justice_turtle: MacGyver asleep hugging leather jacket, text "I has a jacket" (i has a jakkit)
justice_turtle ([personal profile] justice_turtle) wrote in [community profile] readallthenewberys2014-09-28 09:50 am

Newbery Medal: A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L'Engle), Part 1

Okay, so, yeah, wow. That was a hell of a year. But I'm back in stable housing now, going to college, got a car, got state-funded health insurance(!!!), ready to work on this "time management" stunt. ;-)

The library in my new area has a lot of the reliable-old-classic Newberys - Little House, Charlotte's Web - and a pretty up-to-date selection of this century's, but not a lot of the obscure 1930s ones I still haven't tackled. Rather than wait for interlibrary loans to trickle in, I think I'll first tackle what's available locally, in no particular order. We start with A Wrinkle in Time because it was part of the Banned Books Week display and caught my eye.

* Okay, yeah, I have never read this book before. (I, um, actually have trouble remembering which one is Madeleine L'Engle vs Ursula LeGuin, as they're both female SFF authors beginning with L'/Le whom I was forbidden from reading due to their ~dangerously heretical~ views. Yeah. o_O) The back of the book doesn't tell me much, as it's glowing reviews of the author's other books -- that always drives me bananas. I like a good plain blurb for this book, thank you. ;P

* This edition's endpapers have some kind of complicated family tree about the characters in two different series by Ms L'Engle; presumably if I'd ever read any of her books, this would be a very helpful thing. :-)

* The jacket flap recaps what are presumably the first couple pages of the book. The italicized Important Words are "there is such a thing as a tesseract". I only know what a tesseract is from a Star Trek: TOS tie-in novel about time travel, and I don't think that's the meaning intended here, since the jacket-flap goes on to call a tesseract a "wrinkle in time" aka the book title. ;S

* There's a bookplate stuck into the front that says this book was a gift to the local library in 1993. ...and oh my god, they're still using the stamped cards for the due dates. As in, my due date for it is stamped in here. Wow. :D

* The book is dedicated "For Charles Wadsworth Camp and Wallace Collin Franklin". I presume the young man "Charles Wallace" from the jacket-flap is named after these two gentlemen. (Well, the jacket-flap calls Charles Wallace someone's "small brother", which in my experience can mean anything from infancy through teenaged. *shrugs*)

* There is a table of contents. I think I've heard a lot of references to this book I didn't understand in the past. :-)

* Bahaha and the book actually begins "It was a dark and stormy night." :D I think I like this lady's sense of humor. (I feel compelled to link at this point to the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, an ongoing contest to make up bad first sentences for imaginary novels. Mr Bulwer-Lytton was a dude who started a novel with "It was a dark and stormy night" in 1830.)

* We get a more thorough description of the dark and stormy night, from the perspective of Margaret "Meg" Murry, who is watching it from her attic bedroom and thinking about how her life sucks. She's not doing well in school, and since her parents are reputedly brilliant scientists, her teachers cast it up to her and threaten to hold her back a grade. Socially, things are pretty much like they are for less-than-popular middle-schoolers and high-schoolers in books everywhere; people have been heckling her about tomboyishness *eyeroll* (sorry, I am just so damn sick of tomboyish heroines, and in fact everything about gender roles in YA fiction) and about having a "dumb baby brother", which from her reaction seems to indicate that said brother is intellectually differently-abled -- what would have been called at the time "mentally retarded".

* She also has twin brothers, Sandy and Dennys (so spelled), ten years old, who have the true chauvinism sneer down pat, telling her not to fight the boys who heckle her about the "dumb baby brother". "Let us do the fighting when it's necessary," they say. Man, even when the author isn't being sexist, you can really see the societal gender-role attitudes in a book this old, can't you? (Not that they don't still exist, but they're not still as pervasively normative.)

* Meg's father is off somewhere, and there is much "smugly vicious gossip" in the area about this fact. Being from fifty years later, I don't know whether the gossip is about Mrs Murry(?) being effectually a single mom or what; it seems like I'm supposed to get some implication that I don't.

* Meg wishes she was better at hiding her emotions; everyone always knows exactly when they've managed to hurt her. I feel you, Meg, but I also wish that exact same problem wasn't shared by every single other YA heroine in the history of ever, and I really hope you don't have a story arc based around realizing that lack of poker face is some big advantageous thing. I hate those. (Largely because my experience was the exact opposite -- I'd get in trouble for not looking sad enough or whatever for my bio-incubator's taste, and had to learn to do facial expressions to keep from getting yelled at. Apparently this could be an indicator of Autism Spectrum Disorder, that my face doesn't automatically do what I'm feeling; I'm looking into that.)

* Anyway. Where the hell was I?

* Okay, my room's enough of a wreck that I physically cannot find this book after I set it down for a minute. It's a big-assed hardback, this is untenable. I'mma go ahead and post this section of the liveblog and then clean my room. ;P

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