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A Reader of Fictions: Beware of Darkness - George Harrison

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Friday, November 4, 2011

Beware of Darkness - George Harrison

A Wrinkle in Time
Time Quintet, Book 1

Author: Madeleine L'Engle
Pages: 190
Publisher: Dell Publishing Co.

I first read A Wrinkle in Time at some point during my elementary school career, probably for class, although I'm really not sure now. At the time, I was completely blown away by it. My memory of the plot and characters was not completely accurate, even though I believe I reread it sometime in high school as well. Like with The Giver, A Wrinkle in Time is a beloved book from childhood that does not retain all of its majesty when read as an adult.

This is not to say, of course, that it's not an interesting read or a good book, just that some things I didn't notice then I recognize now. For example, there's a definite theology to the book that I missed entirely. The references to God are minimal, but full of impact when they occur. Without doing a careful study, I cannot say precisely what L'Engle's theology is, but I'm not entirely sure that I like it.

Another thing that displeased was the ending. The resolution of the story comes suddenly and was, at least for me, pretty unsatisfying. I do wonder whether that resolution had some effect on J.K. Rowling, because it is in some ways reminiscent of the end of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Another comparison I was able to make was that the science fiction bits remind me rather of the first book in C.S. Lewis' space trilogy.

What I loved about this book, and still do, was the understanding that intelligence comes in many forms, and that people are not always whom you expect them to be. Meg and Charles Wallace are both considered slow because they do not live the way 'normal' smart people do. Calvin seems normal, but is actually a huge nerd, who, unfortunately, I do not love quite so much now as I did as a child. He was definitely one of my first loves. A Wrinkle in Time urges the reader to think of the world in a new way, and that is fantastic.

Plus, it has dystopian elements. Hurrah! (Should I be cheering for that?) Anyway, the dark thing that is surrounding planets and instilling negative feelings is working on Earth. It's good to know that much of the trouble humans have is actually not our fault, right? Dystopia via giant, evil alien attacker. Sweet. You could maybe also include the planet Camazotz, which is another kind of dystopian society, although one that was in good functioning order.

P.S. I have an old edition of this (not of value or anything) from 1976. It's the kind where the pages are not all set right, so that on some pages the print tilts obviously, on others the paragraphs abut the outer edge of the book, and on others, the worst pages, the text runs into the spine. This makes reading rather difficult and sometimes results in puzzling out portions of words, but, on some level, I find it really charming how each book came out slightly different. It makes it seem less mass-produced and more special and just for you.

P.P.S. Am I the only one who thinks the evil face on the cover, which I'm guessing is supposed to be the brain from Camazotz, is entirely reminiscent of the Face of Bo? Except for the whole being imbued with menace thing?

"Watch out now,
Take care beware the thoughts that linger
Winding up inside your head
The hopelessness around you
In the dead of night
Beware of sadness

It can hit you, it can hurt you -
Make you sore and what is more,
That is not what you are here for"

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Blogger Nori said...

Interesting. There are two books that kind of made me who I am. 1) this one (because it got me to love reading books for fun), and 2) Ella Enchanted (because it inspired me to write my first short story. I've re-read this one a million times. And you're right; nothing beats reading it that first time, as a child. But, there's something I just can't put my finger on that allows it to still hold on to some of it's original inspiration for me.

Have you read When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead? I love how A Wrinkle in Time is incorporated into it.

November 4, 2011 at 11:03 PM  

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