My second read in the time quintet! And oh boy, how much and why I still enjoy reading children books is just out of my grasp!
Charles Wallace, our brilliant and intuitive 6 year old gets ill. He talks about things, that his elder sister Meg, finds impossible to exist. Do they really exist? Does their existence really matter?
All of a sudden, it turns out that Charles Wallace's life is important for the survival of our universe. And somehow, Meg alone with the help of certain creatures, has to sort out ways to save her dear younger brother.
The components used in the novel: time and size difference between two galaxies (earth and human body), the Proginoskes, Mr. Jenkins, The Teacher Blajney, Echthroi, Sposors and Yadah, all had very strong character development!
Compassion, friendship, empathy, sacrifice, care and above all love has been taught as a lesson throughout the story. I believe not only children but sometimes elders should read such magical books to open the gates of our grown up minds to the possibility of impossibilities. Because a lot of lessons taught in this book are not age specific! “Don't try to comprehend with your mind. Your minds are very limited. Use your intuition.”
The story tells us that we are nothing alone. Every particle in the universe exists to complement the other and nothing is complete within itself! That in the battle between good and evil, it is good that always wins, no matter how much difficult does it seem in the start! That you can change nothing into everything by the mere acts of love and acceptance!
"The temptation for farandola or for man or for star is to stay an immature pleasure-seeker. When we seek our own pleasure as the ultimate good, we place ourselves as the center of the universe. A fara or a man or a star has his place in the universe, but nothing created is the center"
One other lesson this story teaches us is that we cannot have wings unless we are rooted! And we cannot enjoy the vastness of the skies unless our roots are deep down in the ground.
It is true, small offspring. Now that I am rooted I am no longer limited by motion. Now I may move anywhere in the universe. I sing with the stars. I dance with the galaxies. I share in the joy-and in the grief. We farae must have our part in the rhythm of the mitochondria, or we cannot be. If we cannot be, then we are not.
I loved reading this book as much I loved reading "A WRINKLE IN TIME". Undoubtedly, 5 happy, loving, dancing stars!
Now this is what I'm talking about! If 'A Wrinkle in Time' is hot cocoa, then this book was Ghiredelli's Peppermint Hot Cocoa with marshmallows and $100. Seriously.
Trusting the advice of those I loved, I decided to perserver and finish 'The Time Quartet'. So it was onto AWITD and it rooked. Wow, that was me spelling rocked. I thought it was entertaining so I left it for your enjoyment. Anyway, I digress...
This book was great. It joins the same crew; Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin, and throws in some new adventurers including dragons. Now, any book that starts off with dragons, is probably going to be a winner in my book. But this time, they are not rescuing their father, or the universe itself (although that could be suggested in a round-about way), but they are trying to save cute Charles Wallace, my fav. I won't really go into the details, but it's good.
Again, I was so impressed with her ability to combine Chrisitan beliefs and Scripture with a quantum phsyics/biological fantasty-based adventure story. Wow, that was a wierd sentence. There was just so much good theology in there that I kept thinking about it, chewing on it, applying to my own life. I just really enjoyed it, and the end? Whew! That's what really made it. Can I just say, Progo, I love you and Meg, way to make nothing into something. You rule.
Is it weird that I really loved A Wrinkle in Time and I fiercely disliked its sequel? I don't remember it being this bad when I read it as a kid, but bad it is. There are hints of the delightful whimsy of the first book, particularly in the Mr. Jenkins face-off and the "classroom" meeting with Sporos. But there are many more scenes of purported seriousness which aren't handled well at all. The climactic scenes, which I think were supposed to be moving and exciting, were unbearably ham-fisted and pretentious. Is there seriously a point where, to illustrate the value of love as a weapon against the bad guys, Calvin suddenly remembers some experiment he did on plants as a nine-year-old where he spoke lovingly to one plant and it grew better than the rest?
New "rules" and random developments get thrown one after the other at the reader. Apparently you have to X yourself under certain circumstances. Blajeny has some kind of immense power but for some reason also must structure the battle for Charles Wallace's life as a series of prophesied tests which Meg (also for no clear reason) has to be the one to pass. "Deepening" is very important, in fact the centerpiece of the final struggle, but isn't mentioned until we're basically right there waiting for it to happen - it's as if Frodo goes to Mordor without an explanation as to why, and then all of a sudden at Mount Doom we find out oh and by the way there's some ring and it has lots of power and he needs to destroy it.
Its predecessor was a lovely book and its successors are a bit better, but I found this book to be unbelievably disappointing.
This is the second book about Meg, Charles Wallace, their family and Calvin, their friend. There is no other obvious connection to the first installment other than that time can be bent and the children go on a sort of adventure through the universe. The universe, this time, is the great idea of everything lying within as without. For example, the galaxy is huge to us, making us tiny, and yet we are a part of it. So, too, are the smallest parts of us (like, for example, mitochondria) still a part of us and we are their galaxy.
But again, all is not well in this book. Though Meg's and Charles Wallace's father is back with the family, there is great danger coming, namely in form of Charles Wallace getting sick from "undoing"/"unbeing". Help is coming, however, as in the first book. Here, in the form of a quite weird angel (cherubim) and a teacher. Thus, Meg and Calvin have to travel and pass certain tests and even travel into within Meg's little brother.
Like I said, the idea (though not new) is done quite well. However, this second book in the series was much less light on the subject of religion (like the teacher that must never be questioned, don't ask "where", the teacher being all-knowing and all-powerful but not solving the problem himself etc.) and the entire philosophy of love being the eternal answer to everything ... well, that might sound nice in theory but is utterly ridiculous if you think about it. No matter how much love you throw at your enemy, if they don't have the same tactic, you're not gonna get very far. Just like with the concept of "save one and you save them all". In this context especially, it was about bullies. The children in Charles Wallace's class as much as the school's principal. While I can make allowances for misguided children, I certainly won't for an adult bullying children under his/her care!
So yeah, while I can see this as a story about growing up and being faced with all kinds of problems in the world and having to learn how to deal with them, I don't agree with the solution presented here.
The adventure itself, too, was rather bland when compared to the first. No idea why. It had some truly great and promising elements and the writing style itself was very good once again, too, but neither the quest itself nor the characters accompanying the children (especially the cherubim and teacher) were up to the challenge.
there are some things, i think, that you read that will always stick with you. for me, one of those things is the scene in this book with progo, and the discussion he has with meg about the importance of naming. how once you are named, you are - no matter what.
i read this later, again, in college, and i read it as a history student, and through that lens, it says fascinating things about the relationship of history and memory, and what history is, and how we leave legacies. like many of l'engle's books, the theological element is present without being completely clear - this was, in a sense, i think her attempt to answer the question of life after death, and also (as all her books question) how bad and good can exist together in a universe created by a loving god.
the three mr. jenkins scene is pretty memorable as well, plus the idea of the little farandola in the mitochondria - her images are so clear and creative, such a wonderful blend of fact and fiction.
I feel like this book is too often asked to be another Wrinkle in Time, when in fact its sparse cast of characters and relatively uneventful narrative seem like L'Engle's deliberate effort to make it the opposite.
Wrinkle is all about recognizing the universal "song" of the cosmos, and stepping into it. A Wind the Door, however, is about recognizing the cosmos already inside the entity of the human being, and how our choices and sense of identity have an immeasurable effect on the song itself.
L'Engle makes the point that biologically, we are a galaxy unto ourselves, and she brings this point home by literally reducing her main cast of characters to a molecular level. The bizarre metaphor works, thanks to some beautiful imagery and a palpable sense of world-ending conflict.
Once again, there is endless insight into the nature of human relationships, good and evil, faith, science, identity, knowledge, and the subconscious. The concepts of Echthroi and kything are introduced, two ideas and words that have stayed with me since I was very young.
L'Engle never writes without something important to say; part of what makes reading her so rewarding. And the older I get, the more her books speak to me. I don't think I'll ever stop returning to them.
I never read this one when I was a kid, so I was coming at it completely fresh. And, at first, I thought it was making a difference in my reception of the book, because, at first, I was really enjoying it. The first third of the book was really good. I was impressed and everything.
Yes, there will be spoilers.
This one is two years after Wrinkle; Charles Wallace is in school and is having difficulties fitting in. He also thinks he's found a dragon in his brothers' garden. The first part of the book deals with the search for this dragon, and all of that section is interesting and enthralling. Including finding the "dragon," which turns out to be a cherubim. That spouts fire. I'm still not clear on why the cherubim spouted fire, but it did. We also meet Blajeny, a giant obsidian dude who is some kind of Teacher.
And that's where the book starts to fall apart. The first thing, which could be overlooked if it was the only thing, is that Calvin just happens to show up as Meg sneaks out to go looking for, well, she doesn't know what she's looking for. In fact, there's no clear reason why she sneaks out of the house. Here's the conundrum: It's after bedtime. Meg sneaks out, which is not the issue; the issue is that Calvin just shows up. Sure, he has his own reason for being there but, ostensibly, he should know that it's after the Murry children's bedtime, so why is he coming over to their house when Meg and Charles Wallace are expected to be asleep?
The next real issue is Blajeny. He's supposed to be a "Teacher," a term which is never really explained and, I suppose, shouldn't need to be explained except that he never teaches or does anything like teaching. What he does is announce to Meg that he is there to be her Teacher and that she will have three trials. So this is his method of teaching, to announce that she will have trials but, oh, he can't tell her what they will be or how to overcome them. He will, though, giver her the cherubim, Proginoskes, as a partner but, no, he doesn't know what the trials will be, either. This is another one of those tropes that I am overly tired of. And, well, how would Blajeny even know how many trials there would be if he didn't know what they would be, something he admits later. Basically, this was some ordeal he, some very powerful cosmic being, couldn't fix himself and needed Meg, a teenager, to do it for him.
Most of the rest of the book is torture. As soon as they get to the first trial, which is to determine the real Mr. Jenkins... Okay, hold on a moment. There was this scene in Wrinkle with Mr. Jenkins where he is questioning Meg about the whereabouts of her father. He seems to have an overly intense curiosity about it. Meg even wonders why Mr. Jenkins cares, basically, calls attention to the behavior to the reader, then... nothing. The character doesn't enter the book again, and I was left wondering what the heck that was all about. When he turned up in Wind, I thought, "Oh! We'll get to find out what Jenkins is up to" But no. Jenkins is up to nothing except being lame.
So, okay, Meg has to figure out which is the real Mr. Jenkins because he's been copied by fallen angels called Echthroi who want to X existence. But to start with, they want to X Charles Wallace. Yes, the "X"ing is how it is put in the book. They want to X everything. Why they copied Mr. Jenkins is never explained and has no logic to it other than a contrivance because Meg hates Jenkins but has been put into a position where she has to save him. What we get, then, is two chapters of Meg whining about how she can't do it and Proginoskes telling her she has to or he will X himself. They just kept going around and around that argument: "I can't do it." "You have to." "I can't." "Then I will fail the trial and will have to X myself." "No, you can't do that." "Then you have to choose." (Or, as they said in the book, she had to Name him.) "I can't do it." OH MY GOSH! Seriously! I needed two chapters of that! (More than 30 pages in the edition I read (nearly 1/5 of the book).)
And once they get through that? Well, Jenkins joins their little team and we spend most of the rest of the book bouncing back and forth between him and Meg both going on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on about how they can't do whatever it is they need to do. Oh, yes, and Jenkins asking to just be sent back to Earth. "I'm no good. Why am I even here? Just send me back." Or something to that effect.
Not to mention that, again, the person (Blajeny in this one) provided who should be able to answer questions and explain what's going on and what to do and all of that fails to answer any questions and leaves them on their own to figure out what to do. Which, you know, sometimes is what you need to do with kids but not when someone's life is in the balance. It would be like coming up on a car accident and the ambulance is there, but the EMT tells you to take care of it instead then refuses to answer any questions about what you should do and, in fact, wanders off when you're focused on the guy bleeding out.
Mostly, I have found these books, so far, to be a place for L'Engle to dangle her ideas and philosophies with not enough story to really make the books worthwhile. Both books have focused on love as major plot device (the climax of the Wrinkle being Meg saving her brother by, basically, saying "I love you"). The message, then, of A Wind in the Door is that love is an action, not a feeling, and that's something I agree with, but I don't need 50 pages of anguish over it. I also don't need half of the book explaining and re-explaining "kything."
So, as I said last time, these books may be great for kids, but I'm just not being able to get into them as an adult. There are too many shortcuts and too many devices without reason and not enough answers both to the questions the characters have and the questions that I have as a reader. If you loved these as a kid, cherish that, but don't try to go back to them now. If you never read them, it's probably better to just not.
Yawn. This book gave me anxiety attacks by imprisioning me in the same scene for 30+ chapters. Goes absolutely nowhere. I can't believe it's even related to A Wrinkle in Time. No wonder I'd never read it in school.
“We don’t have to know everything at once. We just do one thing at a time, as it is given us to do.”
You know when you read a book, you absolutely adore it and want so much more of it, and then it turns out it's a series so you pick up the second one and you are terrified it's not going to be up to your expectations? Well, it didn't happen to me with this one. I think the first book in this series is one of the most stunning books ever written, and I had so much faith in the author that I was sure 100% this one would be as well. And I was right.
If you want to know what I think about this book, go check my review of the first one. But I should warn you: it's just the rambling speech of a woman in love. Man, do i love this series!!!
A wind in the door starts out much darker than the first book in the installment - A wrinkle in time. While this one centers on the idea of good prevailing same as the first book did, I suppose it takes into account that the reader has grown a little since the release of the first book, and therefore comes across much darker than A wrinkle in time did (it's something we have observed with the story of Harry Potter as well).
The thing I love best about the books of this series is how they treat children as.. just smaller normal people. They don't simplify the narrative, they expect children to be as smart as grown-ups (an idea a lot of children's books lack, unfortunately). We need to treat our children with the respect they should grow into - already seeing the child as smart and strong we want him to be, and not simplify the world for him so he has nothing to strive for. But enough of going on tangents. Onto the book.
The Murry family lives in a world where good is always at battle with evil. They do not live in a mundane civilization we seem to live in, instead they are living in a world of breathing creation, fight for the good and prevalence of love and understanding over darkness and ignorance - a world of much bigger things going on behind our daily existence. This is shown not merely through the parents' scientific work to advance humanity, but their spiritual strength and the way they protect their children from this battle, and yet instill their virtues in them. This is where the book's 'spirituality' comes in - a kind of spirituality that could apply for any religion or tradition, although they tend to be thought of as Christian (a label I am not sure of - it seems more New Age for me).
Meanwhile, the children take their own part in this battle while strange, magical things happen to them. I'm not going to tell you what happens cause you're not here to read my spoilers. But I'll say that I love how in this book all of the 'peace workers' (my term) do their work the way they think best. Like fighting different battles on different fronts - in the same war. And what it takes is ultimate belief in the ones wiser than you, using your heart over your brain and generally having a conscience - all things that reverberate through other literature of the more spiritual kind that I have read.
Ultimately, this book teaches that you need to take everything the way it is, understand it and perhaps love it as much because of its weaknesses as its strengths. It teaches that if we want to be free from hate, we must stop seeing with the eyes of hate and seeing things that are darker than they really are. But at the same time, that seeing things better than they are is no better either. These are lessons every child should learn, and many an adult, cause most of us will have missed them when we were growing up. Apart from that, it teaches the importance of holding together and hints at how humans prefer to live egoistically and imagine they are the center of the universe. This is meant both in the sense of humanity as an item, and every single person that makes up humanity. It talks about how important it is to make the right choice about your life and your actions, and regrets the fact that many people are blinded by culture and just think of themselves.
Read this to your kids. Read this to your own inner child.
Some of my favourite quotes:
"There are still stars which move in ordered and beautiful rhythm. There are still people in this world who keep promises. Even little ones, like your cooking stew over your Bunsen burner. You may be in the middle of an experiment, but you still remember to feed your family. That's enough to keep my heart optimistic, no matter how pessimistic my mind."
"When we seek our own pleasure as the ultimate good we place ourselves as the center of the universe. A fara or a man or a star has its place in the universe, but nothing created is the center."
"But a child-" Mr Jenkins asked. "Mod small child - why is he so important?" "It is the pattern throughout Creation. One child, one man, can swing the balance of the universe. In your own Earth history what would have happened if Charlemagne had fallen at Roncesvalles? One minor skirmish?" "It would have been an Echtroi victory?" "And woos history would have been even darker than it is."
Desde distintos planetas hasta en el interior de una mitocondria, Meg, Calvin y Proginoskes luchan con los Echthroi para salvar a Charles Wallace, el hermanito menor de Meg. Un viaje fantástico donde no importa el cuándo y dónde, sino el porqué. La vida de Charles Wallace está en peligro y, posiblemente, el destino del universo.
Una lectura extraña, no particularmente disfrutable o recomendable. Es interesante hasta cierto punto y hay alguna que otra frase para el recuerdo, pero la verdad es que resultó notablemente aburrida en reiteradas ocasiones. Y más que nada se nota la ausencia de toda la ternura y candor tipo Disney que caracterizan el primer libro. Una secuela que casi podría leerse como un libro aparte, ya que aunque los principales personajes son los mismos, sus acciones prácticamente no dependen en absoluto del libro anterior.
Pasamos a otros géneros y nos quedará pendiente terminar la pentalogía en alguna otra ocasión, así como también la película.
I like this second best in this series, but the problem is why does Charles Wallace have to adapt to his school rather than the asshole who picked on him having to STOP PICKING ON A TINY 6 YEAR OLD BOY BECAUSE HE'S SMART? What is wrong with society that being smart is bad, but bullying is considered normal and something you just have to deal with.
Bull! It shouldn't just be something to deal with. We should let people know that bullying is terrible and they need to stop doing it.
Other than that, this book is very good and when you talk to a plant, it actually does grow bigger and healthier.
Meg & Calvin confront the opposite of something, which is nothing, with the help of Charles Wallace's imagined dragon, which is actually a cherubim, and the elementary school principal. Like Alice, tumbling down the rabbit hole, space and time, large and small, have little meaning when cosmic evil can act at a cellular level.
This book is weird as hell, extraordinarily original, and deeply touching.
I disliked this book so much it almost made me unlike a wrinkle in time.
1-no segue the first wasnt mentioned at all, not that they had already had an adventure, how she met calvin nothing!!
2-monotonous the author really wanted her point to get across and though this book is for children I dont think it was necessary to restate the same concepts 8 and 10 times at least!!
3-plot simply weak. where the first book was imaginative and interesting the first one limited and contrived. it seemed like she started with an ideology she wanted to beat into the reader and created a plot to go along with it as an after thought!
In summation, im worried about the movie option for this book!
Talk about strange... This book has a strange resemblance to an episode of the Magic School Bus where they travel inside one of the students... Only that was more believable. I think where L'Engle loses me is that she feels like she needs to explain everything - why not just leave it at - Charles is sick and we are going inside of him to fix what's wrong - see, I just said the same thing she did only she took half the book to say it. Sometimes its better just to leave it to our imagination. If you attempt to explain everything than there's no imagination left to it.
I am not saying there is no imagination to this book - there is - it's just not nearly on the level of her first.
And, I'm not sure what L'Engle was trying to do with pushing the idea of conformity. "If your different - you'd better learn to blend in or your never going to make it"... I can see a kernel of truth to that - but I'm not sure that makes it right.
Re-reading A Wrinkle in Time felt like opening a gift on to find the exact thing you always wanted - but in the wrong colour. Almost perfect but then weirdly, slightly, unsettlingly off. The audiobook was better, as the narrator was fantastic, but there was no shaking the realisation that the story had become rather... preachy.
Still, it had wonderful, lovable, quirky characters, gorgeously surreal settings, and a pure grey chill at its core that made the stakes feel constantly high.
Hoping for more of the good, I decided to continue the series.
I wish I hadn't.
The preachiness is out in full force: A Wind in the Door is less an actual story with characters, setting and/or plot, and more a droning parable, a barely-coated allegory that feels more like listening to a sermon than anything else. Meg's impatience and doubt has grown from annoying but understandable character trait-in-development to unbearable whine, and the balancing forces of Calvin and Charles Wallace were almost completely absent. Mr Jenkins is, for some reason, a central character here, and every single character seems to have developed amnesia and forgotten they ever went on a remarkable, life-changing, galaxy-crossing adventure just a year or so before. For someone who has been coaxed back to life by Aunt Beast, and flown to the stars on the winged back of Mrs Whatsit, Meg is strangely unwilling to believe Charles Wallace when he tells her there are dragons in the garden.
There are a few redeeming moments. The narrator is, again, splendid, and the imagery of the farandolae (which I imagined spelt "phyrandallae" or some such - the "f" comes as a disappointment) is quite lovely. Plus the word Echthroi, which is sorely underused for such a fantastic sounding thing, is most definitely attended to here.
I'm looking forward to the film series, but won't be reading any more of the books I'm afraid.
Note: it seems as though the initial concept for this came from L'Engle's short story Intergalactic P.S. 3, which from a brief Wikipedia summary sounds far more enjoyable.
I finished this book with 30 seconds to spare before the end of tbr takedown.
I really liked this one more than book 1. I think this one was just more exciting and I cared about the characters a bit more. My only issue honestly is that this can't be a children's book. I BARELY understood what I read, so how can a child understand?
Still unsure about continuing on the series. But it was better.
Yes and definitely, I must admit that I have found A Wind in the Door (the second instalment of Madeleine L'Engle's Time Quintet series) quite a bit more readable and as such also much more readily approachable on an emotional and inner child level than the first book, than A Wrinkle in Time, and mostly so because in my humble opinion, two of the main characters of A Wind in the Door, since both Meg and her younger brother Charles Wallace Murry feel much less annoyingly and problematically depicted by L'Engle in A Wind in the Door than how they present themselves and act in A Wrinkle in Time (and Calvin O'Keefe as well to a point, since in A Wind in the Door Calvin no longer seems all nasty regarding his mother because of her supposedly being physically ugly, which really does majorly bother me in A Wrinkle in Time).
For Charles Wallace in particular with regard to A Wind in the Door, even with him still being shown by Madeleine L'Engle as a total genius and an intellectual prodigy, he fortunately also demonstrates none of the grating and cringeworthy smugness and haughtiness that is pretty constantly being emanated by him in A Wrinkle in Time. And well, this arrogance and swagger certainly does make Charles Wallace not only rather unsympathetic as a character for and to me in A Wrinkle in Time but also renders me as a reader not all that engaged with him or even remotely interested in him, whereas the considerably less self-centred and lacking in annoying hubris Charles Wallace of A Wind in the Door, I do really and absolutely enjoy as a person (and right from his first utterances in A Wind in the Door) and thus majorly also feel for Charles Wallace regarding the horrid bullying he is experiencing at school and of course am also totally textually engaged when his older sister Meg and her friend Calvin O'Keefe travel inside of Charles Wallace's ailing body to save him from a toxic disease caused by the cosmic creation destroying echthroi (biblical, universal, straddling time and space enemies).
And while Charles Wallace's sister Meg in A Wind in the Door definitely needs to learn that love is all encompassing and not just meant for a select few individuals (like for example her immediate family), that Meg Murry needs to appreciate and to love the entire universe (and even unsympathetic or seemingly unsympathetic individuals like school principal Mr. Jenkins), the Meg from A Wind in the Door is still for me much much more likeable than she is in A Wrinkle in Time (because she and right from the onset of A Wind in the Door is pretty open to receiving and feeling love and is not like how Meg Murry is depicted by Madeleine L'Engle in A Wrinkle in Time, someone with a large universal chip on her shoulders and rather against everything and rather constantly complaining even though she has so many positives in her life, like a supportive and totally non dysfunctional family).
However, while my inner child totally loves A Wind in the Door, my adult self does have a few points of reading contention with regard to parts of Madeleine L'Engle's storyline, with her featured contents and thematics. For one, how seemingly quickly in A Wind in the Door Meg learns to totally accept and internalise universal love and equally how easily Meg Murry is able to differentiate between the fake Mr. Jenkinses, save the real one and then travel with Calvin into Charles Wallace to save him does feel a trifle too facile, too fast and as such also a bit too easy. And for two, and considerably more of a problem (at least for my adult self), yes, I do have to wonder a bit that Madeleine L'Engle makes everything bad and horrible occurring in A Wind in the Door (including the bullying Charles Wallace is experiencing and his illness) somehow be the fault of universal evil, of the etchroi, since for me, diseases just happen and that honestly, having children read in A Wind in the Door that Charles Wallace's mitochonditris is seemingly the result of evil entities, this certainly kind of rubs me the wrong proverbial way a bit (as does the idea of Charles Wallace's bullying also being caused by some esotherical malice, since frankly this kind of sounds rather like making excuses and somewhat like an the Devil made me do it attitude).
This book terrified the crap out me when I was a child and gave me nightmares. I still shudder thinking about it. Maybe, like Tale of Desperaux, I'd find it less scary if I tried again now...but this was one of those traumatizing childhood reads for me and I have 0 desire to ever read it again. :P
I've loved this series since I was a kid, but this is my first time reading them aloud to my own kids as bedtime stories. It's very interesting revisiting them now, both through my eyes and theirs. One of the things that I most enjoy about L'Engle's fantasy novels is that they come from a time when a movie adaptation was not inevitable. So many of the YA novels I've read from recent years seem to exist solely to be turned into a blockbuster movie series--almost as if the book is begrudgingly being written only because there has to be a book to base the movie on.
Not so with the Wrinkle in Time series (though at least that first book has had some adaptation attempts, and another on the way next year). L'Engle wasn't imagining this story on the big screen, and so she creates scenes that feel more bizarre, more alien, than so much of recent YA fiction. I like that.
It was true of A Wrinkle in Time, and it's even more true of A Wind in the Door, whose climactic confrontation takes place at a microcosmic level, and the "action" is happening, in a way, just in the minds of the characters themselves. "Where doesn't matter," Meg is repeatedly told. (How would you film a climactic confrontation where the location has nothing to do with it?)
The first book dealt with some very big themes, but the second volume expands even further, and I find it much more satisfying and unified. A Wind in the Door challenges us to see past external appearances, and our own feelings and judgments. Instead, we're shown the way to name people, even those we despise, and fill up the emptiness that threatens the universe with love and self-sacrifice. L'Engle also shows that the challenge is not a one-off test; we will face these tests again and again and again, and every time we will feel pain and fear as we make our decisions.
In A Wrinkle in Time, the protagonists are whisked away to other worlds for their adventures, but in A Wind in the Door, L'Engle more or less keeps her characters on Earth, and she opens doors in our world to show us the magic and mysticism that is all around us, if only we would take notice. There's a bit of this in the end of the Narnia series (which L'Engle is clearly very influenced by, especially in the climactic "naming" scene, which is so reminiscent of Aslan's naming at creation in The Magician's Nephew), but maybe it's more clearly echoed in Harry Potter, where a character's eyes are opened to the magical world coexisting with what we'd thought was the "real" world (though even in that series, it's limited to Earth; for L'Engle, the entire universe is fair game). Whatever the case, this is a tradition of fantasy novels that I love when it's done well; and I believe it is in this book.
There are problems with A Wind in the Door, the strangest of which is trying to figure out when this story is supposed to take place. The first book was published in 1962, and this one in 1973, and most of the details suggest a 1960s/1970s America. But then there are odd references to an adult character who remembers watching the moon landing, seemingly many years before. And we've sent men to Mars in this fictional world! So I have no idea what L'Engle was imagining. I guess if the upcoming movie is set in 2018, or even later in the future, that won't be a problem.
Another continuity oddity is that the adventures of the first book are almost never mentioned in this one. I would imagine that an intergalactic rescue mission in which the fate of your father and brother were up to you would leave some residue in your day-to-day life and your relationships with the other people involved. In this world, it doesn't. It's almost as if this is a parallel universe in which the first story didn't happen, or isn't remembered, or something.
The final problem is more difficult, and that is that in this story, Charles Wallace is being bullied mercilessly in school, every day. The solution: he just needs to adapt and get used to it. What?? That's a detail that's hard to take, and it makes every adult in the story--especially Charles Wallace's parents--seem either weak or insidious. It's a very odd lesson, and it's hard to imagine that it made more sense in 1973 than it does now.
For me, however, the problems do not spoil what is truly great about this novel. It is strange and quirky, and it has a lot of truth about humanity and the cosmos.
When I was a kid, Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time blew my mind. I’m sure that’s why I remember it as one of my favorite childhood books. Reading it gave me the first inkling of the immenseness of the universe and that the concepts of space and time were much more complicated than I had realized. I think it was also the book that started my life-long love of science fiction. Before that, I had no idea that I loved having my mind blown! It’s surprising then that I never read the sequels to A Wrinkle in Time. I don’t think I was aware of them until years later and then I probably thought of them as children’s books and passed them by. That was a big mistake which I’ve now corrected.
The first sequel, published eleven years later (in 1973) is A Wind in the Door. Meg is now in high school and Mr. Jenkins, the principal she so much dislikes, has been demoted to run the school that Meg’s little brother Charles Wallace attends. Meg is angry with Mr. Jenkins because he can’t control the bullies who are ganging up on Charles. Meanwhile Charles has become sickly and Meg’s mother, a microbiologist with two PhDs, suspects there’s something wrong with his mitochondria, the organelles that provide our cells’ energy. She theorizes the existence of even smaller cellular elements called farandolae (these are not real) that live in the mitochondria and are, in Charles Wallace’s case, being destroyed. As Charles languishes, Meg, Mr. Jenkins and a cherubim named Proginoskes go on a journey that they hope will save his life because, according to what they learn, if Charles dies, the whole world, and maybe even the universe, will be in danger. For there is an epic battle between the forces of good and evil and little Charles Wallace is a key player.
A Wind in the Door is a children’s story, but it’s full of the same kind of mind-expanding science fiction ideas and mature philosophical themes that I experienced when I first read A Wrinkle in Time. In addition to addressing the complexities of time, including whether time really has any meaning at all outside of our planet, L’Engle attempts to give us a feeling for the vastness of the universe by comparing and contrasting the size of our galaxy with the size of the organelles in our cells. She shows us that not only are we ignorant of what goes on in our universe, but the same is true for what goes on in the bodies we inhabit.
As with A Wrinkle in Time, there is a definite but subtle religious (Christian) subtext to the story, too. (L’Engle was a Christian.) The struggle going on in the cells of Charles Wallace’s body is a metaphor for the greater struggle between good and evil. The epic evil of the story is in the form of creatures called Echthroi which appear to be fallen angels. The good force is the creator of the universe which we can assume is the Christian God because there are a couple of Biblical quotations and several Biblical concepts such as the creation singing of its creator, the importance and power of love as an action (not just a feeling), the idea that people are everlasting souls that are known and “named” by God and that they can grow in spiritual maturity, the idea that people who seem insignificant to the world can greatly impact its future, and the notion that a sacrifice can be redemptive.
Many younger children will not pick up on all these ideas and will likely find some of the contemplative parts too slow, but most children will be able to get something out of the story such as the important message that a person’s appearance and mannerisms are not as important as what’s inside, and that love is a choice we can make.
Jennifer Ehle narrates Listening Library’s audio version of A Wind in the Door. My daughter and I enjoyed her performance and look forward to hearing her read the next book, A Swiftly Tilting Planet.
I loved A Wrinkle in Time both when I read it as a third-grader and when I re-read it in my 40s. Somehow I never got around to reading the sequel The Wind in the Door until now. Who knew that I hadn’t missed much?
Madeleine L’Engle created Meg Murry long before anyone ever heard of The X-Files’ Dana Scully, of course, but they’re two peas in a pod. Meg traveled all over the cosmos with her whiz-kid little brother Charles Wallace Murry, thanks to magical beings and the fifth dimension, for God’s sake — but she draws the line at dragons? Really? What’s it take for you to believe, Scully Meg?
From that initial annoyance, we move onto a new adventure for the Murry children. Yes, big man on campus Calvin O’Keefe joins Meg, as in A Wrinkle in Time — but so does former principal of Meg’s high school, the ineffectual, inflexible Mr. Jenkins. The ensuing quest proves as annoying as Meg’s unrealistic resistance to the magic that surrounds Charles Wallace — despite including a feathered cherubim straight out of the Book of Ezekiel, a sentient snake, and an assortment of other supernatural creatures.
To tell you any more would be to spoil A Wind in the Door for those who still care. That would not include me.
If the theme of the first book was about the power of love, then this would be learning to love others even if they are vastly different from you, which, in my humble opinion, is an important lesson to learn at any age. The story continues as Meg and co. work together to heal Charles Wallace and restore the balance of the universe. I loved this one just as much as the first, possibly more! This one developed the characters much further, giving them more depth and a bit more backstory as well. I will definitely be reading the next book very soon!!
I had very low expectations because A Wrinkle in Time is one of my favorite books and I couldn't imagine how the next in the series could possible live up to the first, but this was great! Thought-provoking with so many profound, highlightable lines. I know now that this will be one of my favorite book series!
If these are meant for children to understand, I'll eat my shoe. I remember thinking the same thing when I read A Wrinkle in Time in high school. My boyfriend at the time advised me not to continue with the series because Charles Wallace, hands down the best character, appears less and less.
He was right - I shouldn't have continued, and not just because of Charles Wallace. Reading A Wind in the Door, I kept wondering why L'Engle chose to analogize concepts like empathy, love, emptiness, maturity, and valuation of all life, with her own awkwardly explained equivalents like "kything," "Deepening," and "Echthroi." It would take an exceptional tween to read between the lines of this book, much less the rest of the series.
Yeesh. I thought I wanted to finally finish this series, but now I recall why I never did. It took too long to read this boring, unnecessarily obtuse 200+ pager. I had to force myself to finish and I'll not be continuing the series. Fortinbras is a great name for the Murry family's dog, though.