I may have encountered my favorite book of all time. I never thought I’d find myself saying this; sure, I have thoroughly enjoyed books: The Help, Matilda, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Eat, Pray, Love and Broken Open, but they never felt like the favorite of all time. That all changed when I decided to read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. The piece of fiction is true literary gold, which is to say that the author was anointed by the writing gods when she both got the idea for the book and carried the novel out in ingenious fashion. It’s no wonder there’s a gold seal on the cover, the John Newberry Medal, an homage to the anointed nature of the book.
My favorite books to read are the ones I can’t wait to pick back up again; whatever I am doing, I am thinking of when I get to read again. This book was no exception. I was half disappointed I’d begun watching the new Disney movie version of the story; those characters became engrained in my mind. I’m only half disappointed because it led me to the book. I had to diligently forget the movie’s portrayal of the characters and seep my brain into the imagination of the author and the scenes and characters she depicted with such craft and precision. I didn’t want the screen play or casting to take away from the original books’s careful brilliance or my own imagination. Soon enough, I had vivid scenes in my mind that departed from the movie.
A Wrinkle in Time gained the honor of my all-time favorite book for many reasons, which I will outline below:
Meg’s Relatable Struggles
First off, I related to Meg’s despair over her dad’s disappearance. While my father didn’t galavant off to alternate universes, he was gone a lot. We often had to rescue him from the universe he’d become lost in after way too many hours on the clock. While I didn’t get ridiculed for his absence or reasoning behind it, I know what it’s like to be the outcast, the weird kid in musical theatre, the kid who got bullied by the mean-spirited neighbor boys. I could empathize with Meg’s struggles to be her unique self, to feel adequate and find her own sense of confidence in who she is apart from the crowd.
The Messengers of God: Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which
I also deeply related to the Mrs. W’s: Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Whitch. While I cannot see angels materialize, they are very much an active part of my life. I can sense their presence and love and have a keen awareness of their influence, guidance and protection in my life. I immediately knew these characters were some kind of guardian angels—heavenly figures sent to Meg, Charles Wallace and Calvin to help them on their journey.
Like angels in nonfiction life, the three Mrs. cannot and will not do things for you. They can’t interfere with free will nor can they solve problems for us, but they sure can equip us for the journey. They can assist us in ways that otherwise we’d be left with our own earthly devices. They can point us in the right direction, boost our faith, protect us and guide us, but they can’t take the journey for us. Just as Meg had to go to Camazotz to find her father and return “alone” to rescue Charles Wallace, we too have to do the bulk of our journey ourselves.
That isn’t to say we are alone. I believe we are never truly alone. There’s no doubt that Meg was always in the presence of her divine assistants, helping her to recall their guidance right when she needed it most. They’d planted the seeds of guidance before she arrived to her tests and replanted it into the garden of her mind when she’d forgotten their guidance.
I believe angels do that in the physical all the time, planting signs, people and reminders of their desired guidance. It may already be implanted into our consciousness, but God and his messengers know we easily forget especially in times of trouble, when fear so easily clouds our guidance.
Mrs. Who’s Quotables
I love that Mrs. Who quotes history’s greatest minds throughout he novel; I feel God speaks to us through the words of the worlds most enlightened minds when we need guidance. I seem to find quotes or passages or bible verses that put my circumstances into divine perspective that I’d otherwise miss. Mrs who so graciously provides that source enlightenment but what u love is that she’ doesn’t interpret the words; she allows the characters (and reader) to do it for themselves. It’s just like angels to not enable us but to let our own minds gather the necessary interpretation.
Christian Undertones and Themes
Fourthly, I loved the insertion of the biblical truths in the book, subtle as they sometimes were. They gave me a sense of assuredness that this book was divinely guided and inspired. God was used repeatedly as a means for inner strength as Meg and Charles fought the evil forces of IT. Mrs. Who reminded the children of powerful humans in history that have fought evil with the power of divine light using the verse from John 1:5: “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”
The verses from Corinthians are relayed to Meg by Mrs. Who to buoy faith in herself as she embarks on the solo journey back to Camazotz. She cannot see the specific reasons for which she is chosen out of everyone else to rescue Charles Wallace, but we later find out that no one loves and knows Charles Wallace as she does. The verse reveals that in our human weakness, we find strength through the power of Love. God can boast his strength when he uses the weak.
God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called, but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are.
- 1 Corinthians 1:25-31
Finally, Mrs. Whatsit’s declaration of love for Meg is what helps her successfully resist the lies of IT. She remembers that she has the love of those around her which IT has not. This poignant and pivotal park in the book remind’s me of God’s unfailing, perfect love for us. When our ego’s separatism would lead us to believe we aren’t loved, we know we are loved despite evidence to the contrary from fallible human love. It’s this Divine love via Mrs. Whatsit that leads to Meg’s Divine download of the only power capable of defeating IT and bringing Charles Wallace out if its clenched claws of deception.
The Use of Darkness
I resonated with the IT, the villain of the book and antagonist. To me, the IT felt like the programmed ego, telling you what to do when to do it and how—all based on a voice in your head that isn’t really your own, but a concoction of the voices you heard growing up and the one you developed out of these influences. I appreciated that you couldn’t hear IT or the red-eyed man audibly, an homage to the silent yet powerful voices in our head. The fact that you could hear both IT and Charles Wallace once the IT consumed his mind is testament to the many sources of influence in our own mind and a /-/ to the collective nature of our minds. If we can muffle those negative influences, as Meg so laboriously tries to do for Charles Wallace, we can her the voice of love which speaks in the silent spaces in between the constant babble a la IT.
Quite possibly my favorite part of the book is when Meg is sent to rescue her beloved brother from the wrath of IT. The foreshadowing provided by Mrs. W let my own mind gather conclusions about what she’d meant about the element that could save Charles, the one thing IT was devoid of. I knew with little deliberation that love was the answer, that love would set him free as it is the only power than can override fear. The biblical references along with my own awareness of loves uniting power made the conclusion rather easy. Jesus universe message of inclusivity and compassion always revolved around love. To my delight, Love was the saving element Meg had been guided to use, to love her brother as he was, even as deluded as he was, to love the broken, egoic aspect of himself to bring him back to his true, original self.
The references and ties to such powerful truths in this book is one of the major reasons why I love it so much, why it will be known as my favorite book, so long as another piece of literary perfection doesn’t sweep it off its pedestal. I can’t remember the last time a book of fiction so closely reached me in all the places I needed at just the time I needed it, but that is how God works. I don’t doubt an ounce that one of His heavenly messengers planted the seed which led me to find the movie and planted a second one that led me to press pause and read the book. Boy am I ever glad I did. Thank you God for inspiring me to read the book and for sending the author her own seed to write it.