WIB Dec 1-7
I feel like I’ve talked about A Wrinkle in Time a million times, but it’s the only book I read this week.
I’m just going to copy what I wrote for the book club (where we’re reading, among other things, books that have characters that we saw ourselves in):
I reread Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time in three sittings, because I kept having to get sleep if I wanted to be rested for the next day. And that’s the only reason. It’s a quick read, a simple one, but beautiful for all that.
Meg Murry is a very emotional freshman in high school. She shows whatever she feels too, in stark contrast to her mother, who is loving and gives her kids a lot of freedom but hides her grief for her missing husband in where her children can’t see. She’s strong for them because Meg can’t be.
Meg is also sulky, cranky, and easy to hurt. She’s smart but hates schoolwork. She believes she’s hideously unattractive.
It’s no surprise, really, that a lot of pre-teens were drawn to Meg growing up.
What I found interesting as an adult was that her mother never says “You’re very pretty, darling.” When I first reread this as an adult a few years ago, my daughter was going through her awkward tween phase, physically–emotional from all those new hormones starting up, breaking out for the first time, sort of in-between with her growth so that she was clumsy and no longer had her “cute” babyness–and I thought Meg’s mom was reasonably suggesting that this is a phase that kids have to go through, this “awkward stage.” I thought it was the height of adult honesty that she doesn’t tell Meg she’s beautiful no matter what, and kind of rebellious at that, because mothers aren’t supposed to do that sort of thing. But now I also think she doesn’t say it because Meg wouldn’t believe her either. All she says is that she went through the same thing at Meg’s age, and that she was, I believe she says, “hideous.”
I also didn’t realize as a kid that so many of Meg’s issues are because her father is missing, presumed by the town to have run off with another woman. I knew it made her angry, but I guess I thought her anger was who she was, and that this was just a way of showing it, rather than causing it.
Anyway, I really connected to Meg because of her temper and sulkiness, her crankiness, her high emotions, her frustration with school and authority figures*, and her feeling she wasn’t attractive. When we find that Meg ends up beautiful, it doesn’t feel like a cheat, which really made me happy as a young reader. It feels like she’s grown up and into herself, that maybe adults aren’t lying when they say it’s “just a phase.”
I loathe that she’s some cute kid in the adaptation. I know some of you don’t agree with me, but I’ve always thought they SHOULD pick someone who’s kinda hideous in that in-between stage but will outgrow it.
*Also, holy hell, Mr. Jenkins telling her to accept that her dad likely ran off with another woman! That’s…something. But not unlike something I’d expect to hear from someone in a school. Teachers and administrators aren’t angels. Some are really bad at people but good at, say, organization–or teaching. But still. Yowch.
Charles Wallace annoyed me less this time around too. Typical Indigo Child, amirite?