A Wrinkle in Time
By Madeleine L’Engle
Once I learned how to read, I really enjoyed reading books. And unlike the other kids, I even loved the books that we were forced to read in school. Sure, I liked the Goosebumps books by R.L. Stine like any other kid, but the first book that ever really spoke to me and that I absolutely loved was A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. This was a required reading in my fifth grade English class, where we read some of it in class and then some of it for homework and I just devoured this book in my free time and finished it before the rest of the class did. I just fell in love with the story and identified SO much with the main character, Meg Murry.
A Wrinkle in Time follows Meg Murry, her youngest brother Charles Wallace, and Meg’s new friend Calvin O’Keefe (and a possible love interest) as they are whisked away into a fantastical adventure in the search of the Murry’s missing father. Both of Meg’s parents are scientists and her father disappeared while working on a mysterious experiment for the government. The book opens up on a “Dark and stormy night” and Meg, her mom, and Charles Wallace can’t sleep and all congregate in the kitchen for a midnight snack when there’s a knock at their door late at night. They are visited by a peculiar stranger that goes by the name of Mrs. Whatsit who tells the Murry’s that tesseracts are in fact real (Tesseracts are explained in the book, but in short they can form “a wrinkle in time” which allows people to time travel in space and time to other dimensions and planets! Exciting!) and that Meg’s father needs saving.
I think the reason why I enjoyed A Wrinkle in Time so much was because I identified with Meg. At the time I wore glasses, had braces, and my hair was just like hers “mousy brown hair.” So, obviously as I was reading, I pictured myself as Meg! She also loved and talked to cats! I love cats (Future cat lady in the making.)! Not only did I feel a kinship to Meg just on our physical similarities it was also because in the beginning of the book she had insecurities, self doubt, felt misunderstood, and had low self esteem and she was fiercely close and defended her family just like I did at that age. Even though Meg felt all those negative things about herself in the beginning of the book, towards the end of it she became a stronger person and started believing in herself. I still battle with some of these issues, but Meg showed me that it is possible to overcome them. I think this is what has made this book stand the test of time (first published in 1962), we all have these insecurities at some point in our lives and this book is so relatable to a lot of people.
Also, this was made into a made for TV movie back in 2003 that Disney picked up. I remember watching it and I think I still have the recording of it somewhere…
I only watched it once and from what I remember, it actually did stay pretty close to the book with minor changes, I just remember not being too happy with their casting selections. I wasn’t too keen on them casting Gregory Smith as Calvin (he was in the TV show Everwood and I HATED that show, so I think it stemmed from that!), but in actuality and looking back on that now, I’m sure he did well!
Anyways, that was fourteen years ago, so time for a reboot right?! They have just wrapped filming A Wrinkle in Time which will be a major motion picture that will be be on the big screen sometime in 2018! They have cast a lot of big name stars too, like Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, and Zach Galifianakis, just to name a few. So, that should be fun and interesting! I’ll be interested to see it finally on the big screen.
By Gail Carson Levine
Another one of my all time favorite books was, and still is, Ella Enchanted which is a fairy tale retelling of Cinderella. With a twist! Ever since I could remember, Cinderella has always been my favorite fairy tale so I was very thrilled to find a book that was based off of it. I remember reading this on my own for fun when I was in the seventh grade and after reading it, I loved it so much that I wanted someone to talk to about it. I, however, didn’t know or have any friends that had read this book, so I begged my mom to read it. She eventually did, but it took awhile to convince her to do so (In fact it took me getting sick one night and her staying up all night by my bedside for her to FINALLY read it!). I enjoyed talking about Ella Enchanted with her so much that it made me want to read more books and find other people to talk about those with.
The book is about and follows the main character Ella, who at birth is given “the gift of obedience” from the well meaning fairy Lucinda but it soon becomes apparent that the “gift” is more of a curse than a blessing because it means Ella must now obey any order (from anyone) that is given to her whether or not it is dangerous or in her best interests. Even though Ella now has to live with “the gift of obedience,” she doesn’t let it get in the way of her goals or who she really is as a person (she still stays a strong willed young lady and as feisty as ever!), even though it can sometimes get in the way of her well being.
“Instead of making me docile, Lucinda’s curse made a rebel of me. Or perhaps I was that way naturally.”
Ella’s mother and their cook and friend Mandy (who happens to be a fairy — Ella’s “Fairy Godmother”) have both protected Ella as she’s grown up. Ella is very close with her mother, but unfortunately her mother ends up getting very sick and dying a little before Ella turns fifteen. It’s there at her mother’s funeral that Ella meets and befriends handsome and charming Prince Charmont (he prefers to go by Prince Char). They spend some time together before her father thinks it’s best to send her off to a girls finishing school. There she meets two mean girls that enjoy making her life more difficult. Eventually, her father remarries making those mean girls Ella’s new step-sisters.
When Ella hears that Lucinda is going to be attending a giant’s wedding, Ella ditches school and goes on an adventure to hopefully find the fairy and get the gift lifted from her. Along the way she crosses paths with Prince Char once more and she fends off ogres, befriends elves, and falls in love with the Prince. Ella soon realizes that her having to obey anyone’s orders is a risk and danger to Prince Char and the kingdom, so she decides to break things off with Char, even though she doesn’t want to.
Will Ella ever get the gift of obedience lifted from her or will she have endure it her whole life? And will she ever get her Happily Ever After? If you haven’t already, you really should pick up this book and give it a shot, and if you have, you should give it another re-read! It’s a middle grade title, but I think the message of the book really holds true no matter your age. I’ve read this book more than once and I definitely want to re-read it again soon.
Talking about two of my all time favorite books has me feeling nostalgic and wanting to re-read both of them now! What do you think? Were these any of your favorite books growing up? What were some of your all time favorites? Let me know in the comments below!