Litstack Recs | A Wrinkle in Time & Sisters

by Tee Tate

A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle, a rec for #BannedBooksWeek

This classic novel, number 23 on the American Library Association’s (ALA) 100 most frequently challenged books, was banned from 1990-1999 and 2000-2009 for its blend of religion, the supernatural, and science. The book’s epic struggle between darkness and light is an apt metaphor for the silence that book banning imposes on essential voices in literature—and was a target by censors who condemned its idea that religion, magic, and science are of a spiritual piece.

I read this book at nine years old, and at the time, I liked to think I had a few things in common with Meg Murry. Like me, she was the oldest child. She too was myopic enough to make glasses necessary whether she liked them or not. And like me, she was different in distinctly nerd-like fashion.

Yet in deeper ways, we were nothing alike. The daughter of scientists, she was a far better student than I ever was, and as the protagonist of Madeleine L’Engle’s classic story, Meg was inherently more inquisitive and exhibited far more bravery. Readers of the book know how she sets off with her misfit little brother and the dashing Calvin O’Keefe to rescue her father on the dark planet Camazotz, and in the course of the story, travels by tesseract to rescue her father—and as complications demand, to rescue her little brother Charles Wallace as well.

Despite her self-doubt, Meg’s intelligence, determined calm and awesome mettle see her through. And then there’s the matter of her role as a female protagonist in a book of science fiction, which made her all the more admirable. To say I would have liked to be friends with Meg is an understatement. Like legions of L’Engle’s devoted readers, I not only wanted to befriend Meggy, I wanted to be Meggy, and never more than in that moment when Calvin, in a trope movie moment, takes off her glasses and tells her she has “dreamboat eyes.”

Lauren Alwan

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