Eight Life Lessons from A Wrinkle in Time

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 2.04.03 PM

1. If you don’t know how to begin your story, start with something classic: “It was a dark and stormy night.”

2. Some things you have control over and some things you don’t: “Life, with its rules, its obligations, and its freedoms, is like a sonnet: You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself.” Continue reading

Burn, Read, Rewrite: A Wrinkle in Time, The Giver, & The Golden Compass

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 11.07.10 AM

Since its the NYC Teen Author Festival this week and I’m even more obsessed than usual with all things YA, I thought I’d present three classics for us to (figuratively) burn, read, and rewrite. Your choices: A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle, The Giver, by Lois Lowry, and The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman.  Your mission: let me know in the comments which book you would read (your favorite), rewrite (second favorite and/or one that you have something you want to change about), and burn (least favorite). Lest you be worried, no books were harmed during the making of this blog post.  Continue reading

Burn, Read, Rewrite: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Anne of Green Gables, & A Wrinkle in Time

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 11.47.33 AM

I love books about smart girls. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith, Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery, and A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle, are three books that definitely fit into this category. And that is why I like, in some cases love, all three three of them. Although based on the different points in my life that I read them, I feel pretty sure of what my decisions are going to be. Now I want to know yours. Let me know in the comments which book you would read (your favorite), which you would rewrite (second favorite or one you would make changes too), and which you would burn (least favorite and obviously only in the figurative sense!).  Continue reading

A Wrinkle in Time: Smart Books for Smart Girls (and Boys)

250px-WrinkleInTimePBA1“It was a dark and stormy night.” Since the first time I read this first sentence of A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle I wondered if this statement was already a cliché when the book was first published or a sign of her brilliance. While the phrase written more than a hundred years yearly, by Victorian novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton (thank you wikipedia!), and thus was not a piece of original writing. This, however, does not mean that the opening isn’t both cliché and brilliant.

How I feel about this sentence, is pretty much how I feel about the book. More than anything I appreciate the layers. From the three mysterious, dare I say Macbeth-like women, Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Which to the all-powerful IT, who can only be defeated by love – there are examples of pretty heavy-handed metaphor throughout the novel. But the narrative goes deeper than these surface metaphors. The book is full of intricate science concepts, like the tesseract fourth dimension.

The characters, especially Meg, Calvin, and Charles Wallace are relatable and complex both in their own personalities and in the ways they love each other. They contain the same levels, as the first sentence. What could be more clichéd then the jock that wants people to know the real him or the brainy girl with braces who just wants to fit in.

It is these levels, I think, that keep people ready but also keep people talking about the books even after 50 years! People like Leonard Marcus who recently wrote Listening for Madeleine or Hope Larson who illustrated a full-length graphic version of the novel (see below).

wrinkle_in_time_header__index

As much as you can distill why you love a favorite childhood book, I think the intelligence of the characters is what continues to draw me to the series. The characters are extremely smart in different ways, but for the most part that doesn’t translate to good grades. It can be isolating and confusing, and leads them into situations beyond their years. Also Calvin O’Keefe is pretty much my number one literary crush of all time, even surpassing Mr. Darcy in my heart of hearts.

Lots of people have read a Wrinkle in Time. Also, the second book in the series, A Wind in the Door, is a book I like even more. If you haven’t I suggest you give it a try – it really does have something for everyone. And until next time – tesser well!