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“Of course I’m Meg”

from The New York Times

In a New Collection of Old Stories, Madeleine L’Engle Is Back

By Heidi Pitlor

According to Madeleine L’Engle, who died in 2007, “You have to write the book that wants to be written.”Credit…Sigrid Estrada

In “A Wrinkle in Time,” an adolescent girl’s fury is nothing to be renounced — instead, it’s ammunition to be stockpiled in the battle against evil.

“‘Stay angry, little Meg,’ Mrs Whatsit whispered. ‘You will need all your anger now.’” Mrs Whatsit’s words are radical, written as they were decades before the Riot Grrrl and Girl Power movements and their celebration of female wrath. Meg Murry helped pave the way for Hermione Granger, Katniss Everdeen and Beatrice Prior. With some heavy-duty extrapolation, one might say that Murry’s spirit can also be found in the environmental activist Greta Thunberg (mocked by the president of the United States for being “very angry”), Parkland’s gun control advocate Emma González (called an unimpressive “skinhead lesbian” by one Republican candidate) and countless other young women who have harnessed their outrage into political movements against powerful forces.

When asked, Madeleine L’Engle once admitted, “Of course I’m Meg.” For years, L’Engle fought a culture that scorned girls’ emotions and intelligence. She also faced off against a myopic publishing industry. “A Wrinkle in Time” — a book of speculative fantasy woven through with physics, metaphysics and theology — was rejected by 26 publishers before it found a home. Editors questioned whether the audience would be adults or children. The story was not what people expected from middle-grade fiction; perhaps most galling, the book was not just one thing at all. Meg — and maybe Madeleine — could be angry, but also impatient, loyal, insecure, determined, underachieving. Of course a girl — a person — is never just one thing either.

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on May 19, 2020 by Editor

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