Book Review: A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L’Engle

4 out of 5 Stars

I introduced myself to the Wrinkle In Time series only recently and after reading the first book, I quickly went back to my local bookstore and picked up the other 4 books in the series. I fell quickly in love with the story of Meg and Charles Wallace and the rest of their family. I don’t know if I could relate to feeling like I don’t fit in with a society or just loved the adventures they were off on, but something really brought me in.

Over the holiday I had made my way down my book stack and had gotten to book 2 in the series: A Wind in the Door.

Our story starts back at their home. Charles Wallace has just started school and doesn’t fit in with anyone because he is special in ways only his family know and the readers understand after the first book. He is bullied terribly and Meg is very concerned about it. Father is off to other places trying to save the world, while mother is working tirelessly in her lab. Charles Wallace tells Meg he has seen dragons in the woods behind the house and asks her to come with them so he can show them to her. When they get to the woods there are no dragons but there are strange feather like scales on the ground so she starts to wonder if he really did see them but at the same time is concerned something is wrong but thinks it may have to do with the bullies. Meg goes to the principal of Charles Wallace’s school, a man who she thinks hates her, and tries to express concern and to ask for solutions. He isn’t budging. Our story progresses and we find they aren’t dragons but a Cherubim. They are on a fight against nothingness and hate to save Charles Wallace’s life.

This book is one I have been chewing on since I finished it. To be honest, I wasn’t really sure I liked it at first. It felt really heavy while reading it with a ton of conversation, yet the subject matter was so interesting to me and there were so many points made that I felt like applied to our current social climate. I loved the science aspect, the learning points, empathy taught, sacrifice shown, and the love expressed throughout the book. You can take it at face value, but when I got below the surface and had a good think, things changed.

I was wondering if other people had felt the same as I had and went on to Goodreads to have a look at other reviews. I was a little surprised at what I read because it opened my eyes to other subjects I hadn’t considered. We all come at life from different perspectives and we all live our own realities. What I see as real in my world may not be what someone else sees in their world. This is one reason I find reading such an important thing to do, not only for myself but for my little family. There are two things I had not expected:

  1. Mrs. L’Engle ties science to spirituality and this feels like her attempt to explain how faith and science work together and are not exclusive of one another. Astro-physics is explained in ways lay-people can understand, to which she applies religious teachings (without making it feel like it) and explains how galaxies work not only in space but also in our bodies. How the mitochondria don’t know there is a much bigger world outside of the world they live in. They can’t imagine that and if we realize we are a very small part of something much bigger that can also help us with our own perspectives. There is also biology explained which at the time this book was written was a cutting edge discovery, “A human being is a whole world to a mitochondrion, just the way our planet is to us. But we’re much more dependent on our mitochondria than the earth is on us. The earth could get along perfectly well without people, but if anything happened to our mitochondria, we’d die..” While her take on “farandolea” is excellent imaginative science fiction she brings the reader in and gets them involved with what is happening inside the cells of their bodies. She writes about it so beautifully that you are really drawn in.
  2. She explains naming and how hate spreads. This is the part of the book I found especially poignant with the current state of America. There is a lot of hate and that begets more hate. Just as love begets more love. I am writing this on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and I am reminded of his famous quote “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” This applies to what is taught to Meg in this story. Hatred spreads a darkness everywhere it touches and only love can drive that out. It is one of the most important lessons of this book. The naming part was also quite hard hitting. That when you name something, it becomes real. Think about that.

If you haven’t read this book in a while or at all, I highly recommend it. I don’t think you will be disappointed and I have a feeling it will stick with you as it has stuck with me.

Read this with your perspective and let me know what you think? What were your biggest take aways?

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