Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle - Book Review #122

Thursday, December 9, 2010
A Wrinkle in Time
by Madeleine L'Engle

Everyone in town thinks Meg is volatile and dull-witted and that her younger brother Charles Wallace is dumb. People are also saying that their father has run off and left their brilliant scientist mother. Spurred on by these rumors, Meg and Charles Wallace, along with their new friend Calvin, embark on a perilous quest through space to find their father. In doing so they must travel behind the shadow of an evil power that is darkening the cosmos, one planet at a time.

As I mentioned not once in my reviews, I didn’t grow up in the USA. So not once I came across books that are widely popular in the USA, but completely unknown to me. It is either these books were never translated to Russian for some reasons, or if they were, they weren’t very popular in Russia because of cultural or some other aspects. A Wrinkle in Time is one of these books that I never heard of when I was in Russia and I kept hearing pretty much from everyone in the USA. So I just had to check it out what all these people are talking about. I just had to read the book that considered by many as their most favorite childhood story. I just had to read the book that got so many praises and awards; and even though it was published some forty years ago, it is still being read and loved by every next generation as much as by previous one.

My brief research showed that A Wrinkle in Time was never translated in Russian, at least not until quite recently. After reading this book, to tell you the truth, I wasn’t too surprised. It seemed to me that Madeleine L'Engle was a Christian writer. Of course, I’m only judging by one book and it might not be a case for her other novels. However, A Wrinkle in Time most definitely was written from a Christian point of view with a lot of references to “God”. That fact alone would have banned this book from USSR instantaneously. On top of it, A Wrinkle in Time was written during the Cold War times and as far as I know, books that were written at that time and especially by American writers weren’t even considered to be translated in Russian.

A Wrinkle in Time is a children’s book, so for adults that never read it before it probably will seem as sweet, cute and silly. I always believed that for a person to truly love a children’s book, it needs to be read first in the childhood. Otherwise, a person can learn to appreciate a children’s book, consider it to be a great book, but never truly love it.

Either it is for that reason, or maybe because of the cultural differences (Christian theme annoyed me quite a bit), but I can’t say that I love this book or that I will ever want to reread it on my own account. However, it doesn’t mean that I think it was a bad book. It is indeed a very good book for seven-twelve years old children. Madeleine L'Engle doesn’t talk down to the reader, like a lot of children’s books writers do. It is a compelling story that includes some interesting scientific theories, which explained quite well; fascinating adventures; thrilling danger; a fight against evil forces and it has very good meanings underneath it all – love, friendship and family. Even though these meanings are presented under Christian sauce, it doesn’t make these meanings less valuable or less universal. Plus Madeleine L'Engle doesn’t shove it into a reader’s throat, she doesn’t lecture a reader on this either, however it is still there and visible.

I would recommend this book for every child of age group seven to twelve and I would also recommend to every parent to advise this book to their children. I’m sure that in A Wrinkle in Time children will find a friend for life.


Post a Comment