Although it won the Newbery Medal in 1963, I never read this book 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. It seems to appeal to the same folks who are big Harry Potter fans.
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 this particular version of the audiobook, 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
[The audiobook, and a print copy for reference, were borrowed from and returned to my university library.]