Maybe some of you can help me out with this.
I like the book A Wrinkle In Time, and I appreciate how the movie is a little inescapeable right now. I think this is a good thing. I will take Ted to see it when we can swing it and showings are less crowded.
Spoilers for A Wrinkle In Time (the book, not the movie) follow.
There is an obstacle in my heart about this story. The first time I read it (I might have been seven or so), I had to stop when they described Calvin O'Keefe's mother. It made me so upset that I cried uncontrollably, and I couldn't finish the book for years. Calvin's mother is described early on. She's described as a miserable woman with a messy house. The point of having her this way is that Calvin wouldn't be missed if he takes off on an adventure with the Murry family. Right? She's too busy and unhappy to show up banging on the door, saying, "My son wasn't home in time for dinner, where is he?" One more kid in that house wouldn't be missed, right? I felt so sorry for her, so angry that she was left alone, forgotten, that it distracted me from everything else.
I don't have a copy of A Wrinkle In Time around to refer to, only my shoddy memory of the book. The first time I read it, I knew that there was a very sad mom in the book, it upset me, and I moved on to something else. The second time I read it, I grudgingly finished the book, liking many aspects of the story, but not fully understanding or cherishing it. I think I moved back to the Narnia series, and then there were too many paperbacks lying around that weren't going to read themselves, so Stephen King was up next, and then John Lennon had a date with destiny, so I was obsessing about music for a while.
What bothered me was, "why should I try to wrap my head around all of these heavy duty scientific concepts when you can't seem to balance the fact that you're chasing after a poor imprisoned daddy, but nobody seems to care about a poor imprisoned mommy, staring sadly into a sink full of dirty dishes?"
I wish I could remember the wording of the passage describing Calvin O'Keefe's mother. All I remember was that it was extremely clear to me that this was a woman with a strong and serious mental illness characterized by depression. I'm shedding tears right now, just thinking about it. I mentioned it to other people who love that book, and they've said, "well, yeah, she's kind of a throwaway character."
a) there is no such thing as a throwaway character. everything in your story is part of its foundation, otherwise get rid of it. if it's still there when it's published, it's important.
b) HAVE YOU NOT READ THIS DESCRIPTION???
I haven't read any of the other books in the series, because I have no proof that Calvin's Mother is saved, or that her imprisonment is justified. It's just that she's a "bad person," and Calvin should totally leave her to go play Shining Time Station with the Murrys. Did anything ever happen with her?
The last time I read this, I was babysitting. There was a thunderstorm, and a power failure. I picked through the bookshelves with a flashlight, and then sat in my young charge's bedroom, reading A Wrinkle In Time by candlelight, accompanied by rain on the windows and the susurration of the child's breathing as he slept. It was the perfect way to read it. However, I had to take a deep breath, swallow my pride, read the passage about Calvin's mom, and store it for later, knowing that I would deal with those feelings and maybe write something about her in the future.
I guess I'm going to have to deal with this. I'm really worried about Calvin's mother. On the other hand, maybe she and Calvin's stuffed tiger escaped and went sledding.
EDITED TO ADD:
Editing editing editing editing editing editing editing Jarnsaxa Rising.