“A Wind in the Door” by Madeleine L’Engle
I’ve been a big fan of the book since I read it in elementary school, but I’d never actually read “A Wind in the Door,” the sequel/companion to the original book. During a recent trip to Open Books, I picked up a copy. (For $2.50! Holler.)
In “A Wind in the Door,” published ten years after the original book, Meg Murray, her younger brother Charles Wallace, and neighbor (and Meg’s now kinda boyfriend?) Calvin O’Keefe are back for another magical but science-based adventure. This time, Charles Wallace is being bullied at school and has fallen ill with some mysterious illness. He’s also claiming to have seen dragons in the backyard. Meg’s genius scientist mother has been working on a theory involving things happening inside of mitochondria, and it seems to be somehow related to what’s happening to Charles Wallace. Meanwhile, the world is being erased by evil beings called the Echthroi, who seek to Un-Name things. It’s up to Meg and Calvin (and a gaggle of interesting new characters – including a snake, a tall man in a robe, a cherub, and a principal) to save Charles Wallace before it’s too late.
L’Engle’s “Time Quintet” has always been heavy on the science and magic, and “A Wind in the Door” is no exception. There’s a lot going on this book, but – just like in “A Wrinkle in Time” – L’Engle holds it together thanks to the characters she’s rested all the details on the shoulders of. In particular, Meg’s relationship with Mr. Jenkins (Charles Wallace’s principal) is well-developed. Meg originally resents Mr. Jenkins for not taking any action regarding Charles Wallace’s bullying – but of course Mr. Jenkins’ fate rests in Meg’s hands. It’s an interesting lesson in growing up.
To celebrate the anniversary of this amazing writer and her beloved characters, pick up “A Wind in the Door” and revisit some old friends. Or, if you’ve never read “A Wrinkle in Time,” start there. You won’t regret it.