How to Read “A Wrinkle in Time”

25 May

A Wrinkle in Time is one of the absolute best books ever written. Supposedly it is for children ages 8-12 but this is a lie. It is for EVERYONE. The thing is, A Wrinkle in Time can be a teensy bit difficult to understand. Which is a good thing. In a lot of books, the concept is super easy to understand, to the point that you can predict most of what happens and that gets kind of annoying. Especially if the author acts like he/she is writing a super clever book and thinks you should be SHOCKED by the twists when you were like OMG SHE SEES DEAD PEOPLE on like page 3 but the girl doesn’t figure it out until like page 300. (There are multiple books like this, just so you are aware). Anyway, Madeleine L’Engle does not actually spell everything out for you and keeps it surprising but she also does so in a way that allows you to figure stuff out in advance and feel pretty damn proud.

Anyway, so the best way to read this wonderful book is to read it as though you are Meg Murry, our delightful protagonist. Meg, you see, is quite smart. Sometimes she knows that she’s very smart but a lot of the time she doesn’t realize this. Part of the problem being that she is surrounded by other geniuses. Meg however is like most of us. We can understand difficult concepts and sometimes we get it because someone (like Calvin O’Keefe or Charles Wallace) explains it to us in a way that makes us go HOLY SHIT THAT IS SO SIMPLE, WHY DID NO ONE EVER TELL ME THIS. But sometimes we have to figure things out by going over and over it several times in our head until it finally makes sense. That’s Meg. She gets there, she just takes a little more time to get there. And the wonderful thing about the way Meg is written is that she never seems stupid or slow. She just has her own process and the people in the book who love her are happy to let her work out her process. Which is why I say to read the book like Meg.

*Sidenote*: Okay so the reason I am currently bringing up an older kids book and telling you how to read it and also saying that if you have somehow never read A Wrinkle in Time that YOU NEED TO GO READ IT RIGHT FUCKING NOW is a rabbit trail story. I have been reading up a storm these last few weeks and two days ago I read a book called Slide by Jill Hathaway (EWWW. AWFUL BOOK) . Then at work, I was looking up reviews for the book to see if people agreed with me. (Some did, others didn’t. This happens a lot in a world of people with opinions. Shocking, I know). So I went to FYA’s site to see if anyone there read/reviewed it. They haven’t yet which tells me they have excellent taste or just haven’t gotten to it. Anyway, that made me start reading other reviews (yay for people who share my love for Maureen Johnson) and I noticed there was a review for A Wrinkle in Time. Which promptly made me remember so many of my favorite lines, like “Like and equal are not the same thing at all” and “You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. What you say is completely up to you.” and my favorite characters of like all time. Seriously Calvin is right up there with Mr. Darcy and Gilbert Blythe and Barney Snaith and Perry Miller. (I like LM Montgomery characters in case you couldn’t tell). Naturally, this led to me rereading the book and wanting to write up a post on it and for some reason this is the angle I came up with. *End Sidenote*

So read the first chapter. Then read it again. And read it one more time. Trust me it helps. And every time you get a little stuck on something in the book, stop and reread those pages as many times as it takes to understand what’s going on. It’s what Meg would do. Once you’ve read the entire book, go back and read it through all over again. You’ll fall in love even more.

Then come back and talk to me about how much you still love A Wrinkle in Time even years later. Or how fricking perfect Calvin O’Keefe is (and if you don’t agree, keep your mouth shut or we won’t be friends). Or the way L’Engle makes me actually interested in science through her books. Also did anyone read The Arm of the Starfish? Because it’s one of my favorites but it seems like no one ever read it.

1 Comment

Posted by on May 25, 2012 in Books & Writers


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One response to “How to Read “A Wrinkle in Time”

  1. Angelized1st

    May 30, 2012 at 12:33 am

    I tried reading it a year ago when I was going to do the LOST booklist, but it was so weird I gave up. I guess since you like it I’ll give it another try. I feel you on being disappointed that no one seems to read one of your favorite books.

    One of my favorite books is Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King, and I’m flabbergasted no one has ever heard of it. I guess because there has never been a movie adaptation like most of his others. This book I recommend to you, because I think you’ll love it. It’s a fantasy story with tons of intrigue, and murder.


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