I missed this one in my childhood. (I heard it mentioned now and then as a renowned classic, but never saw them in my public school or any classrooms.) I regret this now, because I was just the sort of kid who would have loved the abstract concept exploration and the way the author doesn’t talk down to her audience.
“We can't take any credit for our talents. It's how we use them that counts.”
Told in third-person past-tense, the story is brimming with impactful and quote-worthy bits of wisdom. (As is probably obvious from my collected smattering of said bits.)
This reader particularly enjoyed the incorporation of both science and religion. It’s so rare to have them presented harmoniously in mainstream literature (or at least, it is nowadays.) It was nice to see the positive parental relationship, and the sibling interactions are compellingly strong. It held my attention throughout. And I suspect my 12-year-old self would have been enthralled with the tesseract concept. The book in its entirety would have certainly expanded my vocabulary.
Meg was sometimes a frustrating character to follow—cynical, abrasive, and quick to judge/misjudge. (Yet another reason I suspect my angsty middle-grade self would have connected to this work.) But Meg’s love for her little brother kept her firmly sympathetic. Charles Wallace was my favorite character, however glaringly exceptional as a genius 5-year-old.
I think this represents him, and my fondness for him, somewhat adequately: “Thinking I'm a moron gives people something to feel smug about," Charles Wallace said. "Why should I disillusion them?”
The imagery was at times bizarre and fantastical, yet not preoccupied with the macabre. Events were sometimes confusing, but not so much that I became agrivated. I would have personally liked to see a little more depth of description, and a lot more of Calvin. But the hope for both of these is easily enough for me to want to pick up the next book in the series.
-“We do not know what things look like. We know what things are like. It must be a very limiting thing, this seeing.” -Aunt Beast
-“Have you ever tried to get to your feet with a sprained dignity?”
-“A book, too, can be a star, “explosive material, capable of stirring up fresh life endlessly,” a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.”
-“The only way to cope with something deadly serious is to try to treat it a little lightly.”
-“Life, with its rules, its obligations, and its freedoms, is like a sonnet: You're given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself.” - Mrs. Whatsit