Is it a kid’s book or all ages one? Madeleine L’Engle’s classic (but not too classic) story A Wrinkle in Time, winner of the Newbery Medal for the Most Distinguished Contribution to American Literature for Children focuses on Meg and Charles Wallace Murry and their new friend Calvin O’Keefe through time and space on a mission to save Mr.Murry. While some argue that this work of science fiction is aimed at youth, it is actually a timeless piece that will transcend time and space itself.
A Wrinkle in Time tackles different scientific theories by putting them into play and describing them with simple words and emotions making them easily comprehensible. For example, L’Engle talks about tesseracts or anything which is four-dimensional. As the three heroes move through time and space, or tesser, L’Engle uses simple but effective words coupled by vivid descriptions of the event. This allows readers to fully grasp the advanced scientific and mathematical concepts. Some confuse L’Engle’s use of basic vocabulary as a way to aim her story at children. While I am sure that she is pleased for children to read her story, this does not mean that A Wrinkle in Time is a kid’s book. The use of base-level vocabulary simply makes these ideas accessible to everyone and not just rocket scientists.
Moreover, L’Engle’s characters all deal with absent and neglectful parents, a theme which is definitely not aimed solely at children. The Murray children practically grew up without their father who was kidnapped by the evil It. Charles Wallace had not ever even properly met his father. Calvin O’Keefe’s mother struggled to keep the house in proper sanitation and neglected her children. While these ideas are important for children to understand, it is certainly not limited to them. For all I know, reading about how these parent’s identities have shaped their children could give some parents a wake up call. In any event, the theme of unideal parenting is one that can resonate with any generation.
Further still, A Wrinkle in Time focuses more on timeless themes and morals than anything else meaning that it will withstand the test of time for all generations, not just children. L’Engle’s’ story, though it is classified as science fiction, is largely about love and how it connects all of us throughout the universe. From Meg’s sisterly love of Charles Wallace, Charles Wallace’s love of Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Which, to Calvin’s love for Meg, love is all over. Love is something timeless and will never fade away, and neither will A Wrinkle in Time.
It almost goes without saying that any book which has obtained a Newbery Medal is fantastic, but Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time is a truly extraordinary work of science fiction. Though many declare that it is a children’s story, it is in actuality a story for all ages or anyone who likes scientific theories explained simply, themes about absent or neglectful parents and enjoys a good old fashioned story about the power of love.
– Ainsley H