“It was a dark and stormy night.”
So begins Madeleine L’Engle’s amazing story A Wrinkle in Time. I first came into contact with the world of Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which, Mrs. Whatsit, Tesseracts, Charles Wallace, Calvin O’Keefe, and IT when I was in the 5th grade.
Everything about the story drew me in. I remember being so excited each day when we would read and discuss it in class. I especially remember checking the audio book out of the library and listening as Madeleine herself read the story, hanging onto her every syllable as she brought it to life.
Meg Murry was the perfect protagonist for my 5th grade self: average looking, smart yet socially awkward, a loner, and prone to bouts of self-doubt. I loved her independent spirit, her fierce protection of the people she loved, and her emotional honesty. She felt misunderstood and out of place, a misfit in her family and sometimes even a misfit in her own skin.
Over the course of the story, Meg, her brother Charles Wallace, and their newfound friend Calvin must face enemies within and without in an attempt to rescue Meg’s father. Through these trials, each one of them (but especially Meg) comes to see their value, understanding the strengths hiding within their weaknesses.
A Wrinkle in Time was the first story that I really fell in love with, and that love has lasted to this day. I picked it up at the beginning of this year, looking for something light to read before bed. I found myself transported into their world once again, the characters and the dialogue as familiar to me as old friends.
I am a lover of books, a voracious devourer of all sorts of stories. However, I believe that certain stories shape us and stay with us long after the last pages have been turned. For 5th grade Bethany, who only wanted to fit in and be accepted by everyone else, Meg Murry taught me that it was ok to be different. She taught me that often times it is the very things we hate about ourselves that show up to save the day.
Twenty-five year old Bethany still needs to be reminded of these lessons some days. This is why I am so thankful for stories.
A Wrinkle in Time celebrated its 50th Anniversary this year, and boy, did I celebrate, purchasing the special edition of the story that helped show me that I wasn’t alone and the best thing I could be was myself.