Sunday, March 9, 2008

A Wrinkle in Time, Madeline L’Engle (Canon book group)

I first read this book back in 1978 or9, when I’d received it for Christmas. When our Canon book group chose this for our December read (because who wants to read something too complicated during such a busy month?), I came to find that my original copy could not be found. There’s a slim chance that there’s a box of unpacked books hiding somewhere, but I knew I couldn’t count on that. So, I picked up a copy from my local library and took a few hours to read it.

I know that most people treat this as a purely science fiction work, but I found many elements of fantasy throughout: the 3 entities who come across very witch-like, Meg’s coming-of-age choice at the end, the “waking” of Meg’s father, and so on. Of course, the scientific and religious elements were very important, but it was the “fairy tale” that stood out for me (and don’t forget the romance between Meg and Calvin).

I’m pretty certain I didn’t pick up on this when I first read Wrinkle, but L’Engle certainly referenced quite a few notable authors within the story; I can’t help but wonder if she was purposefully introducing these to young readers before the current education system ruined Einstein, Shakespeare and Euclid for them. I do wish that the slang weren’t so outdated.

Noteworthy quotes:

“There hasn’t been anybody, anybody, in the world I could talk to. Sure, I could function on the same level as everybody else, I can hold myself down, but it isn’t me.”

“The only way to cope with something deadly serious is to try to treat it a little lightly.”

“... we can’t take credit for our talents. It’s how we use them that counts.”

“There will no longer be so many pleasant things to look at if responsible people do not do something about the unpleasant ones.”

“You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. What you say is completely up to you.”

[finished 12/16/07]

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