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L'Engle Love

12.17.2008

I've been listening to A Wrinkle in Time on audiobook, letting Madeleine's strange New England accent take over my imagination and lead me gently back to childhood/adolescence.  Where would I be without this woman's writing?  (Adulthood?)  I used to claim liking this book least of all, preferring the stories of Polly (Polyhymnia) O'Keefe and Vicky Austin, or even older Meg, Charles Wallace, or Dennys and Sandy.  But now that I'm re-reading it, or re-hearing it, I suppose, I love it dearly, which is no surprise.  I wonder if there was too much mention of math in it, or if I was the youngest when I read it, so it was too much?  It's probably because there was no Adam or Zachary or Seraphim.  But I digress.

Jezebel has become my favorite non-personal blog to read, and it has a great Friday feature called Fine Lines, where a blogger re-reads a beloved young adult book and reviews it sincerely and humorously.  I've posted the A Ring of Endless Light review, and the same blogger, Lizzie Skurnick, reviewed A Wrinkle in Time.  Behold her opening paragraph (that I posted back in June but it's my blog, and since I'm redundant in person, why not here?):

If I had my way, none of us would have to read this review at all. Instead, we'd join hands, hear a great dark thunderclap, and be whisked off to a rambling house in the country, where we'd view odd things bubbling in a lab with a stone floor, then eat limburger-and-cream-cheese sandwiches while swinging our legs at the kitchen table. We'd sidestep for a moment onto a planet inhabited by gentle gray creatures with dents for eyes, then be inserted into some mitochondria. We battle for the soul of Madoc /Maddox, and eat small crayfish with our lesbian kind-of aunt who insisted on calling us our full name (Polyhymnia). We'd hop on a freighter and solve a mystery, then go to boarding school in Switzerland. We would make a brief detour on the Upper West Side by way of Portugal, and be concerned with cell regeneration in starfish. We'd be smacked on the ass by a dolphin. Most important, whatever happened, we'd know we could get through it—because we are creatures that can love.

I'm in the part of AWIT where Calvin, Charles Wallace, and Meg have only just arrived at Camazotz and are still unsure of where Mr. Murray is or what they're up against.  I feel much more capable of embracing Meg as a relatable heroine this time around, perhaps better able to accept her proficient math skills of which I cannot relate.  But I love that she repeatedly tears up without control, is so easily swooned by Calvin, doesn't always get things right away, and as Skurnick says, is kind of a badass.

And the way Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Which are constantly spouting quotes and truths in multiple languages to help the children understand without actually giving them any direction.  Love, love, love, love, love.

I'm sure that as I listen on I'll need to write about it again.  I'm currently trying to track down copies of The Love Letters (nuns and true love!) and Bright Evening Star and Camilla (my well-worn childhood copy was lent to a student from my floor when I was PA who never gave it back). Now that I visit my bookshelf I see that I am also missing And Both Were Young.  Son of a bitch! (Entirely appropriate response).

2 comments:

theresa clare said...

You didn't like Wrinkle in Time the first time around??? I loved it! I didn't know that the audio book was Madeliene reading it! That's fabulous! Where can I get a copy of it? That's so fantastic! I love that story. Which is what makes me able to get through this non-snow day snow day.

Maryann said...

You can get it on iTunes, and I think at most big bookstores. She also did Swiftly Tilting Planet (swoon!) and there's an audiobook of A Wind in the Door, but someone else narrates. I just didn't love it the first time I read it--silly me!