Do any of y’all remember reading Madeline L’engle’s A Wrinkle in Time when you were a child?
A couple of days ago, I finished reading it to my fifteen year old son, John. Yes, my fifteen year old. Reading out loud to my children is possibly my greatest achievement as a parent … it’s certainly one of the areas in which I’ve been the most consistent. Some other time I’ll tell you more about our reading adventures, but for now I wanted to talk about A Wrinkle in Time.
A Wrinkle in Time starts off with an awkward teen-aged girl and like many older books (it was first published in 1962 — I was four years old) it’s a bit “wordy” in providing the setting. After one chapter, my son had decided he didn’t need to hear about this girl and her problems. I forced him to listen to a second chapter, assuring him it would get better. By the end of that chapter, he was exhibiting one of his rare rebellions: he was NOT going to listen to A Wrinkle in Time. I admitted defeat, and decided to read him The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara, instead.
But his older brother happened to see A Wrinkle in Time lying on the counter, and he said, “Oh, wow … are you reading A Wrinkle in Time to John? I loved that book! Not only do I credit it with my ability to comprehend Kurt Vonnegut, but it’s how I learned to understand awkward teen-aged girls!” John thinks his older brother is pretty cool. I could see Grey’s spontaneous enthusiasm working on him. So I resolved to try one more time, and when I walked into the room carrying the book, his older sister saw the book and exclaimed, “Oh, are you reading A Wrinkle in Time to John? I loved that book!” And John just rolled his eyes and sighed; it was his turn to admit defeat.
The premise of A Wrinkle in Time is that love conquers evil. Not only is this a true and timeless message, but it’s so clearly delivered that the meaning doesn’t have to be wrestled from the text.
And don’t forget: it’s reading could have the side effect of helping all you young men know how to deal with awkward teen-aged girls one day!
Photo is of our very old, quite worn and well loved copy of A Wrinkle in Time.