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am 6. Juni 1999
In the world of bad sci-fi films (such as "Star Wars" The Phantom Menace", a poor excuse for a child's movie - or even an adult fan's movie, at that), it's simply astounding that no one has made this amazing book into the wonderful movie that it wants to be. Teenage romance, deep family and social dynamics, interesting characters, space travel, alien witches who can morph into beautiful creatures with crystal wings, the basic - and vital - interaction between good and evil, and even a brain on a pedestal as the "Bad Guy" - this book has EVERY element of a major box-office success. Combine these facts with the supreme brand recognition and fond memories of my generation (I'm 36, read this in grade school, and continually reread it into adulthood), and the fact that L'Engle even wrote sequels, and you have to wonder what the Hollywood set is thinking in ignoring this classic literary work.
If you have children, get this book for them. No, there are no supporting toy lines to buy, no merchandising nightmares to contend with, no Taco Bell "Camazotz" cups - just a great, compelling story. If you are grown up, get this book and remind yourself that good science fiction requires nothing more than a good idea and an expressive writer - and nothing less, either.
Mr. Lucas and Mr. Spielberg, if you REALLY want to make a good _children's_ movie (clearly, neither "Star Wars" or "Hook" accomplish this with any degree of success), then wake up and read "A Wrinkle in Time". Your next box office smash is waiting for you, no dinosaurs, gratuitous effects or lasers required!
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am 31. Juli 2000
One thing which stands out on the advenures of the Murry family is that they have elements of sci-fi and fantasy. A Wrinkle in Time is no exception and can be read on many levels. Even at 16 I still enjoyed this book. L'Engle is a very talented writer and her stories have an imagination not usually found in most writing. However, A Wrinkle in Time does have a rather annoying downfall. Without ruining anything, I found that the ending came too soon and that the story felt like it was abandoned rather than finished. Still, it's a great story and one that should not be missed.
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am 6. Juni 2000
I read this book as a 10-year-old and rebought it now - 15 years later. I enjoyed the first chapter ("by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract" - cooool!) but then became more and more disappointed: the morale is too obvious, the characters are too one-dimensional and the writing often simply affirms feelings instead of evoking and explaining them. I loved the wacky old ladies and couldn't really imagine them changed into some beautiful wise creatures, constantly emanating love in the later chapters... And all this overstrained symbolism...
So much of the book looked like a chliche to me - but maybe this is what happens to a classic: Read it some decades later and it has become a stereotype!
I seem to have become suspicious against books with too obvious pedagogical intentions, even if they are truely thrilling like this one sometimes is. Probably this way of storytelling is okay for children: they love the story and they get the morale without paying TOO much attention to it (like I probably did now). There are other books for children that are pedagogical by way of the story not by mentioning "great waves of love" or hatred all the time - think of Roald Dahl, Astrid Lindgren or Michael Ende to name just a few, all of which have written allegorical stories, too. The difference is that even when reading the "Neverending Story" you never get the feeling that the morale overwhelms the plot.
However, I've got a feeling I've been too hard with the book. It merits at least three stars for being very funny (especially at the beginning), at times thrilling and above all quite original.
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am 20. April 2000
A Wrinkle in Time tells the story of a girl, Meg, who must travel through time to different worlds to save her father and, consequently, her brother. L'Engle portrays Meg as a smart girl who is having problems finding her niche. Everyone tells Meg that she must find a "happy medium" and, basically, become more feminine. Meg is unsure how to do this, and she isn't even sure she wants to. From the start, Meg is told that she must change something within herself and find moderation to be truly happy. Meg fights with boys at school to protect and defend her family but both her mother and her brothers tell her that she will never be happy until she can control her actions and her emotions and stop fighting. Mr. Jenkins, her principal, informs Meg that she is impatient, belligerent and uncooperative. He also tells her that things would be easier for her if she were more "normal." People continuously try to get Meg to change so that she can find a middle ground and be content. This seems to send the message that a girl is only happy when she has changed and given up a part of herself so that she may fit into her place in society. As people try to convince Meg to change, a double standard between males and females can also be seen. When Meg fights the boys at school, her brothers tell her that she should leave the fighting to them. This shows that if someone must fight, it should be the boys. Later, Meg demands that the three time travelers, Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which and Mrs. Whatsit, take her to see her father. She is told by Mrs. Who to be patient, whereas, when Calvin constantly questions one of the women he does not receive treatment comparable to Meg's. Early on in the book, Meg is only able to answer math and science questions, while Calvin can answer all the questions that are not math related. Calvin's unability to answer math problems is almost unmentioned yet Mrs. Murry finds it imperative to note that Meg is a little one-sided but that she does still enjoy "playing with her doll's house" (39). Meg's one-sidedness is seen as embarrassingly male. The dolls are mentioned to Calvin as proof that Meg does have some feminine qualities so that Calvin will accept her. Throughout the novel Meg is constantly being told, outright or not, that she cannot be happy because she is not feminine. Since the writing of this book, society has begun to realize that a woman's femininity has little to do with her knowledge or her ability to find a "happy medium." Some still have the misconceptions seen in this piece of work but most have seen that females do not have to lose a piece of themselves to fit into the world. Despite this novel's flaw, it is still a wonderful piece of literature. It is imaginative and creative and captures the attention of a range of people. I look forward to reading other books from this author.
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am 27. Juli 2000
Wrinkle in Time makes you think. A tale about three extra-ordinary children embarking on a adventure to save a life. This book is one you will love from age 10 to age 110! If your thinking about a L'Engle book start with this one. Passionate and a page-turner for sure!
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am 15. Dezember 1999
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle is an outstanding book. All Meg and her brother Charles Wallace want is to find their father, who mysteriously disappeared during experiments with time and space travel. Along with the eighth grade superstar Calvin, and three ladies with a special secret, Meg and Charles go on an amazing journey into the unknown. They travel through time and space to many different planets and meet many different people and creatures.
It is truly a grabbing story that will pull you into the world of imagination. My favorite part was in the beginning. It was a dark and stormy night when a stranger walked into the house of Charles Wallace, the unsuspecting Meg, the twins Sandy and Dennys, and Mrs. Murry, who is the mother of all these children. "Wild nights are my glory," said the stranger. "I just got caught in a down draft and blown off course. Let me sit down for a moment, and then I'll be on my way. Speaking of way, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract". There is something unearthly about this stranger and Meg gets the feeling that they will meet again.
This is a book of love and hope. Madeleine L'Engle has truly created a masterpiece. A Wrinkle in Time is a wonderful book for just about anyone. I would give this book five stars and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in science fiction involving time and space. But even if you're not interested in that kind of thing, this would still be a great book for you.
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am 1. November 1999
Why does everyone love this book? Why? I thought I would really connect with Meg and Charles Wallace and Calvin, beacuse they're all intelligent misfits who don't quite fit in, and I connect with that, but I didn't. The characters are dull, stultifying, snobby, mundane. They're so in love with their enormous intellects and unusual, close-knit family life that I could cry with frustration and annoyance. The writing is weird, the characaters are weird, the plot is weird, and none of it is entertaining. I love a different book with a different plot, but the triteness and egotism and coldness of this book destroyed it for me.
I must admit that the story has some truly interesting elements to it. Madeleine L'Engle does well with storylines and plots, and the story does indeed move along, (like I said, I like weird--i.e., unusual and original-- plots) but the stuffy dullness of all the characters, main and supporting, ruins the book. I couldn't relate to anyone in this book, and I found I really didn't want to.
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am 5. Juni 2000
I have loved this book since childhood. In certain ways, I literally have even used it as a sort of ruler, against which I can measure my own spiritual growth... But remember one thing, O book buyer -- this is not science fiction. Whatever you may have heard, you have to realize that this is a book about love, and about learning to value yourself for the person you are deep down, even if that person has some outwardly appalling qualities -- and about trying to love others, even when there is little apparent reason to do so. There are a few quasi-scientific elements to the story, but that isn't really the point...
Read this for the fantastic characters you will meet. Meg is relatively normal in many ways -- she has braces, and is sort of plain, and gets a lot of grief from all the jerks in her school who like to make fun of people. She has depth, but I will let you discover that for yourself. Charles Wallace, her brother, is one of the most interesting characters in all of children's literature. Think of Linus from "Peanuts", but even younger, and with a mysterious rapport with angelic figures. He is sort of a "genius" in many ways, but is viewed by his fellow townsfolk as the village idiot, much like "the fool on the hill" in the Beatles song who's mind's eye is drawn by the wonder of the word spinning 'round, while all those around him mock him for his lack of attention to more mundane concerns.
The Murry family in general is really neat. You will want to belong to it. The parents are both brilliant scientists, Meg and Charles Wallace are two of the children, and then the twins have some good moments in Madeleine L'Engle's later books. They live in a beautiful old house, and are the only dreamers in their town, the only ones connected up to larger things... In some ways I was once disturbed by what I percieved to be a certain class bias in this book, i.e. the Murrys seem to have inherited their house, and there are no signs of any financial worry. However, if you have this feeling as well, look to some of the sequels for L'Engle's efforts to rectify this situation, especially "A Swiftly Tilting Planet".
The tesseract is a "wrinkle in time", which is similar for story purposes to Dorothy's tornado; Lucy, Edmund, Susan and Peter's wardrobe; Milo's tollbooth; or any number of similar devices... Bear in mind when this was written, when you get to the part about Camazotz, the Conformist Capital of the Known Universe. This book came out first in the early 60s, and in many important ways can be seen as a reaction to Eisenhower era suburbia, with its plastic cheerfulness. A few years later, I wonder if the market for this might have diminished. At any rate, I am glad it was published, it has a lot of important things to say.
Please read this if you are a child, or if you are an adult. There are different things you might take away from it, but I cannot imagine anyone reading this without being touched by it.
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am 17. Juli 2000
I read this book when I was 10 or 11, and much of it went straight over my head. My college philosophy teacher recommended it, so I decided to try again. It really does give one a lot to think about, so I'll have to follow Dr. Peterson's example and recommend it to you, regardless of what age you may be at this time. My only complaint about this book is that it ended rather abruptly. My plan is to find the companion works and see if they remedy that.
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am 17. Juni 2000
...we started reading this book.
My 8 year old, who loves the Harry Potter series, would be content with the Bailey School kids while waiting for Harry. The Bailey School kids are fine for him to read alone, but I can't read another one in that series without falling asleep!
We are a family of readers and writers, and one of our favorite things to do is sit and read to each other - what book would fill that need while we're waiting for the fourth Harry Potter book?
We'd read C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia long ago (as far as we could get before it got too complex for us), so what were we to do?
Then I remembered this book, sitting on my bookshelves from days gone by - the paperback version I have cost $1.25(! ) and had been first read by me and then by my older sons. I pulled it off the shelf, blew off the dust, opened it...and it fell apart. So I ordered up this book and the next two from Amazon.
We got them soon, and haven't stopped reading yet (as of this writing, Harry's Fourth Book is ordered, but even the title is unknown). My son actually brings it to me, begging me to read some more (something that's only happened with Harry Potter so far.)
As with Harry Potter and Chronicles of Nania, as we started reading, we got involved in the lives of some very likeable people and wanted to find out what was going on in their lives. We read two chapters at a sitting, which can be torture - what is going to happen next?
Because the book was written long ago, it is delightfully empty of the extra angsts teenagers have to worry about today. One of Meg Murry's biggest worries is that she'll never be as beautiful as her own scientist mother. She is harrassed at school because of her 5 year old brother's brilliance (Charles Wallace is a genius who seems stupid to others). And her father's absence is the talk of the town (did her run off with someone?).
Charles Wallace makes friends with Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit and Mrs. Which, three strange old ladies who turn out to be much more than they seem. They know where the children's father is, and take Meg, Charles Wallace and Calvin (Meg's hunky-nerdy classmate) to find him.
The forces of evil are at work, though, and the children have to struggle to resist. One of them gets pulled in, and only one can save them all. When the book ends, you aren't left with a cliff-hanger (like the Anamorph series, for example). Things are settled and you can move on to something else, or do like we've done, and move onto the next book, A Wind in the Door.
Like Chronicles, but unlike Harry, the author is sending a message - there are biblical references so discreet you won't notice them unless you already know of them.
This is a book to read with your children. Many of the words are too difficult for a child to figure out and offers an opportunity to discuss many things with your child, while "visiting" with an unusual, yet ordinary, family you'll want to visit again!
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