Review: A Wrinkle in Time

A Wrinkle in Time
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

We listened to this during our trip to Yellowstone.

Sometimes I forget the authors who have heavy influences over my writing. If the Narnia series was the first fantasy books I ever read, the Wrinkle in Time series would be the first fantasy/science fiction series that set me on the path to writing. I believe it was also the first SF book I read that effectively wove Christian faith and science into a fun, cohesive whole that did not feel preachy, but filled with wonder and possibility.

As an adult, I was surprised at how much science is in this. I know as a kid, the concept of space and time being the fourth dimension was beyond me (and certainly never explored in school) To this day, I know what mitochondria are, not through my science class, but through L’Engle’s exploration of Charles Wallace in the second? third? book. (Have to put that on my list). I also was able to pick up on the love of all things geek, during a time when being a geek meant being an oddball, an outcast. There’s a point where Meg and Calvin are talking about how different they feel around other people, how they don’t feel “normal” and they can’t fit in, and I looked at my husband and said, “They’re talking about being geeks!”

I fell in love with Meg all over again. Such a change from the Narnian Penvensie girls, who are proper and ladylike. Meg slouches, grumbles, and when someone makes a crack about the brother, instead of running off to tell her twin brothers, she beats up the kid herself. She’s a delinquent, a crybaby and a whiner, which, due to L’Engle’s reading, becomes overdramatic and overblown with angst (more on that in a bit). I love how Meg matures throughout the book, such as when she recognizes that her use of handholding is a sign of comfort, but also puts her in a position to constantly rely on others rather than trust her own strength. She also learns to use her faults as a weapon. I also love Mrs. Murray as both mother and scientist, though it’s interesting that she spends much of the book “cooking” in her lab. The three old ladies, Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which (I finally got the pun of her appearance.) And then there was the Happy Medium, which not only surprised me, but was also a pleasant departure from Narnia’s ALL MEDIUMS AND WITCHES ARE EVILLLLLL….

In fact, women as a whole are treated with a positive bent. It made me wonder if this book was written as a response to Lewis’s Narna. I know it definitely influenced me as a child.

It’s the only complaint I had with the audiobook is L’Engle’s reading. I was excited to learn that she reads it herself, but then realized she TENDS. TO EMPHASIZE. AND. EMOTE. EVERY. SINGLE. WORD. LIKE. IT’S. WRITTEN. IN. CAAAAAAAAAAPS. Her portrayal of Meg was so full of angst, she became almost unlikeable. Her reading of Mrs. Which, fun on the page, is torture in audio, because she shouts in a loud echoey effect which grates on the ears.

But reading aside, I fell in love with this series all over again, and look forward to introducing the next book to my son. (I’ll do the reading this time, I think). Four tesseracts out of five, and we could’ve used one of those. Would’ve made our trip to Yellowstone easier.

Edit 7/16/14: There’s also a Wrinkle in Time graphic novel. My son read it in one day,and when he gave it to me he said I would love it. I’m happy to say that his prediction was right. You can read my review of it at Goodreads.

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Review: Wet Moon, Volume 1: Feeble Wanderings

Wet Moon, Volume 1: Feeble Wanderings
Wet Moon, Volume 1: Feeble Wanderings by Ross Campbell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Surreal and lovely. I stumbled onto this graphic novel because the artist did some rebooted versions of Jem on his website, and in looking in his pictures I caught sight of some gorgeous black women he drew, so I had to know who they were. I love this novel’s style, both in art and narration. Slow and quiet, yet strange. Some of the best scenes have no dialogue. Cleo turning in circles when she’s upset. A strangely pierced and deformed goth girl slipping into a lagoon. A guy holding a scythe passing another guy with a squirrel monkey. Why? No reason.

The conversations in this graphic novel does remind me a lot of when I was in college, as well as the loneliness and insecurity portrayed in the different characters. All too familiar. Will definitely get the next book to see what happens next.

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Review: Watership Down

Watership Down
Watership Down by Richard Adams
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

After watching the movie when I was a kid, I avoided the book because I thought it would be dark and disturbing. Not so. It’s mainly about a bunch of rabbits that set off to form their own colony. There’s a lot of rambling about flowers and nature and oh-isn’t-this-pretty? prose that I skipped. I also found the written accents, such as Kehaar, to be grating on the eyes. But I did enjoy the character development of all the rabbits (my favorite was Strawberry), and the myth tales of El-ehrairah was a delight to read. A new way to look at the Rabbit Trickster mythology. I think this would be a good book to read to the boy. I’ll keep him away from the movie, though.

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