Meg Murray is having a difficult time accepting that her father, who hasn’t been heard from in months, may not be coming back. An encounter one stormy night with the strange old woman, Mrs. Whatsit, becomes the beginning of an amazing journey for Meg, her little brother Charles Wallace, and her classmate Calvin O’Keefe, as they are whisked off to different planets, meet different races, and face off against a darkness that threatens to swallow up not only the Earth but the entire universe.
Review: A Wrinkle in Time The Graphic Novel
Written by Madeleine L’Engle; Adapted and Illustrated by Hope Larson
Margaret Ferguson Books, October 2012
392 pgs., $19.99
I never read A Wrinkle in Time when I was growing up. I was aware of the series but found the edition cover at the time weird and not very inviting, so I never picked it up. With the release of this 50th anniversary graphic edition, I decided to finally read it. For the most part I did enjoy it. There are a lot of concepts that were presented in an intriguing way, but there were still a few bumps along the way.
A Wrinkle in Time is the journey of one girl, Meg, to find and rescue her father. With the help of family and friends, human and alien, she not only does this but also learns to accept herself for who she is. When we first meet Meg, she is insecure about her appearance and her place in the world. She is angry and often lashes out at her schoolmates and is scolded for not conforming. Meg is a great role model for teenage girls. She has a lot of the same doubts and feeling about herself as they would. Through her journey, girls will see it’s okay to like math and science. It’s okay to be different. It’s okay to like who you are and not have to be like everyone else. This is a message that needs to get out to girls more. Meg is portrayed very realistically making her journey and discoveries about herself all the more believable.
As we follow Meg and her friends on her journey, there were some interesting themes introduced. The one I found most fascinating was the tesseract. The idea of bending space to reach a destination faster is one sci-fi fans are very familiar with today. That it could be introduced so simply and explained with the same simple elegance as folding two wrinkles in a skirt together just struck me. It is the most memorable moment of the book for me. I also liked the use of the theme of individualism vs conformity. Meg resists her teacher’s pressure to conform out of stubbornness, but it’s that stubbornness and her strength as an individual that helps to free her father from IT. The people of Camazotz give in to the pressure to conform, and as a result can’t escape and live in constant fear.
The theme of good and evil is the main theme of this book. The Mrs. W’s represent the side of good and light fighting IT and the Black Thing that represents evil and darkness. While the battle of good and evil is a standard theme, and the players are shown to be very plainly on one side or the other, I did like how Earth was shown to have been taken by neither side. The forces of good keep the darkness at bay through poets, musicians and thinkers. It’s the creative individuals that keeps humans from falling into the hands of the Black Thing. That’s another good message for children to see.
The story is supposed to have a prominent Christian message, but honestly, I didn’t see it in this adaptation. While there are Bible quotes and mentions of Jesus as one of the fighters against the darkness, the battle of good vs evil is given a more secular presentation. This is a good thing, as it makes the book more accessible to those who don’t follow the Christian faith. The concepts L’Engle presents are useful for anyone to follow, no matter what their religion of beliefs.
A Wrinkle in Time is Meg’s story, but I found most of the way through it, she wasn’t the character I was interested in. I found Calvin more to my liking. Maybe it’s because I’ve moved on from the teenage issues Meg is going through, and would prefer not to remember those times, but personally, I just didn’t care for Meg. She was too angry and pessimistic at times for me. I’m not saying she was a bad character, she just didn’t appeal to me. Neither did Charles Wallace. He was a little too odd for me, but his connection with Meg was wonderful to see.
The ending really threw me for a loop. I’m still really not quite sure what happened. I had to flip through the last pages a couple of times to make sure I didn’t skip some pages, or miss something. I do feel like something is missing, but having not read the book, I can’t say if it was intentional or not. It did leave me confused, and made for something of a let down at the end.
A Wrinkle in Time is still a satisfying read. Hope Larson’s art is open and friendly, making many of the concepts easy to understand and the graphic adaptation may get more kids to read it. The story continues to be relevant 50 years later. No matter what the culture or time, teenagers will still have doubts about themselves and will still have to go on their own journey as Meg did to find themselves and their place in the world. This title is a good guide for that.