A Wrinkle In Time

A Wrinkle in Time (Time Series, #1) - Madeleine L'Engle

Warning – mild spoilers for the 2018 movie version of A Wrinkle In Time.


I remember loving the A Wrinkle In Time in late Elementary  School (and it was only a trilogy then not the quintet it eventually became). But with the years and so many other books in the interim, the details were hazy. So I listened to the audiobook version last month so that the story would be fresh before I went to see the movie.


The story of A Wrinkle In Time has weathered the intervening years relatively well and worked well as an audiobook (though there were moments when dragging out the words of the incorporeal Mrs. Which got a bit tedious).  When I was a child, I was tone-deaf to the overt theology sprinkled throughout, but it really stood out to my adult ears. Still, it doesn’t detract from the basic story or from the prickly/lovable characters themselves.  I still love the image of Mrs. Murry cooking stew over a Bunsen burner in the lab and Meg stole my heart. 


Even as short a book as A Wrinkle In Time is too much material for a movie, and they left out about 2/3 of the nuances of the book in the Ava DuVernay adaptation currently in the theaters. I do question some of the choices of what to show and what to cut in the book (why does it matter if Mrs. Whatzit stole the neighbor’s sheets if you don't know why - and at the expense of the wonderful visual of the too many scarves and hats during the storm? Why cut the twins, doesn’t that cut out options necessary to make movies from the subsequent books? Where was Aunt Beast?)

But in general, knowing that simplification is unavoidable, I was pleased with how the movie captured the spirit of the book, except for one thing.  I didn't like cutting Calvin out of the rescue of Mr. Murry and the final conflict with IT. From my perspective, the message of the original book was "Love and teamwork can conquer all." The movie transformed that into "Love and self-reliance can conquer all." Still a powerful message, and one that is very in-fashion, but not, quite, the same.