Sunday, December 30, 2012

1963 Newbery Medalist

Although it won the Newbery Medal in 1963, I never read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle as a child.  Even then, I wasn't too interested in science fiction or fantasy.  However, this is one of the more popular Newbery winners out there.  If you liked Harry Potter, you will probably like this book.

There's adventure:  misfit high school freshman Meg Murry, her odd genius little brother Charles Wallace (named for L'Engle's father and father-in-law), and their new friend, high-schooler Calvin O'Keefe, take a journey through a "tesseract" (a "wrinkle" in time - there's the science fiction, time travel) to rescue Meg's and Charles Wallace's scientist father.  There's magic, in the form of Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which.  There's dystopia at the planet Camazotz, and a battle with the evil IT.  What's not there for a kid to love?

Believe it or not, this book actually begins, "It was a dark and stormy night."  This book has also been challenged over the years for a number of reasons, including references to the occult, depictions of mysticism, characters possessing supernatural powers, and undermining religious beliefs.

L'Engle narrated the version of the audiobook (pictured at left) that we have at the Dick Smith Library, and that was a mistake.  Her voice is rough and she has a bit of a lisp, and her reading is uneven, with strange emphases and an odd rhythm.  Since L'Engle's death, a new audio version (with actress Hope Davis) has been produced - I wish I had waited to purchase that one for our library.  It was painful to listen to this book, which detracted from my appreciation of it.  I first listened to it in 2009, but cannot bring myself to listen to L'Engle's reading again.

© Amanda Pape - 2012

[A Wrinkle in Time is available on the lower level of the Dick Smith Library, in print in the Curriculum Collection (pictured at the top of this post, EDUC PZ7 .L5385 WR 1962), and as an audiobook in the Audiovisual Collection (AV-AUDIO PZ7 .L5385 WR 1993). A variation of this review also appears on my blog, Bookin' It].

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