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[personal profile] alobear
This week, I listened to the audiobook version of A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. It apparently took a while for a publisher to be interested back in the early 1960s, as they found it difficult to categorise, and I can understand why. It's a very odd book. The story feels very simplistic in some ways, but the text is full of complex science and philosophy. A lot of the events and characters are ridiculous, but the message of fighting the darkness by learning to love yourself and others is a powerful one. It did feel old-fashioned in some respects, some of the character voices grated a bit, and the over-wrought nature of some of Meg's emotional responses was a bit much.

The recent film version obviously made some changes, but was definitely true to the spirit of the book. I thought Storm Reid as Meg Murry was excellent, portraying the depth of Meg's emotions extremely well. My favourite character in the book was Charles Wallace, Meg's little brother, who is very precocious, but not annoying with it. He wasn't served particularly well in the film by the way in which his character change was portrayed when he falls into the clutches of the evil It. I felt the complexities of It's influence were somewhat lacking in the film, and there were some unnecessary added action sequences.

The children are aided by beings of light, called Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who, and Mrs Which, and I liked them in both versions, though Reese Witherspoon as Mrs Whatsit was much funnier in the film. The other thing that was missing in the film was the arc of Meg's relationship with her father, and her route to forgiveness after he disappoints her in the book. It was there, but way too truncated.

The best change in the film, though, was the level of Meg's agency. In the book, everything just happens to her, and she doesn't make any active choices at all, until right at the very end. In the film, she was definitely guiding the action, and indeed diverted the plot to serve her ends, going against the other characters to do the right thing on several occasions.

So, strengths and flaws in both versions, but overall I enjoyed both.

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