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

Goodreads Synopsis:

A Wind in the Door is a fantastic adventure story involving Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and Calvin O'Keefe, the chief characters of A Wrinkle in Time. The seed from which the story grows is a rather ordinary situation of Charles Wallace's having difficulty in adapting to school. He is extremely bright, so much so that he gets punched around a lot for being "different". He is also strangely, seriously ill (mitochondritis - the destruction of farandolae, minute creatures of the mitochondria in the blood). Determined to help Charles Wallace in school, Meg pays a visit to his principal, Mr. Jenkins, a dry, cold man with whom Meg herself has had unfortunate run-ins. The interview with Mr. Jenkins goes badly and Meg worriedly returns home to find Charles Wallace waiting for her. "There are," he announces, "dragons in the twins' vegetable garden. Or there were. They've moved to the north pasture now."

Dragons? Not really, but an entity, a being stranger by far than dragons; and the encounter with this alien creature is only the first step that leads Meg, Calvin, and Mr. Jenkins out into galactic space, and then into the unimaginable small world of a mitochondrion. And, at last, safely, triumphantly, home.


And I thought the first book was a little odd! Wow, was I in for a surprise. OK, I'm getting more and more perplexed as to how this is a children's book? Warning - You might want to stop reading now if you don't want to read any spoilers. First, when the book started I was really excited. Meg and the family seemed familiar and I couldn't wait to start on another adventure with these characters that now felt like friends. I love how sweet and caring all the characters are and I love how the theme of science is woven throughout the book. However, when L'Engle introduces Blajeny the Teacher you just KNOW that there is some bigger message lurking around the next page. But ok you keep reading... and then what the hell?!! Mr. Jenkins, her brother’s principle, splits into 3 people while Meg and the Proginoskes (which by the way still have no idea how to picture him. I've settled on something that looks like a Shetland pony covered in eyes and feathers) have about a 7 page philosophical discussion about knowing who you really are and evil and love. All the while, the 3 Mr. Jenkins are just running around in front of a school with kids being unloaded off the bus. Then the real Mr. Jenkins says to Meg, you have to pick me as the real Mr. Jenkins and I don't know why but I know its important. My feeling is that the situations in the book are only props for L'Engle to get across some bigger message she wants to convey. I'm just saying if 2 people came to my place of business and started impersonating me I would call the police immediately, not debate with a young girl to prove that I'm the real version of myself. And don't get me wrong, I not against L'Engle’s bigger picture...or at least I don't think I am based on what I think she is trying to say. I'm all for teaching kids morals through stories. Like in every good fairy tale there is a lesson to be learned. That's great, but it’s also wrapped and packaged in a more fluid story...something you can follow. Anyway, by the time I got through that scene I needed to take a mental health day.

I think I'm letting it all get to me so much because I really like the story and I just wish she would have spent a little more time on scene development and the character interaction.  Well, off to A Swiftly Tilting Planet!