"We are of opinion that instead of letting books grow moldy behind an iron grating, far from the vulgar gaze, it is better to let them wear out by being read." - Jules Verne
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Thursday, March 22, 2018

A WRINKLE in TIME (audiobook) by Madeline L'Engle

Originally published in 1962.
Winner of the 1963 Newberry Medal.

Published by Listening Library in 2012
Read by Hope Davis
Duration: 6 hours, 26 minutes

Madeline L'Engle (1918-2007)
Way back in the 1970's I read A Wrinkle in Time as an elementary school student in small town Indiana. I was a voracious reader (I won the library's summer reading contest several years in a row - the only thing that ended my reign was moving away) and I remember that I attached great importance to this book. It must have been handed to me by a teacher or a librarian. But, I also remember that I was indifferent to the book itself. My impression of the book was that it was unique but rather vague and cerebral.

With the new movie version coming out, I was inspired to re-read the book. Also, I must admit that I was curious to see if the book affected me any differently more than 40 years later.

This time around I listened to it as an audiobook. Hope Davis read the book and she did a fine job, creating multiple accents and voices and switching back and forth between them with ease. The audiobook also included comments by the director of the new movie (it had to have been just starting to be made when she wrote this introduction on 2012), the author's granddaughter and Madeline L'Engle herself. All three of these commentaries were excellent - for me they were the best part of the audiobook.

And, that is certainly a problem. The text of the book itself should have been the best part of the audiobook, not the comments attached to it. I found the book itself like I found it 40 years ago - rather vague, full of a lot of talking and characters that I just didn't attach myself to. I really like the philosophy behind the book - the ideas that they espouse about fate and faith and our role in the world mirror my own quite a lot. Who knows? Maybe this book really did influence me more than I knew. But, I just found myself rolling my eyes at the stilted dialogue and just about everything Charles Wallace said or did - just like before.

So, how do you rate a book in which you agree with the ideas behind it but can't stand the way the ideas are presented throughout? I'm going to split the difference - 5 stars for the underlying ideas, 1 star for the plot, dialogue, etc. That makes an average of 3 stars.

This audiobook can be found on Amazon.com here: A Wrinkle in Time

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