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A wrinkle in my time, or, book it, kiddo

We were visiting good friends in Montgomery over New Year's weekend when I popped one of my favorite questions to the 18 year old daughter of the family: What was the most influential book you read or had read to you as a child (child defined here as someone 12 or under)?

The young woman's father and I went to school together many years ago and he knew without asking the answer to the question if it was posed to me. He would have given the exact same answer, and I daresay that the entire 3rd and 5th grade classes of David Lipscomb in the mid-1960s would all give THE EXACT same answer.

We had the same teacher in 3rd and 5th grade. Both years she read us many books, but repeated only one because she knew that she had hit the mother lode with: 'A Wrinkle in Time', by Madeline L'Engle.

The book stands on its own as a ripping good yarn, but it also wormed inside our head the question of what evil really is (as opposed to that church of Christ list of things that we weren't supposed to be doing or even thinking). The book introduced time travel wrapped in the wonderful word 'tesseract'.

You can read this book on many levels which is one reason the book is so good. First of all, the story works (at least for young adults). The story of separation from a parent is a story that any kid understands. The power of totalitarianism transcends the big word that we didn't understand in the 3rd grade. More importantly, the power of love and self-will were explosive concepts normally wrapped in bromides and hoary hand-me-down proverbs garbed in sunday school swaddling.

If you have kids or feel like indulging the kid in yourself, read this book to your kids (or to yourself!) . I'm halfway convinced that the publication of 'Wrinkle' in the mid-60s paved the way for Star Trek and it's progeny. More importantly, at least for me, I used the principles of the book to overcome ticklishness.

That's the answer to my question. I'd love to hear yours.

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About me

  • I'm John H
  • From Salemtown, Tennessee, United States
  • Cruising past 50, my wife and I have reared three kids and several dogs. I work for state government and daily conspire to deflate bureacracy.
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