Review of A Wrinkle in Time (1962)

Madeleine L’Engle (writer).

Read in 2018.

Christian children’s fantasy. It is heartening that L’Engle said she got 26 rejection letters from publishers. She loved saying it so much that the number varied “with each retelling” (Jen Doll, “How A Wrinkle in Time Changed Sci-Fi Forever”, Mental Floss, 2015-07-28, attributing the quote to L’Engle’s biographer Leonard S. Marcus). One version of one these stories, in all likelihood a lie, was that L’Engle accidentally left the manuscript in a church and a publisher found it there and loved it, by way of a miracle.

The only really good thing about the book is the portrayal of Meg’s uneven talent profile: her “emotional immaturity” and lack of engagement in school. This characterization seems ahead of its time, for any gender. The feminism is not bad, but it’s of an entirely media-representational and personally aspirational character with none of the deeper thinking of Ursula K. Le Guin or Joanna Russ. Everything else about the book is cognitively lazy and unconvincing. The communist metaphors, in particular, made me cringe.

References here: “Q Who” (1989), Jupiter Ascending (2015), Food Wars: The Third Plate (2017).

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