Manny's Reviews > A Wrinkle in Time

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
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really liked it
bookshelves: children, science-fiction, received-free-copy, transcendent-experiences, parody-homage

"But why me?" asked Madeleine. "Do I have to do it?"

"You must," said Mrs Whatsit. "Your world is in grave danger. Very, very grave danger. You have to warn them."

"But I don't know how!" exclaimed Madeleine angrily. "What is this danger? How am I going to explain it? It's impossible!"

"Certum est quia impossibile est," said Mrs Who. "It is certain, because it is impossible. Latin. Tertullian."

"Wwe wwill hhelp yyou," interrupted Mrs Which. "Iff onlyy yyou ddidn't iinsist on uusing wwords..."

"You see!" said Madeleine. "You tell me I have to write a book, and you don't even know what words are! You're horrible! I hate you!" Tears filled her eyes.

"Now, now," murmured Mrs Whatsit. "It's much better than you think. The words are all there inside you already, you just have to find them. If you don't mind, my dear, I will just take a little look through your memory."

Suddenly, Madeleine had the strangest feeling. All the books she had ever read were lined up inside her mind like a huge library. And there was Mrs Whatsit, moving through the shelves with her, pulling down a book here and a book there...

"You see?" asked Mrs Whatsit after a time. "That was quite easy, wasn't it? I'm sure Out of the Silent Planet will be useful, and of course That Hideous Strength. Good old C.S. Lewis! And Olaf Stapledon's Star Maker. We want that lovely dance of the stars, don't we? Then we'll take Charles Wallace out of Odd John, and I think some Robert Heinlein and just a little bit of Plato, and now all you have to do is put them together!"

A moment later, Madeleine found herself sitting in front of her typewriter. The words poured out of her, as she covered sheet after sheet. More quickly than she would have believed possible, she found there was a thick manuscript on the desk. Dazed and astonished, she picked it up and began to read through what she had written.

"But it's terrible!" she said, in bitter disappointment. "So sloppily constructed! Such a lack of feeling for the English language! And it doesn't even make sense! None of it sticks together!"

"Goddag, yxskaft," agreed Mrs Who. "Hello, ax-handle. Swedish. Saying indicating lack of coherence."

"You must have faith," said Mrs Whatsit serenely. "You may think it's terrible, but millions of children will love this book. They won't worry about the words. They will see the truth behind them."

"On ne voit bien qu’avec le cœur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux," said Mrs Who. "You only see truly with the heart. What is important is invisible to the eyes. French. Saint-Exupéry."

"It won't work," muttered Madeleine. "I'll send it to the publisher if you like, but they'll just reject it. They'll say it's silly."

"Then send it to another publisher," said Mrs Whatsit. "And another, and another, until you succeed. Listen, Madeleine. The foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called, but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. Now do you understand?"

"No," said Madeleine uncertainly; but she found that her fingers, all by themselves, had taken an envelope, put the manuscript into it, and addressed it to a publishing house in the city.

"Ggood ggirl," said Mrs Which. "Nnow wwe hhave tto ggo. BBut wwe'll bbe bback."
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Reading Progress

January 17, 2018 – Started Reading
January 17, 2018 – Shelved
January 17, 2018 –
page 30
15.79% "It's all true! The book does indeed start with the words "It was a dark and stormy night", and the first chapter contains the word "tesseract"."
January 18, 2018 –
page 100
52.63% "Is it my imagination, or was Madeleine L'Engle an Olaf Stapledon fan? I think I detect traces of both Star Maker and Odd John as well as the more obvious influences of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Out of the Silent Planet and That Hideous Strength. I could also believe she's read Have Spacesuit, Will Travel and Galactic Patrol."
January 18, 2018 –
page 100
52.63% "Is it my imagination, or was Madeleine L'Engle an Olaf Stapledon fan? I think I detect traces of both Star Maker and Odd John as well as the more obvious influences of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Out of the Silent Planet and That Hideous Strength. I could also believe she's read Have Spacesuit, Will Travel and Galactic Patrol."
January 18, 2018 – Shelved as: children
January 18, 2018 – Shelved as: science-fiction
January 18, 2018 – Shelved as: received-free-copy
January 18, 2018 – Shelved as: transcendent-experiences
January 18, 2018 – Shelved as: parody-homage
January 18, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-8 of 8 (8 new)

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Manny (The four stars are the ones I would have given it at age ten, when I ought to have read it).


notgettingenough Manny wrote: "(The four stars are the ones I would have given it at age ten, when I ought to have read it)."

Goddamn that's a lot of stars. I thought three to begin with and then went down from there. But I have no idea what I would have thought of it at the right age, I didn't read sf at that time.


Manny Adult me is giving it three stars and telling it to be grateful for them. But as I said, I got here way too late.


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”
― Madeleine L'Engle


Aiden Heavilin I've always enjoyed how vague this book is. The details it chooses to fill in aren't the ones you'd expect.


Manny It's a very odd piece of writing. Whoever it was that accepted it for publication was a genius... easy to see why it was rejected 30 times. But despite everything, it works.


message 7: by Ms. Smartarse (last edited Feb 25, 2018 10:48PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Ms. Smartarse You know, this review makes me feel both good, and bad about myself. I am now truly delighted that even the author (at least the one you imagine) found the book incoherent.

But I'm also very sad not to have seen beyond the words. Not that I ever do, in any circumstance. Still, based on the rating, so many children did...

Or is this one of those things, where you need your inner child to interpret? If that's the case, it's been reproached to me plenty of times, that I need to let my inner child go. Especially when it's time to manage things like finances. :P


Manny Ms. Smartarse wrote: "You know, this review makes me feel both good, and bad about myself. I am now truly delighted that even the author (at least the one you imagine) found the book incoherent.

But I'm also very sad n..."


Well, I must admit that I couldn't actually appreciate the beauty of the book first-hand. But my inner child swore on a stack of bibles that it was gorgeous and I better believe him or else.

So we negotiated a bit, and in the end we agreed on a deal we could both accept. I'm glad you liked it. And good point, I need to stop him from making any more financial decision. A timely reminder :)


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