A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle

I probably should have seen this coming.

No one ever believes me when I say this, but I’m immune to nostalgia. Revisiting things from childhood often leaves me feeling let down, which might be a symptom of having had an unsatisfactory childhood to begin with. The really annoying thing about this is that I have to sometimes suffer through other people’s nostalgia, and then later be obliged to hold my real thoughts at bay when asked about it. Repeatedly people have asked me consume this or that other piece of media that they just loved and give my thoughts on it.

“Oh, it was fine…”

People always tell me that their particular patch of childhood sentiment is objectively good, and I wish i would learn to be skeptical.  I wasn’t when I saw A Wrinkle in Time repeatedly come up on list after list of the best science-fiction novels ever written.

No. No it isn’t. Really not at all.

A Wrinkle in Time follows Meg Murray and her siblings who, beset by some three entities end up rescuing their father from the clutches of literal evil. Yes, that last sentences is a synopsis, but it is also the best description of the force that holds their father captive. When one of their own numbers is caught by the evil during the course of the rescue, they later rescue said sibling in the most trite way conceivable.

My description should make my complaints clear. It all felt kind of vague and understated.

I’ve mentioned for some other books understanding that I may not be the exact target audience for that work. This is a children’s book, and I hope to have sufficiently muted my expectations of it beforehand. But even with that in mind, I really think we can do better for all the children out there. If I had a kid, I am not entirely sure I would let them read this. I might look for something else for them to tackle. Maybe even something a little more serious. Or perhaps more masterfully executed. I felt constantly that the story was rushed, and despite this there was a scene where one of the characters comments having lost their sense of time because they had been on this adventure for so long. The children go from their world, to the world of those assisting them, to the place where they need to do the rescuing in a literal blink of an eye. Teleportation is a big part of the story (using the awkward verb ‘to tesser’ from the noun ‘tesseract’. Yea, that’s not how that works either), but that just did more to take the journey out of this journey.

It felt unearned, and I don’t know what the big damn deal is.

Frankly, I have no idea. And I am happy this way.

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