A Wrinkle in Time - Madeleine L'Engle “A straight line is not the shortest distance between two points”
Meg Murray is the daughter of two brilliant scientists, making her difficulties in school mind-boggling. Her father has been gone, experimenting, for over a year and the family is getting worried. The arrival of a mysterious neighbor lady leads Meg, her youngest brother, Charles Wallace, and new friend, Calvin, on an adventure to save Meg’s dad.

I Liked:
I think it is pretty radical for a book written in this time (1962) to feature so prominently a girl who is a whiz at math. Nowadays, we see it all too often (and sometimes groan at how badly it’s done), but back in the 60’s, most girls could look forward to “girly” jobs, like secretaries, teachers, nurses, and other typically feminine occupations. So Meg is quite the role model in her own way.
After a slightly slow beginning, the book whisks us away to another place, using the interesting concepts of tesseracts (the math geek in me squees). I really liked this concept—a real reason for space (and time!) travel. I liked how it was somewhat based in real science and math—perhaps to get the kiddos interesting in the best fields of all time? And the aliens who can’t see…that really got me to thinking about how it would to describe light and sight to them, to think about aliens that are of the “non-human” type.
I was rather surprised that the book touches on such “heavy” topics for a children’s book. The children go to a dystopic world and learn about uniformity, aberrance, and other topics that I wouldn’t have thought to introduce to kids. The major characters have to learn to stick together, to protect their minds from people who want them to be all the same (peer pressure?), and to persevere, even when the going gets tough. I was also impressed at how Meg’s view of her father changed. She thought of him as omnipotent, but then she came to realize that he wasn’t much different from her—a bumbling child in a world he doesn’t understand. She also realized that she couldn’t saddle her father with all the responsibility, that SHE had a responsibility that only she could perform. How many kids books do that? Obviously, not the books I read…
Also, I thought it cool how the author narrated. I loved her little anecdote at the beginning too.

I Didn’t Like:
Let me preface this with the following: I am twenty-six years old and this is my first reading. I never had the chance to read this as a child, and I wonder if perhaps many of my complaints are based on coming at this being an adult (I mean, I try to have an open mind and not take things too seriously, but no one is perfect).
Our protagonist, Meg Murray, is aggravating. I have no problems with characters with flaws; I have no problems with characters who are imperfect. But Meg must have been given every single last flaw in the book. She is whiny, she is overdramatic, she is despondent, she is pessimistic, she is self-loathing, she is forgetful, she has huge glasses, she is complaining, she is a miserable, little twit that I would like to squeeze until she squishes like a bug. While she is given the one trait of being good with numbers (but, of course, not to her evil teacher's liking, who mark her down simply because she won't do it the "right" way), Meg is heaped with more flaws than strengths that I have ever seen. She is always wailing about something to someone (calm down, get a grip!). She is always complaining about her situation in life (calm down and DO something about it). You might use the excuse "She's a teen", but that's just an excuse, not a reason. You might even say she had to be this way to change, so the ending would matter, but I beg to differ. Meg could have a few more good qualities and had a great "knock-down" at the end that would mean something for her character. And I understand her dad has been gone, and no one knows where she is, but that still is not a good enough excuse for me to overlook her bad behavior and like her.
Charles Wallace is the weirdest child ever, full of hyperbole. I think it's supposed to be "cute" or his "talent" that he talks like an English college professor at the age of five but I found it eye-rolling.
Calvin wasn't half bad, but when he nearly burst into song upon entering the Murray house, I had to wonder whether this guy was completely okay in the head. He says something to the extent, "I've never been here, but somehow I feel like I'm home!" Oh brother.
What was the point of the mother and the twins? The story is about Meg, Calvin, and Charles; there was no need to clutter it up with a mom who is so smart but makes no difference and twins who are only there to insult other characters' intelligences.
The tesseract is explained in a way that makes it more confusing than enlightening to understand. I feel sorry for parents trying to explain this to their eight-year-old.
There are aspects of the book that feel a little too much like C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia (children called from their world to fix another world, a boy who is swayed to join the bad guys, the allegory, etc.). I also felt that some of the Bible verses cited felt a little too awkwardly placed.
And I hate to complain about the narrator, particularly since she's the author, but did the narrator have to be so overdramatic and overact? Perhaps I wouldn't have hated Meg so if the narrator hadn't said all of Meg's dialogue in loud, self-defeatist tones.

Dialogue/Sexual Situations/Violence:
Rumors abound that Mr. Murray ran out on Mrs. Murray.
The children watch a woman spank a child. A being is made of a brain and controls people’s minds.

I’ll admit that I really didn’t like this book. But if I ever have kids, I’m going to read this to them when they are young. I think they will appreciate the adventure, associate with Meg more than I did, and get to thinking about the topics the book presents. And it’s a good precursor to other fantasy/sci-fi books that I did love, such as the Hobbit, the Lord of the Rings, and Ender’s Game.