A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
3 out of 5 stars
I never read this book as a kid. Just skipped right past it. And I can't decide if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Reading it as an adult left me confused and a little bit jaded. But I honestly can't see how a child could read this with any kind of comprehension of the plot. Since this is considered a classic, spoilers will be free-for-all, so beware if you want to give it a shot yourself.
The story starts out well enough with 15 year old Meg lamenting her high school career, or rather the lack of it. She's considered "weird" because her parents are highly intelligent scientists and her youngest brother (5 year old Charles Wallace) doesn't speak much in public. Meg is smarter than she seems or acts, as is Charles Wallace, but it's not helping them much. On "a dark and stormy night", the Murry family is visited by a strange creature named Mrs Whatsit, who mentions to their mother that the tesseract is a real thing. In case you're not up on your scientific studies, a tesseract is essentially, a wrinkle in time. Don't ask me to explain it further, there's math involved and I'm just not up for that. (This comic by Faith Erin Hicks probably explains it better than me!)
This is about when we get into the strange and unusual. Mrs Whatsit, along with her 2 friends (sisters?) Mrs Who and Mrs Which, take Meg, Charles Wallace, and a school friend of Meg's named Calvin on an amazing adventure thru time and space to save the Murry's father. He has been missing for quite some time and it is up to the children to find and rescue him from Evil, even though they have no idea what they are doing most of the time. There are fantastical creatures, 2 dimensional planets, Mediums with crystal balls, Dark Evil Things, and a planet where every person and thing is perfectly in sync with the next. It is on this planet that the children's father is being imprisoned by IT...a disembodied brain controlling everything around it. Pretty creepy.
Side note: does anyone remember the Galactic Milieu series by Julian May? I loved those books but got grounded (because of bad grades) from reading the last one in 9th grade and now I can't remember if I ever read it. I should pick those up sometime and reread them.
Another side note: was I the only one who got grounded from reading books? Lol...
Okay, moving on. The children free their father but in the process, lose Charles Wallace to IT. He is turned into a pod person and they escape to another planet before IT gets Meg as well. Meg is severely injured when they tesser (you know, move thru time) but is taken care of by the strange creatures on the planet, whom she calls Aunt Beast. I think this was probably my favorite chapter. The gentleness and quiet laughter from Aunt Beast was so refreshing for Meg and me.
"How strange it is that they can't tell us what they themselves seem to know."
"They are very young. And on their earth, as they call it, they never communicate with other planets. They revolve all alone in space."
"Oh, aren't they lonely?"
In the end, it is Meg who goes back to save Charles Wallace and she does so with love. Yep, love is the only thing IT doesn't have. Convenient, right? But that's okay, I still kind of teared up. The 3 children and their father tesser back home, where they are reunited with the rest of the Murry's in the vegetable garden.
"How did all this happen? Isn't it wonderful? I feel as though I were just being born! I'm not alone any more! Do you realize what that means to me?"