The film version of A Wrinkle in Time is coming to theaters soon. March 9.
Every time I see the trailer, I get teary-eyed. I get chills. The emotions I feel, seeing my favorite novel from my childhood — indeed, the single most influential novel of my life — being turned into a film of such sweeping scope, are hard to describe. Tears, shivers, are really the only way for me to respond.
But now that the film is coming out, I am trying to reorient myself in relation to the story.
The first time I read this story, I was a child of perhaps eight or nine years old. I identified entirely with the main character, Meg, who was a girl of a few years older, maybe twelve. As I grew older and read the story many times, I still read it with Meg as my way in, immersing myself in Meg’s world and Meg’s family, growing up with Meg through the sequels in the series (A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters). The idea that the awkward, struggling Meg of the first book could grow into the lovely, self-confident Meg of the later novels sustained me through my teen years: if it could happen for her, it could happen for me.
And therein lies the problem. I still identify wholly with Meg, who is now, in that first book and in the new movie, decades younger than me. She’s younger than my kids. I am not a child, not a teen, not even a young woman anymore.
I could be her mom now. I’m older than her mom now.
I’ve never looked at A Wrinkle in Time from Mrs. Murray’s perspective.
It’s funny that I haven’t, because I have often shifted my perspective with other books. Over the years, over multiple readings of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, I’ve made my way through that (admittedly) long, (incredibly) wordy, (frequently) tedious process by focusing my attention on one particular character at a time (thus enabling me to skim or skip chapters that don’t involve that character). So I’d do an Aragorn reading, or a Merry reading, or… well, you get the point.
I’ve never done that with A Wrinkle in Time. I’ve never shifted from a little-kid-centric Meg-centric perspective (which is why I don’t much like Many Waters. No Meg).
I think the time has come for me to do that. Shift my perspective. See what the book offers me as an adult, not fall back into it, seeking to recreate the experience of the book that I had as a young person.
I come to this realization not just because Meg’s father is played by Chris Pine in the movie, although that’s definitely part of it. Not cool, Oprah. You cannot cast sexy Chris Pine as the ultimate father figure of my childhood.
It’s not just about that. It’s about growing up, and seeing the world through different eyes. I have to read this story as a grown up. Revisit it, rather than relive it.
After all, Meg was born in 1962, a few years before I was. She and I have been growing up together our whole lives. It’s time.