle wrote him this way for some comedic relief, but even so, his actions and word choice were a bit jarring at times.
I was pleased to see the three children tasked with teaming up to save the day, and that Meg, the only young girl, is our protagonist. Personally, I think she could have been a bit more hands on with the world saving, and I hope the new movie expands her role. I loved that Meg was good at science and math, and enjoyed doing those things and especially enjoyed working together with her father. I would have liked to see a little more of that interaction with her mother, as well. And speaking of her parents, the book does not address how Meg’s father came to be the one on the mission instead of her mother. It’s made clear that they are both scientists and worked together on projects. I’m hopeful that the new movie will expand Meg’s mother’s role and allow the audience to see her more engaged with science.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I breezed through it and had a great time, making me wish I’d read this when I was younger! This book was 4 stars for me because of the underlying Christianity message and some of the 1960s gendered stereotypes. I’m eager to see how the new movie adaptation tackles some of these elements. I think this would be a great read aloud with children and a great series to introduce younger readers to science fiction.
This book is…
a quick read
Publisher: Square Fish
Genre: science fiction
Page Count: 256
Available here from Book Depository.
Have you read A Wrinkle in Time? What do you think of the new movie adaptation?