1963 Medal Winner
"It was a dark and stormy night." This is truly how this book starts. Am I the only one who remembers that Snoopy always started his novels like that in the comic strip? hee hee. ANYHOW, I started reading this one because Emily's class was doing a family novel study, and she and I read it together and every week answered questions about each chapter. Now, THAT is my kind of homework, lol! I was excited this one was chosen, because I was actually fortunate enough to not only MEET author Madeleine L'Engle in person, but took part in an award ceremony in her honor! This was back when I was a Teen Team volunteer for Tulsa Public Libraries. I still have the book that she autographed for me (it's actually the sequel to this book...)
Ok, on to what it is actually about...it is about a girl named Meg - a very smart, but socially awkward girl, her scientist parents - including a father who mysteriously disappeared some time ago, twin brothers, and young Charles Wallace - an extremely bright young boy who has a special relationship with Meg. Meg, Calvin, and Charles Wallace meet 3 very unusual ladies - Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which, and Mrs. Whatsit who show them how to "tesser" (basically, this is a wrinkle in time). The ladies bring them to their father, who had discovered the tesseract, and was in the grip of the evil IT. Charles Wallace quickly falls victim to this evil being, and it is up to Meg to figure out how to save her father and brother.
This book is FULL of allegory. It symbolizes the fight between good and evil, angels and demons, God and Satan. L'Engle does not dance around religion in this book either, which makes me respect her even more. (When I met her, we actually discussed Christianity. She is Episcopalian, and I was also at the time...) When Meg's father admitted that he was unable to rescue Charles Wallace, he tells Meg, "We were sent here for something. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose." There are many other direct references to the Bible. I believe the underlying message of this book is that if we put all of our faith in God and always remember His love for us, Satan will have no hold on our lives.
I read this book a looooooong time ago, and to be honest, I'm not sure I finished it then. It would be very difficult for children to pick up on all the symbolism. The story without the symbolism - eh, let's just say I am not a fan of science fiction. But, I am a sucker for symbolism in literature. I cannot wait to discuss the ending of this book with Emily and talk about the message behind it!
Overall, two thumbs up from me!