My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I’m adding this to my Nostalgic Re-reads shelf but there is nothing nostalgic about this for me. I might as well throw this out there now: there are some ostensibly children’s books that no child should read without the oversight of a rational, preferably humanist, adult to provide context and explain away some of the wrong.
I first read this sometime probably 1970-71. I know I reread it as I read a LOT as a child (okay…still do) rereading when I didn’t have anything new. I read the sequel, but quickly outgrew Ms. L’Engle and didn’t know she had extended this by three beyond that until much later.
Some of the themes are very juvenile, but “IT” bothered me almost 50 years ago, and annoys me now. The concept of a universal Evil is not a child theme, and though some religions have no qualms inducing such fear in children, I didn’t connect Ms. L’Engle’s particular beliefs until much later in life. And why was IT a giant brain? There’s a message of science and reason being primary, but a counter message of quite the opposite (thus the need for the rational adult).
So, “IT” bothers me now, now that Disney has seen profits in (re)making a new movie. (The trailer made me think Peter Jackson was directing, because it already departs radically from the book, but he isn’t…)
Well, it bothers me only if this book is foisted on a preteen without benefit of context, and of course, only if someone actually bothers with the book. Parents, heed the lesson of memory failings: “Raiders of the Lost Ark is only PG…should be okay for the nine year old, right?” Nope.