Wednesday, December 19, 2007

WFMW or FIR #10 – A Wrinkle In Time

There's just a few days left before Christmas, and if you're still looking for a great gift for those hard to please tweeners, this gift may just be the answer to your search.

With the success of Harry Potter and the renewed interest of the Chronicles of Narnia, I thought I would read a fantasy book that paved the way to my great love of reading: A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle. What a powerful, capturing author L’Engle was!

How can you go wrong when a story starts as such?: It was a dark and stormy night.

The story surrounds three main characters: 
  • Meg Murry, a volatile and stubborn ninth grade girl who is regarded as a bad-tempered underachiever by both her peers and her teachers; 
  • Charles Wallace Murry, a complete genius at age five – but since he rarely speaks to anyone save his family, most of the town deems him dumb since no one takes the time to understand him; 
  • Calvin O’Keefe, a junior who is unwanted at home, but accepted at school because he excels at basketball. Despite the accolades at school, he feels that he is a pretender because he can’t be who he knows himself to be – except with the Murrays, especially with Meg.

These three characters join together with some mysterious, immortal characters (Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which) to save Mr. Murry, a scientist who has gone missing. (Town rumors indicate that he left Mrs. Murray - a gorgeous, loving, brilliant scientist in her own right - for another woman, but the all know the rumor to be false on every count.) They must tesseract, or travel through space and time through the fifth dimension, to Camazotz to save Mr. Murray who has been imprisoned by an evil disembodied brain with powerful telepathic abilities, which the frightened inhabitants of Camazotz call "IT".

This story is neither a tale where superheroes save the day, nor is it completely science fiction, although it shares elements of both. The travelers must rely on their individual and collective strengths, delving deep within themselves to find answers that will save everyone from the evil powers of IT.

I forgot what a wonderfully mind-stretching story it is. I distinctly remember the first time I read it: there was a part where the group was traveling through time and space and they kids go through a two-dimensional time/place. I recall feeling that my heart was squished just like Meg’s; my heart had the heavy, strained beat like the characters had, and I could barely breath for the pressure that I felt at becoming two dimensional in my mind.

As an adult, I loved reading the religious overtones in the book. On several occasions, scriptures were quoted in context to the story and when the children are asked to name other who fight darkness Jesus is the first to be named, among many others who were artists, leaders, teachers and philosophers. Ultimately, it is the story of individuals fighting evil so that goodness can prevail.

Another bonus is that this book starts another series, so if I can get The Girl to start on it, I’ll have a future gift-giving selection in line. So if you’re looking for another gift to give or just another series to reacquaint yourself as an adult, let me heartily recommend A Wrinkle In Time. There’s a reason it’s a classic.

Now head on over to Shannon's for some other great Christmas ideas!  (And Merry Christmas to you all!)

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