Aliens. Angels. Time travel. A planet ruled by an evil disembodied brain. Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time has it all.
But it has been a while since we had a book like hers. In recent years, young adult novels like like Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games have dominated both our libraries and the box office. Much of today’s popular dystopian fiction with a sci-fi twist packs an exciting punch, and it has both teens and adult readers understandably hooked. Yet as Christians in search of good literature, we may find ourselves unsatisfied by the worldview of books like these, a worldview that—while vividly drawn—seems a little thin and rings a bit hollow.
That’s because much YA (young adult) fiction today operates entirely within a materialist universe—that is, a world completely without a spiritual or supernatural realm. It’s a world without breadth or depth, a bit like looking at things through the end of a cardboard tube. This kind of fiction centers on earthly, physical, and emotional struggles without even a hint of the transcendent realities that Christians know undergird the universe. Materialist fiction cannot explain evil and does not understand the good. It narrows the human person by denying the soul, and it radically reduces our existence to a short earthly life. As human beings, we crave something more, because an art that limits itself to this narrow material realm misses too much of reality, and denies itself many of the essential qualities of a good tale.
That’s why it’s time to turn back to a classic: Madeline L’Engle’s 1962 young adult novel, A Wrinkle in Time, which offers a view of the universe truer and more beautiful than the one portrayed by much of today’s YA fiction. L’Engle’s novel, which won the prestigious Newberry Medal in 1963, tells the story of Meg and Charles Murry, whose scientist father has gone missing while on a secret government mission. Along with their friend Calvin, and guided by three mysterious and powerful angelic beings, the children set out in search of their father. But they quickly get swept up into a conflict much bigger than themselves: the great cosmic battle between good and evil.
Read more at Catholic World Report.