Pop Culture Homework Assignment #1: A Wrinkle in Time

I figured the best way to kick off both the Pop Culture Homework Project and the new year would be to do something simple.  And what could be simpler than a children's book?

I've always been an avid reader, but when I first picked up A Wrinkle in Time in about seventh grade, I found it intolerably boring, and tossed it aside after only a few chapters. My classmates didn't seem to have this problem, and so I'm one of the few people who have managed to make it to adulthood without being able to look back on this novel fondly as a cherished childhood memory. I can't understand why, because I've always loved stories of children who journey to a magical land to face down challenges and demons, like Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, The Phantom Tollbooth, etc.

So, how did it fare now that I've finally read it? Well, it's not entirely fair for me to judge it, because I'll never be able to see it through the eyes of a kid. It's like those people who wait until they're 32 to watch The Goonies, and then can't understand what all the fuss is about. Perhaps that explains why I found this book underwhelming.

The main characters are essentially yanked along on their journey by other entities, rather than setting out with a plan of their own. All the challenges are faced by staring deeply into one another's eyes and yelling. The character of The Happy Medium is introduced, only to play absolutely no real part in the events. The religious themes, so nimbly hidden in The Chronicles of Narnia such that I didn't notice them until years later, are overt and clumsy here.

These may be unfair complaints, akin to playing art critic to the kindergarten fingerpainting a proud parent has displayed on the family refrigerator. Still, I can't say that I regret missing out on this book. Either I've missed my window of opportunity for loving it, or my seventh-grade-self was on to something.

A Wrinkle in Time: C+


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