Book Review: Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time

Posted February 4, 2012 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews, Young Adult readers

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time

A Wrinkle in Time


Madeleine L'Engle

time travel that was published by Yearling Books on March 15, 1973 and has 211 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

A young adult adventurous time traveling story in the sci-fi universe.

In 1965, A Wrinkle in Time won the Oklahoma Sequoyah Award, and in 1963 it won the Newbery Medal. In 1964, it was nominated for the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award.

My Take

A brilliant and very intelligent exploration of time/space travel for three children on a mission to rescue their father and save the world with a sideways observation of how losing a parent affects a child.

L’Engle incorporates a good bit from Shakespeare from sonnets to the three witches who toil and trouble as well as a Mrs. Who who speaks primarily in quotations with just a hint of Beatrix Potter. There is an underlying story of it’s okay to be different.

The beginning of the story introduces us to the underlying issues affecting the members of the household and setting us up for its main premise. L’Engle does provide a nice explanation of the five dimensions as well as one for those who throughout history have fought the darkness on our planet.

As enjoyable as the story was, the purpose for which the “stars” traveled with Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin is rather vague. L’Engle also left a couple of loose threads: what happened with the beasts and were the residents of Camazotz freed?

The Story

It’s a series of encounters as we meet the important family members with their strengths and fears, the traveling entities so interested in their actions, and the neighbor with an extra gift…just as Charles Wallace has a gift. All very carefully mysterious as L’Engle entices us further down the path.

The wrinkle in time that takes us further from our own world into an Orwellian nightmare of a planet in which a shadow of darkness is sucking away individuality and threatening the Earth. The warning that Charles Wallace does not heed.

And home with a sadder and wiser Meg.

The Characters

Mrs. Murry has been holding the homefront together for some time as she waits for her husband Dr. Murry to return from his top-secret mission for the government. The children, Charles Wallace is the youngest with the most flexible, discerning mind and Meg is the oldest with massive impatience and a mathematical outlook while Dennys and Sandy are the sports-minded, normalest ten-year-old twins. Fortinbras is their rescued dog.

Calvin O’Keefe is also different, and an older classmate of Meg’s. He confesses that he gets compulsions and has learned to not avoid them.

Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Which, and Mrs. Who are transient ladies who have arrived in time to take the children to accomplish, I think, the rescue of their father. Medium provides a homey interruption for the children to “call” home.

IT is the brain that runs the entire planet of Camazotz. Aunt Beast is a a member of the species on whose planet Dr. Murry, Meg, and Calvin land when he tessers them away from Camazotz.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a collage of Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which as they soar over a fence-post-like landscape crossed by centaurs. Within this, there is an arched window in which the children are visible with a robed and turbaned figure holding a globe of a vision over its head.

The title refers to how the stars travel. Instead of a straight line which could take forever, they use A Wrinkle in Time. A fold which shortens the distance.