Lovefool 10.08.12 | The Very Best Thing in the Universe

What’s the very best thing in the universe? Why, love of course! That’s the not-so-subtle theme of one of Lovefool’s all-time faves, Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, and something that (naturally) Hope Larson’s new adaptation of same has in spades.


I’m not sure how old I was the first time I read A Wrinkle in Time. I know I’ve been hauling a battered paperback copy of it from place to place with me for approximately forever and I always make sure it makes it onto the shelves and doesn’t end up just lurking in a box. When Mr. J and I combined our book collections, we suddenly had duplicates but kept both of them because it’s one of the books I like to know is accessible at all times. No, really, that’s a thing we do here because what if I wanted to read it and couldn’t because he was reading it? I’d just end up hovering over him asking when he was going to be done because, honestly, sometimes I just need to read a certain book and this can be one of them. Because I still feel like sometimes I need to remember the lessons I learned from A Wrinkle in Time a thousand years ago. Sometimes I feel like I need them more than ever these days. After all, I don’t want anything from myself that I do without grace and understanding and, while I’m not sure I realized what that meant back in the day when I was but a wee Lovefool, I certainly started to figure it out in a hurry as a teenager and find myself thinking of it as an adult more and more these days.
Grace aside, the central and not terribly subtle theme of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time is that love is the very best thing in the Universe. It thrums through the story like a tangible thing and is the heart, pardon the expression, of the adventure. Meg Murry, reluctant heroine and awkward adolescent, loves her father and her kid brother so much that she ends up rescuing both of them, at two different points in the story, from an evil mind-controlling monster with only her faults and her love for them to help her. No magical swords here and, in fact, she has to figure out that hatred has no part to play in saving the day. Her mother, young and beautiful and brilliant, loves her father so much that when he disappears while on a top secret research mission for the government and all communication is cut off, she still writes him every night. The aforementioned kid brother, Charles Wallace, loves Meg right back, so much that he’s got almost an empathetic relationship with her and knows what she’s feeling and, more conveniently, when she’ll want a cup of hot cocoa.
And, of course, Meg meets a boy, Calvin O’Keefe, who I thought was totes dreamy as a kid. Young, athletic, frighteningly smart, ready to spin off into the unknown without being afraid, likes Meg despite the fact that she’s a snarky kid, comes from a slightly rough home but toughing it out, wants to save the day for young Ms. Murry but knows when he needs to step aside – gosh. But that’s just an undercurrent running through the book, at least until Calvin gives Meg a smooch for luck when she goes off to rescue Charles Wallace. No, the main focus of the book is the love between the members of Murry family, which is so awesome and wholesome and family-friendly that I get warm fuzzies every time I read about it. It’s not just romantic love that’s the subject of this book, no, but that makes it even more interesting to me. They’re so functional and so nice and love each other so much that it’s like the Christmas shop window of family relationships. I just wish I could climb into it, you know? Not that I would give up my family forever but it’d be nice to vacation in Murryville, at least for a little while, maybe after Mr. Murry makes it back. And, while the love between the family as a whole is the focus, the love between the eldest Murrys is touching. Mrs. Murry keeps writing those letters long after she stopped getting responses and refuses to indulge the bitter town gossips and that’s something that I always sigh over.
I have to admit, though, that I was a little eeked out when I heard there was going to be a graphic novel adaptation. I know, me being skeptical is probably a total surprise (ha) but I loved this book. I relaxed a little when I heard that Hope Larson (Chiggers, Mercury) would be doing the adaptation and got all dreamy when I was actually holding the book in my hands. I was prepared for disappointment, just because the original source material is a little weird, but I was able to delightedly accept how awesome the book actually ended up being. Larson was the perfect choice to draw this, capturing expressions and strange scenes and making sure that Meg Murry looks exactly as she should at all times in a black/white/blue color scheme that works really well for the book. I couldn’t have told you what my perfect Meg Murry would’ve looked like before now, but I can tell you now that she’s the one drawn in this book.
But more importantly, nerdlings, on the coldest day we’ve had in a while here, I felt all warm and happy for an hour. And I might just go ahead and write some emails home this week and make Mr. J a cup of tea. | Erin Jameson
Click here for a preview of A Wrinkle in Time and an interview with Hope Larson, courtesy of Hero Complex.

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