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Friday, January 11, 2013

What I’m Reading: A Wrinkle in Time

I first read Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time when I was in 5th grade.  I loved it then – even if I didn’t understand it all.  It was wonderful to read of lonely misfit kids like myself. They were nerdy and unpopular, like me. And I loved them.  It was perfect. It was wonderful.  I have, in the years since, read, and re-read Wrinkle and the following books in the series.  In fact I have read everything of hers that I could get my hands on.  Reading and re-reading them over and over and over again.   I say this without embarrassment – I love Madeline L’Engle.  And I have ever since I picked up that battered paperback in the school library.

There was an adaption of the book made for television a few years ago – but I refused to watch it.  (It was Disney after all!)  When asked in an interview if the film met her expectations, Madeline L’Engle responded, “Yes.  I expected it to be bad, and it was.” [i]  In her book Bright Evening Star L’Engle writes about reading the screenplay for this televised version of her book, and knowing immediately that it was going to be bad.  On the cover page was the title A Wrinkle in Time followed by the tagline “Love is Power.”  That’s when she knew that the screenplay author had failed to understand her book.

Because Love (capital L Love) is not power. Love is giving away power.

And though I am older and have read, and re-read this book many times over, this still baffles me.  I am still learning how to give myself away.

I have children now.  Two of them, one of each kind.  And they both love to read.  But, and I cannot understand this, they have thus far refused to read A Wrinkle in Time and the rest of the books concerning the Murry and O’Keefe families.  I am flummoxed. I am bewildered. How can they not want to read this book?  I want them to read it and to love it as much as I have.  I bought my daughter her very own copy of the book so she wouldn’t have to feel weird about reading my copy…  I’ve suggested it to them both. I’ve encouraged them.  I’ve even considered bribing them to read it.

But I think that this may not be right.  If they are to love it (capital L love it) then it cannot be forced upon them.  They will have to come to its wonder and its mystery of their own.

And even though I have refused to watch (or to even acknowledge the Disneyfied movie, I would like to see this opera based on the book:

The Film About The Opera About The Book: A Wrinkle in Time from Mark Birnbaum Productions on Vimeo.



  1. Try introducing them to some of the authors my daughters read and love:

    Terry Pratchett
    Douglas Adams
    Philip Pullman
    Neil Gaiman
    JK Rowling

    And now my youngest is having a wonderful time exploring questions about the universe with Richard Dawkin's THE MAGIC OF REALITY.

    All great authors who will stand the test of time.

  2. Thanks for the comment.

    They have both read Rowling and Gaiman. As I said, they do read, and read quite a lot. They just haven't picked up this particular favorite.

    1. Wonderful! The most recent cognitive studies show that the act of reading itself (regardless of the content of the reading matter) measurably increases the cognitive ability of students in problem solving, memory retention, and reading comprehension generally.


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