A Sci-Fi Book Review by Aurora Stargazer: Book: A Wrinkle in Time

When I was a kid, I read the books in this series out of order. I started with the third book, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, which I loved. Then I read A Wrinkle in Time. I recall preferring A Swiftly Tilting Planet more. But after rereading A Wrinkle in Time, I’ve fallen in love once again with Madeline L’Engle’s book series about the Murry family.


A Wrinkle in Time is a heroic science fiction story. It is about siblings Meg and Charles Wallace Murry. Meg is an awkward and plain teenager who finds it hard to fit in. Dr. Murry, the children’s father, is a renowned physicist. He has been missing for more than two years. One dark and stormy night, a strange old woman named Mrs. Whatsit appears at the Murry’s door. Nothing is the same again. Meg, Charles Wallace, and their new friend Calvin soon meet Mrs. Whatsit’s housemates, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which.


The mysterious old ladies claim to know where Dr. Murry is. They take the children to their father by tessering. This means that they take a shortcut through time and space. Together, they arrive on a different planet that is like Earth, but not. A giant pulsating brain called “IT” controls the mind of everyone on the planet. It is keeping Dr. Murry prisoner. Meg finds her father, thinking that he can save them all. But when IT takes control of Charles Wallace’s mind, Meg learns that only she can save Charles Wallace.


A Wrinkle in Time is a fascinating look at some interesting theories about space and time. The book’s concept of “tessering” is best explained by two simple illustrations in the book and is mind expanding. So is the idea of being able to meet aliens from other worlds, as the children do in the book.


Two interesting themes in the book are good vs. evil and conformity vs. non-conformity. The evil force in the book is called the Dark Thing that is steadily taking over the universe. The good forces are the aliens and magical beings that are fighting against the Dark Thing.


Conformity means to be the same as everyone else. Non-conformity means to be different, or not to conform. On Camazotz, the IT-controlled planet, all the people conform. IT controls their minds and they are all the same. They all do the same things when they’re expected to them. The author’s point of view seems to be that conformity is bad and non-conformity is good. Meg’s struggles to fit in at school are a good example. Meg wants to fit in, but does not want to be the same as everyone else. It is kind of like the author is implying that if you conform, you are not thinking for yourself—just like the people of Camazotz.


Reading this book again as an adult actually left me with more questions than it answered. Does the Dark Thing control IT? Or is IT the Dark Thing? What exactly is the Dark Thing? I understand why the Dark Thing might want to take over inhabited planets, but why stars? How does Dr. Murry tesser? How come all the aliens speak English? How can the children eat food on other planets without getting sick? How do they breathe on other planets? Are we supposed to assume that all aliens require the same atmosphere to live that humans require on earth?


Perhaps L’Engle’s second book in this series, A Wind in the Door, answers some of these questions. But even with so many unanswered questions, A Wrinkle in Time is a compelling read that I highly recommend to all readers. Overall, I give the book 4 and a half out of 5 stars.