Friday, May 04, 2018

A Christian Wrinkle in Time

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1975 Book Cover --$1.25!

"All things work together for good
to them that love God,
to them that are called according to his purpose."

Romans 8:28

To say that the film adaptation of Madeleine L'Engle's novel, A Wrinkle in Time, is a disaster would be harsh, but disappointing would be honest, given the poor reviews and box office. It's fascinating that an award-winning children's book, a solid cast, and a fine director couldn't come together for more than 40% on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Film Poster

I doubt that I'll see the film but I decided to read the book. We were big fans of L'Engle's writing in her heyday, reading her novels for adults and her journals, which were very good. We still want to visit the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City where she was the librarian for over thirty years and eventually writer-in-residence.

Image result for madeleine l'engle st john the divine

L'Engle's 2007 New York Times obituary describes the challenge she faced in getting this novel published:

“A Wrinkle in Time” was rejected by 26 publishers before editors at Farrar, Straus & Giroux read it and enthusiastically accepted it. It proved to be her masterpiece, winning the John Newbery Medal as the best children’s book of 1963 and selling, so far, eight million copies...

“Of course I’m Meg,” Ms. L’Engle said about the beloved protagonist of “A Wrinkle in Time.”
The St. James Guide to Children’s Writers called Ms. L’Engle “one of the truly important writers of juvenile fiction in recent decades.” Such accolades did not come from pulling punches. “Wrinkle” has been one of the most banned books in the United States, accused by religious conservatives of offering an inaccurate portrayal of God and nurturing in the young an unholy belief in myth and fantasy.
Ms. L’Engle, who often wrote about her Christian faith, was taken aback by the attacks. “It seems people are willing to damn the book without reading it,” Ms. L’Engle said in an interview with The New York Times in 2001. “Nonsense about witchcraft and fantasy. First I felt horror, then anger, and finally I said, ‘Ah, the hell with it.’ It’s great publicity, really.”
What struck me is how Christian Wrinkle is, including quoting scripture on a number of occasions. The verse from Romans 8 (above)  is there, as well as verses from 1 Corinthians. Jesus gets a shout-out, and in the end love prevails. I've read that the Christian aspect is expunged from the film, replaced by vaguer spirituality. One critic sniffed that it is "Oprah in the sky, with diamonds." That'll teach 'em!
I would encourage you to read it. I can understand why it won the Newbury, although that must have been a brave choice more that fifty years ago.
Have you read the book? Have you seen the film?

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