I recently finished reading Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, a fun childhood adventure about traveling across space and time to save your government scientist father who’s been kidnapped by an evil Communist brain (sentences I never thought I’d write). I realized that the book isn’t just a classic piece of young adult fiction or a Newberry Award winner; it’s the best novel for the feminist movement, and also the worst.
Why it’s the best:
First of all, the main character and hero Meg Murry is a teenage girl.
Meg’s father has been kidnapped by the evil brain on Camazotz, so Mrs. Murry takes care of the family as a single mom, and does so very well.
Meg’s brother’s who are good at sports are minor characters and don’t really help with the story at all.
The three characters who help Meg, Calvin, and Charles Wallace along their way are Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Which, and Mrs. Who; all women.
Why it’s the worst:
It’s obviously written by a Christian. I know there are Christian feminists out there, but the group of feminists that gets publicity seems to be pretty consistently at odds with traditional religion.
This line: (from the evil brain) “But that’s exactly what we have on Camazotz. Complete equality.”
(Meg) “No! Like and equal are not the same thing at all!”
If everybody has the same opportunities and chances, that’s good. But when everyone eventually ends up being treated exactly the same, having the same house, the same job, the same medicine; then people aren’t getting what they need. They’re getting their tiny portion of what everyone needs.