I had no idea until about 2 minutes ago that “it was a dark and stormy night” is considered a cliched, unoriginal way of starting a story. I associate it so closely with A Wrinkle in Time–one of the most magical books from my childhood–that to me it’s the perfect way to start a book, and it’s too bad there aren’t more that start this way.
I can’t read A Wrinkle in Time without thinking back to my own childhood. I don’t remember for sure, but my guess is that my first introduction to this book was through my dad, reading it to me before bed (it really is the perfect book to read as you are safely snuggled under covers, isn’t it?). Calvin O’Keefe was one of my first literary crushes, and I wanted to grow up to be as cool as Mrs. Murry (still working on that one). I wore glasses and took comfort in the hope that, just like Meg Murry, I too had “dreamboat eyes” behind the spectacles. I don’t think I can review A Wrinkle in Time as an adult. My feelings about it are still the same as they were when I was 9 years old.
I’m not going to get into the plot too much, since most people who are reading this already know. Suffice to say it’s magical, and silly, and exciting, and upon rereading it as an adult it’s much simpler than it seemed when I was little. But honestly how much does the actual plot matter when it introduces some of the best characters in young adult fiction? I’m speaking, of course, about Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which. They are so delightful (I also have a soft spot for Aunt Beast). They’re whimsical and quirky without being annoying, which is a tough balance to achieve.
A Wrinkle in Time is the sort of books whose themes are discussed to death, but to me, the most important one is that of isolation and loneliness. It’s probably less important to the book than the battle between good and evil, or conformity, but it’s the reason this book has always resonated with me. Meg, Calvin, Charles Wallace, both Murry parents, the Mrs. W’s, are all desperately lonely or isolated from others in their own way, and the story of a group of misfits finding each other and coming together to try to save the universe is the kind of story that I loved as a child. I still find that stories about loneliness and simple human connections are the ones that mean the most to me. A Wrinkle in Time is still so valuable to me in that regard.