I still remember getting Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time from the book mobile library when I was probably around 11 years old. As my first introduction to science fiction, I devoured it. The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature sums up the story well:
Juvenile novel by Madeleine L’Engle, published in 1962. It won a Newbery Medal in 1963. Combining theology, fantasy, and science, it is the story of travel through space and time to battle a cosmic evil. With their neighbor Calvin O’Keefe, young Meg Murry and her brother Charles Wallace embark on a cosmic journey to find their lost father, a scientist studying time travel. Assisted by three eccentric women–Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which–the children travel to the planet Camazotz where they encounter a repressed society controlled by IT, a disembodied brain that represents evil. Among the themes of the work are the dangers of unthinking conformity and scientific irresponsibility and the saving power of love.
Two images remain with me after 30 years since reading the book. One is Meg saying the multiplication tables to focus her mind and resist being taken over by IT. The other is Meg calling out her love to Charles Wallace to pull him back from the IT’s mind control. At the time, and still now, I was struck by the power of love in this story, which I think was Ms. Engle’s primary point. Disney just ran a made-for-TV movie on A Wrinkle in Time. It started out well. I think the three kids were well cast, especially Charles Wallace. But unfortunately the special effects were way too cheesy, almost Dr. Who-ish, and detracted from rather than providing support for the story. Too bad. Disney blew it. This book deserved better.