In year 7, I had a fabulous teacher who taught us about a wonderful book, A wrinkle in time by Madeleine L’Engle. I remember reluctantly handing over my copy to my younger sister who studied it the year after me – I loved that book so much I couldn’t bear to part with it.
It’s the story of Meg Murry, who describes herself as a misfit, partially because she’s amazingly gifted with maths but hopeless at remembering other facts and partially because her scientist father has disappeared, and is now the subject of small town gossip. It’s set in the US, and was published in 1962, after many, many rejections.
Meg goes on a quest with her brilliant but misunderstood younger brother, and a new friend, Calvin, gifted at basketball and communication, to find her father. Guided by the amazing Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who and Mrs Which, they journey to different planets, and must battle against a cold, analytical IT who controls the darkness which threatens to overtake all worlds.
I loved this book so much. While I, like Meg, had a scientist father, he was reassuringly around and never disappeared into the fifth dimension of time travel. I loved Meg’s mother, who was also a scientist. While she was monitoring experiments in the lab next to their house, she was also doing a great job as a single parent to Meg and her three brothers. The three Mrs Ws were eccentric, kind, knowledgeable and powerful. And of course, the battle between light and dark is always an epic story.
I am beyond excited that this book is now a movie – out in Australia on Thursday, March 29 – first day of the school holidays! Reece Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey and Mindy Kaling play the Mrs Ws – the trailer looks amazing.
A wrinkle in time is the first in a quintet – there are four other books, following the stories of Meg’s brothers and her own children.
You know when you have two separate friends who don’t know each other but you know they would really like each other? Well, I think it works the same for authors, too. One of my favourite contemporary American authors is Rebecca Stead, who refers constantly to A wrinkle in time in one of her own books on time travel, When you reach me. Clearly, these two favourite authors of mine were meant to be friends!
I ran a writing workshop for a grade five class today and gave them some homework with three options – read the book A wrinkle in time, see the movie or do both. I hope they take up the third option.