Now that the movie for “A Wrinkle in Time” is coming out (starring Oprah in her fiercest role yet, natch), I was reminded about how much I loved reading the book while I was a just kid in middle school.
You may not realize the book was published in 1962 (authored by Madeleine L’Engle)–but it’s still relevant and enjoyable today and is considered a “classic” by many generations–which means it’s something you can keep rereading, and get your kids in on it too.
Here are some reasons why you probably loved the book–or will if you haven’t read it yet:
1. The protagonist is a girl, Meg Murry–a pioneering young woman in the science fiction genre. And in the film, she’ll be a biracial female protagonist, which is incredibly exciting.
2. Meg isn’t perfect. If anything, she’s written as awkward and not even an especially gifted student. She’s just a normal girl who feels insecure about her appearance, her social interactions, her schoolwork — everything, basically. That is such a valuable thing for girls to read–it enables them to not feel like the only girls who star in books are perfect “Mary Sues.” If you read the rest of the series, you even see Meg make some choices that leave her unhappy and unfulfilled. L’Engle really wanted you readers see her characters, even the most beloved ones, as flawed.
3. Like all the best YA novels, it reminds us that love is the most important thing of all. Meg realizes this major life lesson by the end of the book, considering the only thing she has, that her enemy, the nefarious entity IT doesn’t have, is love—indeed, IT can’t love because it destroys difference.
4. The novel shows that friendship can come from unlikely places. Calvin O’Keefe is a good-looking, popular jock at Meg”s school–and yet they become friends and co-adventurers (and crucially, Meg realizes he’s a lot more than meets the eye, and has his own problems).
5. Science is amazing—and so is spirituality. The unabashed science geekery mixed with liberal religious ideas in L’Engle’s book is a rare and potent combination in this moment of polarization. Can you love physics and wonder about the nature of a higher power? This book says: yes.