Originally, my first introduction to the sci-fi/fantasy works of Madeleine L’Engle was through my high-school-era discovery of A Ring of Endless Light. A shy girl who has three boys competing for her attention? Of course I would love it.
However, it wasn’t until last year when I picked up the recently-published graphic novel version of A Wrinkle in Time that I rediscovered her works. The graphic novel inspired me to pick up the text version about a year later, after some internal debate.
Granted, this is as far as I will probably get in L’Engle’s books. From what I gather, the author’s Kairos series gets progressively more religious from here on, and I have a strong personal dislike for sci-fi/fantasy works in which the author’s religion encroaches on the story.
(It’s kind of like the Chronicles of Narnia. Once you learn that the magic sky kitty is Jesus and the series as a whole is a thinly disguised religious tract, you can’t unlearn it. And I’m not even going to touch on the problem of Susan [well, not here, at least])
A Wrinkle in Time, though, is a surprisingly sophisticated melding of physics and YA literature. Interesting, then, that although rejected by at least 26 publishers because it was deemed too difficult for children, that it has continuously been in print since its first publication in 1962.
Generally speaking, when it comes to different versions of the same story, I prefer the one that came first. In this case, though I find myself gravitating towards the graphic novel for a couple of reasons.
Primarily, this is because the graphic novel seems to minimalize the religious content. As much as it can be, when you’re reading about guardian angels who are a melding of human and pegasi.
It also makes it accessible to a completely different audience. Hey, I probably wouldn’t have picked up the text version had I not read the graphic novel first.
But if I’m being completely honest, it was the illustrations themselves that really won me over. The elegant and expressive blue, black, and white illustrations are a perfect accompaniment to the story.
And while I ultimately prefer the graphic novel to the text version, I like to think that the two complement each other quite well.
So read them both!