06 June 2008

Did Anyone Ever Tell Meg Murray That *She* Should Be a Lawyer?

Fucking finally. Jezebel has a brilliant weekly feature, written by Lizzie Skurnick, called Fine Lines, "the Friday feature in which we give a sentimental, sometimes-critical, far more wizened look at the children's and YA books we loved in our youth." It's always a great read, whether you know the books or not, though obvs a little more fun if you know the books. But this week goes beyond every book they've covered so far, and every book they could cover yet, to revisit the most powerful influence in my life, maybe second to my mother. Maybe.

I've read this book at least ten times, probably many more, as well as the three other books in the quartet. (And An Acceptable Time. I never got into the other family that L'Engle wrote about.) I first read it around the end of third grade. The last time (which, give me some credit, was after a big hiatus) was when I was fifteen. I'm probably due to revisit.

I've always credited the book with having a major influence on my psyche, but maybe grown-up Jaime needs to reread to realize just how much. One of the main points of this week's Fine Lines column is just how difficult Meg is. After covering how Meg beats IT and basically saves the world by sheer orneriness, Lizzie writes:

I find it fascinating and instructive what role KNOWLEDGE plays in courage in A Wrinkle in Time, where Meg, who has been castigated by her math teachers by not doing their problems her own way, discovers that her stubbornness about what she knows is right is her greatest strength. It's not really her love for her brother that saves him and her father and herself from being taken over by the Dark Thing. It's her faults (anger, impatience, stubbornness) that keep her from being sucked in by the great throbbing brain telling her to fall in line. Because Meg's bullheadedness—her insistence on doing things her own way, her understanding that she is probably right, her anger at the attempts to silence her—isn't simply a cute narrative depiction of a spunky girl. She's not spunky, she's difficult.
Huh. And all this time I just thought this book made me like science.


Anonymous said...

I was going to tell you about this article, but then I figured you had already read it.

- marissa

Jaime said...

Thank you. And I am so glad you read Jezebel.

Adam said...

We've been over how Meg Murray was the love of my life from like third grade up until late high school when I discovered real girls, right?

(incidentally, she is also solely responsible for my glasses fetish, which persists long after the discovery of real girls)

Susan said...

Curse you for introducing me to this amazing site - now I must waste work time by reading her pieces on my favorite YA books, including A Gift of Magic, The Westing Game, and Starring Sally J. Freedman...

brookLyn gaL said...

I am requesting that from the library immediately. I miss that book!