Weighty Reading

A 8-year-old boy appears in my library and asks for a copy of the wrinkle book. He’s looking for Madeline L’Engle. When I place the book in his hands, he holds it, staring at the cover. It’s an old hardback copy, the dust jacket long since disappeared, so the cover is a plain turquoise, the corners worn down.

This book’s too hard for him to read. I know it, and he knows it, too. I ask if his parents ever read to him at night, and he says, No.

I was a little younger than this boy when my father read this book to my sister and me, and even now, I have to think a little about a tesseract: what is this odd, strange wrinkle in time?

This child isn’t shy, but he stands there, holding this book in two hands. Gently, I suggest he take a second book, too, one I know he can read and will likely love, but he takes the L’Engle, too, pushing the books deep into his backpack without a word.

Life, with its rules, its obligations, and its freedoms, is like a sonnet: You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself.

— Madeline L’Engle, A Wrinkle In Time

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By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.

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