Review: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
I'm going to start this review with a confession. When I was thirteen, almost fourteen, I got ditched by a girl that I had been friendly with for some time. I was rather hurt about this and got my revenge in a rather strange (and mean) way. Her favourite book was A Wrinkle in Time. Now, at that time, this book was out of print in Australia, and ordering books online wasn't really a thing, so the only copy that my (former) friend had access to was at the local public library. I took great delight in borrow the single copy and keeping it for as long as I could without incurring a fine, or sometimes, I'd find it on the library shelves and go and hide it somewhere else in the library. Over the course of a few months I put it with the dog books, in the knitting section among the small range of VHS tapes and well ... you get the idea, until I eventually got bored with it and moved on. The only problem with this nasty little scheme of mine (apart from the fact that it prevented everyone else from reading the book too,) was that I never actually bothered to read it. In fact, I hadn't even thought about this book in years, until I learned that Disney had made it into a film and I discovered a movie-tie in edition for sale at QBD. (And no, I was not tempted to buy all the copies.) Anyway, I decided to buy a copy and discover for myself what the big deal was about this book.
And, well, it was okay. Cool. I probably would have got a lot more out of it when I was younger, but such is life. Anyway, the story revolves around Meg, an intelligent young women. Meg's parents are scientists, and her younger brothers are well liked around town. Meg and her youngest brother, Charles Wallace--an apparent child genius--are often considered stupid by those around them. Charles Wallace did not talk at all until he was about four and now only speaks to people that he likes. Meg on the other hand, takes little interest in school, is easily distracted, is often defiant and has trouble getting along with others her own age. Anyway, Meg's father has been missing for about a year, which is the subject of a lot of gossip for the local townspeople. Anyway, it turns out that Mr Murray been stuck on another planet. Three mysterious women give the family news of him before sending Meg, Charles Wallace and Calvin--an older boy who also feels as though he doesn't quite fit in--on a quest through a wrinkle in time to rescue Mr Murray. And it is Meg, the least gifted of the three, who might just be able to save them all ...
Undoubtably, this would be an exciting read for kids or for anyone who feels as though they don't quite fit in--what isn't said is quite interesting, as is my guesses about what the author may or may not have known about Autism and ADHD in 1962 and whether her writing was intended to be accurate portrayals of kids with these symptoms. (Charles Wallace is almost certainly somewhere on the spectrum, Meg may or may not be, but she also shows signs of ADHD.) It also raises the question--is it even fair for a reviewer to label the characters when the author does not do so? It also demonstrates the isolation that some kids who are smart, but who do not do well at school, feel in their everyday lives.