“Jeepers, sir. You must have been in a sort of flap”
A Wrinkle in Time is part of a subgenre of young adult literature in which ordinary, plain children are called upon to do brave, incredible things with the help of newfound powers, and then, inevitably grow up to be extraordinary, attractive adults. In my solitary fort, I ate it up (along with the chips and chocolate). I was Hermione Granger, frizzy-haired and mocked and too smart for my own good. I was Bastian Balthazar Bux from The Neverending Story, chubby and lonely and transported into an epic adventure through the pages of a book. I was Meg Murry, bespectacled, outcast, and misunderstood. Superimposing myself onto Meg, I tessered across the universe with witches who quoted Shakespeare, flew on the back of an angel, fought against the Black Thing shadowing Earth, saved my father and brother from a giant brain that turned people into living automatons, and was cradled in the arms of a kindly fur-covered tentacle beast. I grappled with my own fears, of losing my parents, of being unpopular, of the world ending. I thought about good and evil, about conformity and difference, about love and hate and the existence of God. (A Wrinkle in Time and its sequels, like The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings, has been read as Christian allegory, drawing upon biblical themes and sometimes quoting the Bible directly, though it is accessible to readers of any background.) Rereading L’Engle’s classic today, I am astounded by the work that young-adult literature can do, the sophisticated places it takes our minds before we’re old enough to realize just what is happening.