September 13, 2012

Thursday Review: A WRINKLE IN TIME: THE GRAPHIC NOVEL

Reader Gut Reaction: I'm going to assume you've all read Madeleine L'Engle's classic A Wrinkle in Time. WHAT?!? You HAVEN'T?? Well, I would say STOP RIGHT THIS INSTANT AND GO READ IT FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE, except that, wait, what's this I have here? It is a graphic novel version of the venerable fantasy/sci-fi novel, penned by none other than Hope Larson of Mercury fame (reviewed here).

I hadn't read the original in years, but L'Engle was one of my childhood favorites and I read and re-read many of her books until they were ready to fall apart. I remember being in awe, and just a little scared (but in a good way) when I first read A Wrinkle in Time, and Larson does an amazing job of capturing in images that shivery feeling of mystery and oddness and wonder. The artwork in some ways is a bit minimalist, like all of Larson's work; and in certain ways, the simplicity lends itself to this tale. A part of me will always feel like I envisioned it differently, but I suppose that's always going to be the case when a cherished story is put into visual form by someone else.

Concerning Character: Having said what I just said about the artwork, I really loved how Larson brought Meg Murry to life, in particular. I always felt like Meg was a kindred spirit, the one who lamented because all the interesting things happened around her but never to her, the one who never quite fit in either at school or at home. Larson did well bringing out these aspects of her character while also keeping her at the forefront of the story.

At the same time, the other main characters are given their due as well: Charles Wallace (who looks younger than I remember him being in the story), Calvin O'Keefe (who looks endearingly goofy), and the enigmatic Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which, and Mrs. Whatsit (who look a bit like Pratchett-esque mischievous old ladies). The alien planets are lovely and/or scary (as appropriate). I've always liked the fact that everyone in this book is a fully realized character, including the parents, and Larson has maintained that feeling in her artwork. But never do we forget that it really is Meg who saves the day, simply because of who she is.

Recommended for Fans Of...: Oh, jeez, just go read the darn thing. I don't think one should go through life without having read this book at least once.

Themes & Things: For me, the heart of this book (and I mean "heart" in multiple senses of the word) is the overriding idea that it is our individual uniqueness that makes us US and makes us important and even indispensable to our world. Others' paths are others' paths; our path is ours alone. It may take a while to figure it out, it may be difficult to truly grow into who we are, but even what we see as faults may become hidden strengths. Beyond that, it is not only who we are, but what we do with it, that determines what sort of human being we might be. And it is neither shameful nor a crime to ask for help when help is needed, but some things we have to face on our own.

Review Copy Source: Publisher.


You can find A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle and Hope Larson online, or at an independent bookstore near you!

4 comments:

LinWash said...

I want this graphic novel so bad, it hurts just to read this review. Because I want this book in my hands right NOW!

aquafortis said...

It really is a great retelling of the story! Now I want to go back and re-read all my old L'Engle favorites...

tanita davis said...

The thing is, I HAVE these books... they, along with my DWJ re-read are on top of the stack... maybe starting in January? I think a Big Read is percolating...

C.K. said...

I loved the book so I have to get a look at the graphic novel. I'm already crushing on that cover!