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Book Review by Robin Widmar

“A Wrinkle in Time”

While I typically try to not review books that have been recently made into a movie, I was determined to write about my favorite childhood book, ìA Wrinkle in Time.î While I had first read this book, written by Madeleine LíEngle, as a child; I have read it numerous time since then and most recently for this review.The main character, Meg Murray, is an awkward, gangly teenage girl who struggles to find her place among her peers. Her greatest comfort is her time spent with her young brother, Charles Wallace. Her parents are both scientists, her mother a microbiologist and her father a physicist, which causes some curiosity and animosity among the townspeople. In particular, the fact that Mr. Murray had been missing for several years, supposedly on a scientific mission, evokes negative curiosity and gossip.While Megís younger brothers, Dennys and Sandy, are well-liked at school and by the community at large, she and Charles Wallace are seemingly at odds with anyone outside of their family. Charles Wallace is known by the family to be extremely intelligent. However, he tends to not speak in front of others, so he is thought to be slow and peculiar. She and Charles Wallace share a special bond, and he seems to have an uncanny awareness of what she is thinking without her telling him. The story begins at the Murryís home on a stormy night. Meg is in her room in the attic, thinking about all the things that went wrong in her day (particularly having been in a fight with an older boy in defense of Charles Wallace) and she decides to go down to the kitchen for a cup of hot cocoa. She finds Charles Wallace in the kitchen waiting for her with the hot cocoa already cooking. Soon after Mrs. Murry joins them, a strange, bedraggled woman knocks unexpectedly at the door. While Meg is more than a little suspicious about the woman, Charles Wallace seems to know her well. Her name is Mrs. Whatsit, and her interaction with Megís family is curious at best. She leaves as unexpectedly as she arrived, with a random comment about tesseracts, a scientific concept Megís parents had been exploring.The next day, Meg is again confronted with her inability to get along with her peers. When she arrives home, Charles Wallace is waiting for her, already knowing she had a bad day. He insists that they find Mrs. Whatsit, as he feels she can help Meg. Along the way, they come across Calvin OíKeefe, a boy a few grades ahead of Meg. Calvin is smart, athletic and popular, which makes his nearly immediate connection to Meg and her brother surprising.The new trio finds Mrs. Whatsit and two of her equally eclectic friends, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which. After a surprising discussion about Megís father being alive but detained in a battle against the darkness in the universe, the three are transported across time and space through a tesseract. Mr. Murry is held captive on a planet, which has succumbed to the Black Thing, which represents the evil in the world. Before being deposited on the dark planet, Camazotz, where Mr. Murry is held, Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Which reveal that they were once stars, who sacrificed their lives in the battle of good versus evil.Meg, Calvin, and Charles Wallace are all tested and challenged in different ways by IT, the ruler of Camazotz. While they are eventually able to locate and rescue Mr. Murry, Charles Wallace is lost to IT. It is Megís defiance and stubbornness, which causes her much conflict at school, that allows her to free her beloved brother. She is able to overcome the evil of IT with the power of her love for Charles Wallace.ìA Wrinkle Timeî is beautifully written, with many verbal depictions that bring the readerís imagination to life. It is a story about good versus evil, but portrayed in such a way as to be agnostic and nearly universal in its meaning. The book illustrates how oneís weaknesses and vulnerabilities can be utilized as strengths, as well as demonstrating how oneís arrogance as to certain strengths can be a detriment. While I am certain that the movie does the book justice, some childhood memories are best left preserved.

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