A Wrinkle in Time

Thoughts   A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, original pub 1962 Recorded Books 1994, 6 discs


I hear  of these titles; cited as favorites read when a child and I wonder.    Did I read this?    Why do I have no recollections of favorite books – am I just too old?!    eeeeak!  say it ain’t so!

I just don’t remember too many books but can (upon hard-thinking) recall that I read the Ramona (I think that’s the character) books.   I read Nancy Drew and that ilk.   I know I loved the Chronicles of Narnia but those are more tween books than children’s books, right?

Heck, I don’t even remember Good Night Moon.   My mother assures me that she read books to me and that I read books all the time, but unfortunately, not much documentation exists to prove any of it.

Probably, what all this means is that it is quite obvious I don’t have kids myself and thus haven’t had any reason to trip down a literary memory lane…


When a read-along was announced for the beloved A Wrinkle in Time book(s), I decided that I needed to cross this classic off the list.

I went to the library.   The library had two extremely grubby (germ-infested) hardbacks.   AND ONE AUDIO – and only six discs!   Yippee!   ” The audio would be the absolutely perfect way to enjoy this!”, so I thought.    I could listen as a child does?

Somehow I missed the very first sentence – did I tell you that I’m not much of an auditory learner?    Sure, if I were to see the words, “It was a dark and stormy night.”   I would have referenced it as one of the most well-known opening sentences to any book ever, right?

Well, that went right over my head even with the words visible on the button for the discussion challenge?!?!?!    sigh…

But I did get the experience of the hurricane conditions and the sounds of a big storm as it hammered the house – especially from Meg’s bedroom clear up in the attic.     I was quickly entranced into the story – the sensations and the experience.

Charles Wallace was my favorite of the kids.     I was nothing like Meg as a child so I couldn’t relate to her obstinance at all.    Of course, I found the mother to be all too perfect, but whatever.     And I quickly guessed – after checking the published date – that the father must be on some secret government mission.

I had assumed these books were much older but still twentieth century.      But I had NO IDEA that this was science fiction and space travel!    And mythical creatures and other worlds!!     And religious?    nope.   Didn’t know that.

The religion didn’t bother me.   I’m not what you’d call religious but I have a belief set heavily grounded in Christian theology having gone to parochial school for my elementary years.      And when the story pressed the children for earthly fighters against evil, I was glad that the list wasn’t only Jesus Christ but included Ghandi, too.    I suppose that was just a scrap of acknowledgment to ‘other’ varieties of faith.     Sure, I can understand that it could come across as heavy-handed on the push for Christian definition of good but it didn’t bother me – I just rolled with it.

What bothered me was the play out of the rescue – it seemed to chunk and clunk along.  After the wonderful build up to what was going to be the mission;    OH!  they are going to rescue Father!     Mrs. Whatsit and her friends are ANGELS!   cool.   (and I heard Mrs. WITCH not ‘which’ – I wonder what else I missed?!)

The first half was better than the second half.   When I was in the middle of the last disc and the story had to wrap up soon;  I was more impatient than Meg to GET ON WITH IT ALREADY.   Surely, we will not abandon Charles Wallace to the evil IT brain.

and it was over so fast, I almost replayed it but decided it was over so what was I really going to catch in that two minutes that I can’t figure out?

I did enjoy the set up and opening scenes.    I adored Charles Wallace.    I liked the idea of tessering!

In fact, this TESSERACT stuff really caught my attention because on one of my stints as a computer programmer, I worked with a software application called Tesseract.     I had no idea this was a ‘real’ or known word!    I only knew it as the name of the application and thought it made up.    HUH, again.

My Question:   What kind of name is Fortinbrass for a dog!?   (Am I spelling it right?   What does it mean?)



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25 thoughts on “A Wrinkle in Time

  1. Great post about your journey through a children´s classis (which I haven´t read either).

    But now I don´t quite know if you are making fun, or if you really don´t know that Fortinbras is the Norwegian prince in Hamlet?

  2. LOL… I read this one last year after starting and stopping it three or four times previously. I had the opposite feelings from you. The first 4 or 5 chapters were interminably painful, but after the journey began, I was caught up in it.

    As for learning style, I myself am an audio-visual learner and find that I get the maximum enjoyment from a book I’ve listened to while reading along. Which I did on this one, but it was my own paperback and audiobook. No germ-worries.

    FYI- Fortinbras was the name of the King of Norway in Hamlet who invades Denmark after giving assurances he wouldn’t. Why the dog’s name is Fortinbras, I don’t know, other than to name their pet a literary name. My cat’s named after a gangsta in one of my favorite movies, so I suppose Fort’s not that bad of a name… lol. My brother named his dog Dillanger, so there ya go.

    1. I had actually googled for “Dog’s name in AWIT” to see what popped up and all I saw were the answers – not where and what and why. So that was why it was my question for the day.
      My Oscar is actually “Oscar de la Hunta” because he is a hunting dog and we needed something clever that started with the letter O. Why “O”? because the breeder ‘numbered’ their litters by the alphabet and our pup was from the O-th litter. I also like to say he is named after Oscar de la Renta but my husband says it should be Oscar de la Hoya. whatever.

  3. When I read this as a kid, I thought Fortinbras was a fantastic name for a pet. My friend had a turtle named Fortinbras, and I was so envious I wrote a story about the turtle. (It lived in a shallow dirty lake & dreamed of nicer lakes.)

  4. historyofshe

    I’ve heard so many good things about this book but have yet to read it. I did read L’Engles’ Austin family series which I remember was really great.

  5. I didn’t know Fortinbras when I first read this as a kid of course, but I saw a play that was a comic sequel to Hamlet as a teen and it was all about Fortinbras, so I got the reference this time through. And yeah, you know for me that I thought the religious stuff was too heavy handed.

  6. I adored this book as a child, although I didn’t even realize it was supposed to be religious until a few years ago. Even though it uses Christian theology/symbolism, I don’t think the message is specifically a Christian one, and I never read it as such.

    Also, if you like Charles Wallace, I would recommend skipping A Wind in the Door and going straight to A Swiftly Tilting Planet, which takes place when he’s 15 and doesn’t have nearly so much of Meg being a brat and is one of my most favoritest books ever. 🙂

    1. I could assume that as a kid, this would have been something I never would have ‘caught’ – the religious stuff because I had so much religious stuff as common as breathing. I never knew Narnia was Christian til years after I loved it. Smack upside head.

      Thanks for the rec to go straight for A Swiftly Tilting Planet!

  7. “It was a dark and stormy night” is actually a play off of the first line of Edgar Bulwer Lyton Victorian best seller. Just saying. But yes, I always thought it was a famous Wrinkle in Time thing. I enjoy this book. But I don’t think of it as science fiction, just as fantasy.

    1. yep, that’s me – confusing genres and not quite figuring it all out. You are right, I suppose this is more fantasy than science fiction but who should quibble? well, maybe should is a bad word. Fantasy it is!

  8. Hey Blogging Buddy… you’ve gotten quiet. Are ya busy reading? 😀

    Oscar de la Hunta is cute and funny. For a long time, all our pets had K names…. Kiara, Kovu, Kookie, Kaiser, etc… But after they started dying, one right after the other, we started to think maybe K names were kursed (hehe). Kyo is the first K in about 5 years, and our only K now. We have Princess Leia, Dabu, Kyo and Missy.

    BTW, I didn’t know about the Hamlet character until I read the book last year and had to Google it, too 😉

  9. The dog’s name is one of the many things in this book designed to appeal to geek children!

    Did you know there’s an annual Bulwer-Lytton contest for the worst first line of an imaginary book? Past winners have not started with the famous “It was a dark and storm night” line.

    1. Geek children, huh? At what age exactly is this a see-able characteristic in a child? 🙂

      Yes, I’ve heard of that contest but I wouldn’t have won a contest for remembering it!

  10. Great post! I just read this recently myself for the readalong, but since I reread the series periodically, and have since I started blogging, I’m not sure how to talk about it. Which is neither here nor there.

    Anyway, I noticed that, too, about the final rescuing bit as I was reading. I was reading along and thinking, “Wow, there really isn’t very much book left. But all this important stuff happens! Whoah!”

    I’ve never been bothered by the religious themes. From reading L’Engle’s nonfiction, I like to think she was a live-and-let-live kind of woman, as far as beliefs go. Possibly I’m wrong and it turns out she was a really horrible bigot, but… I just don’t think so.

    Anyway, yeah, when I was a kid, I totally got Meg and her brattiness. I kind of find it endearing even now, and I love that she is a geeky child. I was, too, and still am. But I can see where people who don’t have the blinders of having read and loved this book as a child like I do would find her whiny.

  11. I didn’t really like this book much when I read it. I rated it 3 stars. It wasn’t bad but it’s wasn’t great either. I don’t know what the big deal is about it.

    It sounds like an audio version might not work for that book (i.e. witch instead of which).

  12. Pingback: A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle « A Book Blog. Period.

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