23 March 2018

Revisit: A Review of A Wrinkle in Time,

Succumbing to trend, I am revisiting an old classic.The newly released Hollywood film adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time has led me to my third floor bookcase in search of my dusty copy. I must somehow identify with this book again, erase the earwig of Oprah hearing a voice in the universe, and properly evaluate my perspective without popular distractions. The probability of me watching the film is slight having a phobia of movies ruining a good book - This is I desperately staying on topic without addressing every adaptation of Dune. Are not books to be imagined? Truly, the printed word in essence is enough? 

I was one of those children who at breakfast would prop a book up against the milk carton, even read the carton for those dire days when a book was not at hand. James and the Giant Peach defined me, as did Crunchy chocolate bars, salt n' vinegar chips and cream soda pop. The definition of young girl's heart beats deep with junk food specializations, a deep love of purple and her favourite book. My elementary years were spent laughing riotously along with the hijinks being had at Macdonald Hall, visualizing what could possibly be through the wardrobe and sleuthing along with Nancy.  And yet, my reading self somehow never came across Madeleine L'Engle's The Time Quintet. Surely, someone failed me in my past and so I righted this wrong reading A Wrinkle in Time in my late 30s and promptly forgetting it. This gap in memory lures me back, that and Oprah and Reese, let us not forget Reese. 

Where is Mr. Murry? Two years of town gossip, and still his family insists he hasn't left them for another woman. Sporting another black eye, Meg returns home from school. If it isn't defending her absentee father then it's the snide remarks about her baby brother Charles Wallace, Meg's young life is full of turmoil. That night listening to the howls of a storm thrash against the old farmhouse, Meg retreats to the safely of the kitchen for a glass of cocoa. As expected, Charles Wallace, her baby brother of merely four is waiting not only for her but her mother. As the three set upon their midnight snacks, a witch appears, having blown off course by the storm. 

Any critique of a cherished children's book is fraught with complications. Our childhood books encapsulate our dreams, memories and wonder. Any revisit of a classic could possibly unhinge the magical quality the book once held. I read A Wrinkle in Time with soft eyes, careful in my harsh science fiction gaze, hoping to realign with my 10-year-old self. Is the story of Meg, Charles Wallace and their friend Calvin an allegoric tale of the importance of family, an identification of self, or a multi-faceted exploration of the space time continuum, questioning the role of God and our place in the universe? 

With many a science fiction book I open, time travel to the fifth dimension has less to do with the physics and much more to do with our humanity. The alien qualities of Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which, even Aunt Beast provide the main characters with the tools to find the inherent truths to life. A Wrinkle in Time is in essence a story about love. Although my adult self found the reading flat, less opulent in fantastic descriptors than I enjoy, A Wrinkle in Time continues to shine. It revels in the splendour of possibilities, all while speaking with intention to children.