Ally’s #32: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

 

A Sunday afternoon just isn’t a Sunday afternoon without a fun book to curl up with. A girlfriend brought this to me at church and assured me that if I loved the Narnia series, I would be delighted with L’Engle’s science-fiction/fantasy stories. I’m so grateful for friends who enjoy reading!

This book started out commonly enough, with the author introducing us to the children and (temporarily) single parent of the Murray household. The family was known for its intelligence, but the eldest daughter (Margaret) and youngest boy (Charles Wallace) were thought to be apples fallen very far from the tree of genius possessed by both their parents. Mr. and Mrs. Murray are scientists…scientists of such caliber that Mr. Murray heads up Top Secret government missions exploring such scientific theory as time-bending. One such mission has kept him away from home for more than a year without so much as a letter to comfort his family in his absence.

Even still, the family hopes beyond hope, and little Charles, Margaret, and a new friend, Calvin, have the opportunity to aid in Mr. Murray’s rescue. Guided by the mysterious instruction of Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which (former stars and angelic beings), the children are shown tangibly that which their mother and father had studied for so long–the tesseract. It is the fifth dimension that allows one to bend time and travel faster than the speed of light, to galaxies far beyond the Milky Way.

To help the children understand the enemy that holds their father and their world in its shadow, the three Misses take them to a planet where they can see and asses the darkness that lingers between worlds. The children recognize it as pure evil, and become even more determined to save their father from it. Little Charles has a gift of understanding unlike his sister, and Calvin has the gift of communication that sets him apart from the Murray children. Calvin also has a special interest in Margaret, lovingly protecting her every step of the way. Margaret, sadly, has the “gift” of her faults to rely on. Her stubbornness, her impatience, and her quick temper are predicted to bring her through the journey alive.

Without giving away the whole story, I’ll say that what the children encounter is frightening. It’s not violence, it’s not death, and it’s not a big, scary monster waiting for them…it’s an insidious, penetrating wall of lies that threatens to consume them, heart, mind, and body. It beckons to them with promises of freedom from all responsibility. Indeed, the decision to enter into this evil is the “last difficult decision” they ever need to make, because once they’ve been consumed, the darkness thinks for them and dictates their every thought, move, and breath. They would become less than a shadow of their former selves.

This book was an easy read, and falls into the category of books that I’d love to read to my children some day. While the Narnia books symbolically offer theological truths, A Wrinkle In Time has direct quotations from the Bible that offer God’s truth to young readers. I’m very curious to see where the author takes this series, and where the Murray family goes from here.

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