Sabtu, 08 September 2012

Book Review: A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle

How do I begin writing a review of a book that tackles a subject a cannot fully comprehend? Mathematics and physics, anyone? But, I am getting ahead of myself.

I first encountered the word tesseract while browsing Goodreads and chanced upon Alex Garland's novel, The Tesseract. (Yes, the Alex Garland who is the author of the infamous book, The Beach.) I was totally intrigued with The Tesseract, not because of the tesseract concept per se, but because of the Philippine setting, particularly Manila. Presently, however, I can no longer recall what the story of The Tesseract was all about after I read it some two years ago. I am sure, though, that there was no description there of what a teserract is (or did I just miss it?). This time, with Madeleine L' Engle's A Wrinkle In Time, there was an explanation of what this term means, except that I think I do not totally get the concept.

A Wrinkle In Time was first published in 1967 by American author, Madeleine L" Engle (1918-2007), and won numerous awards, one of which was the prestigious Newbery Medal - an award given to a particular book for its distinguished contribution to American literature for children.

Given that A Wrinkle In Time has won the Newbery Medal, I was expecting a children's story that is a quick and easy read; but lo, and behold, this book makes huge demands on the imagination. I, in all of my thirty years, cannot still fully grasp what a teserract is. Add to that my very unsatisfactory comprehension with mathematics, physics, and geometry. This is not to say that I did not like the book. I TOTALLY LOVED IT! I loved it because it has made me think. It was amazing, in a literal way, because my mind until now is still processing the concept of a tesseract. Too bad, the explanation in the book entails some mathematical computations, and what little skill I have with numbers unfortunately does not include the book's demands. Sigh.

Still, I was amazed with how Miss L'Engle crafted her characters and weaved her plot, encompassing not only time travel but space travel as well. Of course, time and space travel stories are not entirely new to me, but considering that the book was published almost 50 years ago, A Wrinkle In Time has exceeded my expectations of "old" books like this. Madeleine L' Engle is indeed one amazing writer.

What surprised me while reading this book are the Biblical quotes. Considering that this book is categorized as science fiction, Christian themes are not lost in it. In fact, strong biblical allusions are prevailing in the story. I love that the primary theme of the story is love - a theme that is not actually new in most children's books but compelling, nonetheless.

A Wrinkle In Time wraps up so beautifully in the end, though a bit mushy. But then anything lovely is mushy, don't you think?

I am surprised that this is just the first of a series of other books because standing alone, A Wrinkle In Time is one excellent book. I am not under the compulsion yet of completing all the books in the series, but maybe sometime in the future I'll pick up her other books, when my brain is again ready for some wild, out-of-this-world calisthenics.

5 stars.

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