A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

I love Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. The story is a stunning adventure of two children journeying through space to rescue their missing father from the terrifying IT.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’EngleA Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
on April 1, 2010
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Time Travel, Classics
Pages: 216
Length: 5 hours and 54 minutes
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, Audiobook
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It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.
"Wild nights are my glory," the unearthly stranger told them. "I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me sit down for a moment, and then I'll be on my way. Speaking of ways, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract."

A tesseract (in case the reader doesn't know) is a wrinkle in time. A Wrinkle in Time, winner of the Newbery Medal in 1963, is the story of the adventures in space and time of Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O'Keefe (athlete, student, and one of the most popular boys in high school). They are in search of Meg's father, a scientist who disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government on the tesseract problem.

Difficult themes in A Wrinkle in Time

The beauty of L’Engle’s storytelling, however, is that she presents difficult themes and asks challenging questions of her readers. One such question appears in the character of Mr. Murry, Meg’s father—the one they are trying to rescue.

The interesting thing about his character is that for every chapter leading up to his rescue, Meg expects him to be strong—above evil—and a perfect comforter. However, when she meets him, he is a shell of himself, not perfect by any means, confused and traumatized. Meg has to learn to accept that her father too is riding in the balance between good and evil. He’s not perfect. And that’s the question L’Engle asks of the children reading her book. What happens when you find out your parents are not perfect?

To love is to be vulnerable

Meg discovers, however, that though her father is far from perfect, he is also fighting against evil. He is much more like herself than she first imagined, trying to determine the right thing to do. Meg learns that family requires her to think of them just as much as they need to think of her. Her father cannot be everything for her, but they can still find love and teamwork in the grand struggle to fight for good and resist the temptations of evil.

In a powerful, narrator voice, L’Engle writes, “To love is to be vulnerable; and it is only in vulnerability and risk—not safety and security—that we overcome darkness.” Meg found relationship with her father not by purely receiving, but by being willing to accept him as he was and to trust that he would do the same.

Walking Alone

One thing that surprised me was the author sending Meg alone to save Charles Wallace. The book explains the reasoning behind this as Meg being the one who truly knows Charles. But as a reader it felt confusing why she would send her alone.

If it were up to me I would have sent her with companions. I think this just relates to how I live my own life though—I rarely travel alone. I have been learning to find the beauty in the times where I am alone by necessity, but ever since I was a kid I have truly believed that together is better.

Maybe my inner child responded to this part of the story because I don’t like to be alone. Maybe L’Engle picked up on the desire to be together as a common trait of children, and addressed the situation that many children find themselves in despite their fears; being alone. 

Madeleine L'Engle's Worldview

I have often wondered about the worldview of Madeleine L'Engle. Because of her propensity to stretch the thinking of a young reader, I approached her stories with caution. It wasn't until I read her thoughts on her creative process that I felt like I understood where she was coming from. She writes:

My feelings about art and my feelings about the Creator of the Universe are inseparable. To try to talk about art and about Christianity is for me one and the same thing, and it means attempting to share the meaning of my life, what gives it, for me, its tragedy and its glory.

Madeleine L'Engle, Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’EngleWalking on Water by Madeleine L'Engle
Published by Crown Publishing Group on October 11, 2016
Genres: Religion, Christian Living, inspirational, Essays, General
Pages: 224
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In this classic book, Madeleine L'Engle addresses the questions, What does it mean to be a Christian artist? and What is the relationship between faith and art? Through L'Engle's beautiful and insightful essay, readers will find themselves called to what the author views as the prime tasks of an artist: to listen, to remain aware, and to respond to creation through one's own art.


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