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Monday, 27 February 2012

It was, wasn't it?

"Oh wow. I read that book when I was a kid and it was, like, really important," said the customer in front of the cash, interrupting my reading. I was just going to dip into the book, to remind myself of the characters' names and hopefully recall some of what had made the book so important to me as a young person. Seventeen pages later, I was back in the kitchen of the Murry's on that "dark and stormy night" and no longer in the bookstore, doing my job as the attentive clerk I should be. The customer pulled me but partially out of the Murry's home with her comment and I replied to her, "It was, wasn't it?"

I was asked to blog about Madeleine L'Engle's YA sci-fi/fantasy classic A Wrinkle in Time as it celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and, with it, a special commemorative edition featuring the same artwork as the original release. What makes a book important to a young person? I remember reading A Wrinkle in Time, and the four subsequent books in L'Engle's Time Quintet, over and again between the ages of 10 and 16. The first time around, the series was a thrill. Later on, it became a comfort. Revisiting it just now was like stepping back into childhood and into the place of the kind of person I aspired to be at that time, which is what I had found in A Wrinkle in Time.

The Time Quintet follows hero Meg Murry, an awkward young thing with little self-assurance who learns to embrace her exceptional self over the course of her adventures through space and time, alongside other members of the brilliant and eccentric Murry family. A Wrinkle in Time has been called a precursor to popular YA series like Harry Potter and the Hunger Games (with Meg Murry garnering many comparisons to heroine-du-jour Katniss Everdeen of the Hunger Games). What these series all share is that magic and indelibility that, for the right reader, will turn words on paper into a friend for life. 

I want to hug this book.
Time Quintet box set.
Look for the 50th anniversary special edition in our store soon!

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