Meg’s father mysteriously disappears after experimenting with the fifth dimension of time travel. Determined to rescue him, Meg and her friends must outwit the forces of evil on a heart-stopping journey through space and time. A Newbery Medal winner.
My type?: Absolutamente. As much as I thrive on the excitement of all the newest and most recently popular releases in children’s and YA, since I’m still fairly new to these genres I try to sprinkle in a ‘classic’ every now and then, amongst the babes. And I am so glad I did here. I don’t remember why I never read this as a child. I suppose I was never assigned to read it in school, which is why I did most of my reading growing up.
There are so many things, it’s hard to know where to begin. For starters: I adore this commemorative cover. It’s curious, colorful, compelling. I saw this book on the shelf and just had to pick it up. Because of the cover.
Another thing I love about this book is its unexpectedness. I’m not sure what I expected this Newbery winner to be like–as I’d of course heard of it before picking it up–but it turned out to be nothing at all like I’d pictured. And yet instead of this disappointing, it only made me love it all the more. It’s unconventional, yet timeless. I didn’t feel I was reading a book from the ’60s. I felt it could have existed at any time and still be relevant.
Finally, perhaps the greatest thing about the book is its familial aspect. Thinking back upon books I’ve read over the past year, it seems the protagonists must (nearly) always go off on their adventures themselves. And oftentimes their parents are gone or otherwise out of the picture. This has until now seemed necessary to their self-actualizations. But this book has proven that point wrong. Meg is accompanied by her brother and friend nearly the whole way, she has a great relationship with her mother, and she is still able to find herself, independently. I realize there does need to be some separate discovery, as there was here. But I’ve discovered through this story that it does not necessarily need to be throughout the entire book, in order for the book to be believable or successful.
Memorable bit(s): So many jewels of insight.
“But of course we can’t take any credit for our talents. It’s how we use them that counts.”
“She (Meg) wanted to reach out and grab Calvin’s hand, but it seemed that ever since they had begun their journeyings she had been looking for a hand to hold, so she stuffed her firsts into her pockets and walked along behind the two boys.–I’ve got to be brave, she said to herself.–I will be.”
“‘But that’s exactly what we have on Camazotz. Complete equality. Everybody exactly alike.’ . . . ‘No!’ she cried triumphantly. ‘Like and equal are not the same thing at all!'”
“‘We look not at the things which are what you would call seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal. But the things which are not seen are eternal.'”
“‘You mean you’re comparing our lives to a sonnet? A strict form, but freedom within it?’ ‘Yes.’ Mrs. Whatsit said. ‘You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. What you say is completely up to you.'”
Recommendation: This is an adventure tale for any age, bursting with worldly wisdom that reminds me of Harry Potter and its ultimate messages of love and friendship. A great perk of this edition is L’Engle’s Newbery Medal Acceptance Speech in the back of the book. Really inspiring. I can’t wait to read on in this series.
Published: originally in 1962, reprinted here January 2010 by Square Fish.