A graphic novel adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s ground-breaking science fiction and fantasy classic, soon to be a major motion picture.
A Wrinkle in Time, The Graphic Novel Synopsis :
The world already knows Meg and Charles Wallace Murry, Calvin O’Keefe, and the three Mrs–Who, Whatsit, and Which — the memorable and wonderful characters who fight off a dark force and save our universe in the Newbery award-winning classic A Wrinkle in Time. But in 50 years of publication, the book has never been illustrated. Now, Hope Larson takes the classic story to a new level with her vividly imagined interpretations of tessering and favorite characters like the Happy Medium and Aunt Beast. Perfect for old fans and winning over new ones, this graphic novel adaptation is a must-read.
(Macmillan Publishers, 2012)
I’ve been meaning to read Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time for years.
Why? Because it is one of those classic children’s titles on all those ‘best of’ lists that people seem to have strong, and generally positive, memories of reading. After hearing that a big budget Disney movie adaptation starring Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling is set for release in 2018, I thought it was about time I found out for myself what all the fuss was about.
Why choose the graphic novel format? I’ve not read many graphic novels, but really enjoyed those I have. Plus Hope Larson’s graphic novel adaptation spent forty-four weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and has a 4.5 star rating on Amazon.
If you are like me, and have not read the original novel published in 1962, here is a very brief summary of the A Wrinkle in Time storyline:
One dark and stormy night, the Murry family is visited by three strange figures, who send them on a mission to find Mr. Murry, a missing government physicist. Joined by their friend Calvin O’Keefe, Meg and Charles Wallace travel to the planet Camazotz via tesseract, a wrinkle in space-time that allows fast travel between distant points. As the children search for Mr. Murry, they encounter all manner of weird creatures and face off against a cosmic force that threatens not only them but the universe as a whole. (Commonsense Media)
A Wrinkle in Time was actually the first title in L’Engle’s Time Quintet Series starring the Murry and O’Keefe families.
The graphic novel
The first point to note is that unlike the upcoming movie, this is not a modern interpretation of the original story, simply a graphical interpretation.
Larson depicts well the clothes and hairstyles, and societal views of the mid 20th century. The religious overtones were not necessarily up my alley either, but I’ve since read that much of the text featured in the graphic novel comes straight from the original text (and it shows, in both word usage and phrasing).
While the outdated opinions our protagonists come up against may grate on readers today, within that context I admired the story’s theme of intellectual individualism and female characters skilled in the mathematical sciences. In that it was a story before it’s time.
Protagonist Meg was a little dramatic/whiny for my modern tastes, but the angst and pent up emotion she displays is perhaps fitting for the era in which her character lived. Expression of emotions through her characters is something Larson excels at — beautifully conveying the wide eyed wonder and openness of little Charles and the awkwardness of Calvin.
Some of my favourite scenes from this book, when Mrs Whatsit sprains her dignity (Page 34) and when Meg argues that ‘like and equal are two entirely different things’ (Page 293).
But the decision to restrict the graphics to black, ice blue and white… I’m in two minds about this. The story’s opening scenes are on a dark, stormy night and the character is battling with both fear and lots of negative internal feelings, so initially the dark hues seemed well suited and evocative. However, as the story progresses and they travel through time and space, witnessing The Dark and inhabitants of new worlds, I think a full colour palette would have heightened the magic, scale and wonderment of that experience.
All in all though, while not quite what I’d expected A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel was a quick and enjoyable read,
If you’ve not read a graphic novel, I recommend you give one a try — the experience is distinctly different from reading plain text, I am certain it exercises both your eyes and different neural pathways.
BOOK RATING: The Story 3.5 / 5 ; The Writing 3 / 5
Genre: Children, Classic, Graphical, Sci-Fi-Fantasy
About the Author, Hope Larson
Hope Larson won an Eisner award for this title. She is also the author and illustrator of Salamander Dream, Gray Horses, Chiggers, and Mercury, and the author of Compass South and Knife’s Edge, both illustrated by Rebecca Mock. She lives in Los Angeles.
- In an interview with Hero Complex, Larson explains that Madeleine L’Engle’s estate instigated this adaptation and that Margaret Ferguson (imprint of Farrar Straus Giroux) first approached her about the project.
Unlike this graphic novel, the upcoming movie looks distinctly modern and colourful…