A Wrinkle in Time
By Madeleine L’Engle; Read by Madeleine L’Engle
5 CDs – Approx. 5 Hours 17 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Random House/Listening Library
ISBN: 0307243230< Themes: / Fantasy / Space travel / Family / YA / Psychic Abilities / Newberry / The elementary school I attended as a kid had a big poster in the library showing the covers of all the Newberry Medal award winners. I remember A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle jumping off of the poster; the cover featured an almost photo-realistic mother-of-pearl centaur that was pretty damn cool looking to a ten year-old. I checked the book out, read it, and loved it, but my recent listen of the new audio edition of A Wrinkle in Time (Listening Library, 2005) made me wonder how much of the book I really understood as a kid. I’ve often thought that they should just come right out and say that books win the Newberry Medal not because they are outstanding children’s books, but rather outstanding children’s books for adults. A Wrinkle in Time definitely falls within this category. The fast-moving story and sympathetic characters definitely make it appealing to kids, but, like Philip Pullman’s stuff , there are thematic elements that are very mature, and maybe even a little subversive. If the book were any less intelligently or subtly written, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it show up on banned-book lists.
L’Engle reads the book herself, and does a fine job. She obviously has an intimate understanding of the material, and her expressive voice lets her keep the story flowing without having to use different voices to distinguish the characters. L’Engle apparently suffered a cerebral stroke in 2002, the effects of which are obvious in her voice; it’s slurred a lot like Johnny Cash’s on his later albums. The only criticism I have of this production is of the decision to use an echo effect for the dialogue of Ms. Which. In the book all of this character’s dialogue appeared in italics, but the in the audio book, the effect comes off as a little cheap.
The audiobook starts off with an introduction explaining how L’Engle read the story to her children as she was writing it. Those were some lucky kids. Hop in bed with A Wrinkle in Time, some cocoa and some good headphones and you’ll probably come pretty close to recreating that experience.