Madeline L’Engle: A Wind In The Door
A Wind In The Door: Time Quintet #2
by Madeline L’Engle
narrated by Jennifer Ehle
(classic fiction, sci fi, young adult)
I have always loved A Wind In The Door. This is my favorite of the Time Quintet, though as I mentioned on Goodreads, I think it was still a Quartet when I first read this book. I think the reason this was my favorite is that I always identified with Meg, and she is the central character in this book. (Yes, now that I think about it, A Wrinkle In Time follows Meg a lot too, but Charles Wallace and Calvin are present more in that one than this one.)
I still love A Wind In The Door. There are things I noticed this time around that I haven’t before, though. One of them is how Meg is happy when Calvin shows up for the first time in this book because he can take control and she doesn’t have to. While this feels like something the character would do – and is very appropriate for the era – it’s a little jarring to read in the present-day. I want us to teach our girls to be independent and not depend on men to make the decisions, so it’s hard to read about Meg blithely handing over control to Calvin. Fortunately, she does make big decisions later in the book, and this definitely is not a book that implies that girls are worth less than boys. It’s just interesting to see the differences in our attitudes that happen with the passage of time, and to see what I notice as an adult that I didn’t as a child.
The narration on this one is okay. I like Ms. Ehle’s reading of Meg, but all the characters are hard to distinguish from each other. She seems to have a default voice for each type of person – child, adult male, and adult female – and if there are variations for each character, they can be hard to distinguish. (Mind you, I don’t know that I could do unique voices when reading books. On the other hand, I’m not getting paid to do that.) One interesting point about this is that I found myself figuring out who was speaking based on the content and not the voice in which it was read. I guess L’Engle mostly did a good enough job making it clear who was speaking so that it worked without super-distinct voices from the narrator.
Even with the societal changes that have happened since this novel was published, and regardless of – or perhaps because of – the involved science (some of it fiction) in this novel, this is still a book that should be read. Yes, it will be hard for some children to understand. Heck, it will be hard for some adults to understand. That’s part of the point. We need to keep growing, to keep challenging ourselves. And strange though it may seem, I think that children’s books usually challenge us more than books written for adults.