I usually stay clear of Science Fiction, especially where time travel is involved – the mere idea of it is just too much for my conservative mind. I won’t even attempt to explain how it works in my two latest reads – When You Reach Me and A Wrinkle in Time. What I think you’ll like to know, given how I shun books that involve time travel, is how and why I even got round to them.
It was quite simple with When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. My colleague thrust it at me with the words, ‘This is a good book. Read it.’ It helped that the book came with no synopsis so I didn’t know any better. The protagonist is 12-year-old Miranda and she leads a relatively uneventful life – until mysterious notes addressed to her start popping up. I will leave you to find out who does the time travelling.
I liked Stead’s book. In fact I liked it so much that I decided I had to read Miranda’s favourite book. That is how I got to Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, first published in 1962. In this classic children’s book, Margaret, Charles Wallace and Calvin ‘tesser’ across the universe in a bid to save their father.
I shall not try to explain ‘tesser’. How the time travelling in When You Reach Me, or the ‘tessering’ in A Wrinkle in Time occurred really does not matter. While these are central to the plots, they only serve to develop the storylines and do not define the characters. Rather, it is the sheer humanness – the selfless bravery, the teenage angst, the budding romance, and the familial love. In a way, like time-travel, the humanness transcends time and space.
Title: When You Reach Me
Author: Rebecca Stead
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books, c2009
Call No.: J STE
Title: A Wrinkle in Time
Author: Madeleine L’Engle
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2012 (first published 1962)
Call No.: J STE