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03/12/2018

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"I doubt that I'll see the movie. I'm really not a great admirer of the book."

Ditto. The trailer for the film is dreadful, and I'm not a great fan of the book to begin with. Read it in high school, when I was reading a lot of "Christian" fantasy and s/f, and was pretty underwhelmed. I had this idea that I was "supposed" to like it, but I just didn't, much preferring the Inklings-related stuff.

I'm reading A Wrinkle in Time for the first time at the moment, partly prompted by the film's release, but also partly because it's been on my list for a long time. I'm 2/3 through and finding it kind of okay. Unfortunately when I think of the transdimensional beings who are guiding the main characters on their quest, an image of Oprah Winfrey dressed as a fairy keeps popping into my mind (and I've only seen a single image from the film, not even the trailer!). Most unpleasant.

Steven Greydanus really didn't like the film, which seems to have been reduced to some kind of diversity tract.

Wrinkle In Time definitely made a huge impression on my 11-12 year old mind. I re-read it the other day, and of course it failed to have the same kind of impact. The pre-teen experiences perhaps THE most impressionable part of our lives. L'Engle wrote just beyond our (general) experience, but she never wrote down to children. She mixed together a broad set of remarkble ideas, raised the stakes with added danger (a cosmic danger!), made a pre-teen the heroine, and described a clear choice between good and evil. The mix was powerful for a young mind, a mind eager to wrestle with epic concepts, and not particularly aware of style. Reading it now, it is easy to fault a style that is the furthest thing from subtle, albeit a style that worked so well in 1962. But the the themes remain relevant.
I doubt that a similar attempt would work in 2018. Cynical awareness is much too strong a force. I think that trying to cast a story in terms of modern idealism would be harder to accomplish, and would likely devolve into what Tolkien abhorred and Lewis embraced: evident allegory.

Thanks--very interesting to have a fan's perspective. Do you think you'll see the movie?

"reduced to some kind of diversity tract"

Always a big winner with audiences. :-/

Somehow I missed YA books. I think I went straight from Y to A. So having to "catch up" is a dicey proposition because Chuck is correct with what he says about when we are impressionable. Every time I read one now I always think, "meh". I had not heard of A Wrinkle in Time until the movie was coming out. Same for the C.S. Lewis Narnia stuff.

In agreement with Chuck, I can report that I have several friends for whom the book, read at a suitably impressionable age, made a lasting impression and remains a favourite.

I loved the book as a teenager. As an adult I read some of her other ones, which I didn't like quite so much, especially the weird one about Noah. When I had my own kids, I made sure they read AWIT. They loved it. Since them my assessment has significantly lowered. Now it seems too new-agey to me. I don't recommend it to my younger kids any more, although they read it anyway, since it is on the "must read" list for our family.

I was more successful making sure my younger kids didn't get sucked into Harry Potter.

So far, anyway.

I didn't think Harry Potter was so bad, but I didn't think it was very good, either.

I meant to say, btw, that I was surprised and pleased to read that piece in Vox that I linked to, saying removing the religious elements of AWIT was a mistake. I disagree pretty strenuously though with her view that Episcopal theology is more concerned than other Christian communions with the idea of "A vast unknowable God, who defied comprehension, was at the same time a fragile human being: the Jesus Christ who died on the cross." I only encounter that idea in 80% or so of Catholic devotional writing, homilies, etc.

I must say the Mrs-es in the stills for the AWIT movie look pretty silly.

And, now that I think about it, I'm not sure I read any YA books when I was growing up, unless the Hardy Boys count. I get the impression that the field is now very dominated by feminists and is accordingly very axe-grindy.

Mac, thanks for that excellent account of your history with The Lord of the Rings. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

I might have mentioned before that I've been trying to read it to my own kids. Like you, we started with The Hobbit and they urged me to carry on with the longer book. But we've fallen on hard times; we got through the first volume in fine fettle, but the second took well over a year to complete. We've started the third, but it is becoming harder to find time at bedtime for substantial reading. I'm not sure we're going to make it.

I cannot understand the designation of these books as "young adult." Charlotte's Web is on the list for goodness sake. I would think an 8 year old could read any of these books we are talking about except maybe Lord of the Rings, and they could certainly listen to LotR.

I can't image anybody would consider Hardy Boys YA.

AMDG

What list are you referring to?

Thanks, Craig, glad you enjoyed it. That's too bad that you're having trouble getting through it. Looking back on it now I think we just happened to hit an opportune moment in the development of our family, the number and ages of children, when the reading was possible.

Harry Potter, whatever its modest merits, is just too bloated. I'd prefer it not be a "thing" in our home--like Star Wars seems to have become.

In your home, or just in general?

"modest merits" of HP made me think of that famous putdown. I can't remember who said it about whom, but someone was described as a modest man who "has much to be modest about."

In our home.

The Harry Potter thing was pretty crazy. Nice to see the written word cause such excitement, but really. I read the first two and decided that was more than enough. And those few movies that I suffered through were pretty awful.

I rather liked the movies. I mean, not as great art or anything, but as enjoyable entertainment.

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