Review- An Acceptable Time By Madeleine L’Engle

an acceptable time book cover

An Acceptable Time, the last book in Madeleine L’Engle’s Time Quintet series, shows how good L’Engle is at mixing science ideas, big thinking questions, and stories about real people I read all the books in the series, starting with the famous A Wrinkle in Time, I was looking forward to this last one. I mostly liked what I found, but I did have a few small issues.

This book takes place a long time after A Wrinkle in Time. It’s about Polly O’Keefe, who is the daughter of Meg Murry and Calvin O’Keefe, the main characters in the earlier books. Polly is a really well-written character. She connects the stories of her parents’ past adventures with her own new adventures. It’s interesting to see things from the point of view of a different generation. This lets the author, L’Engle, talk about familiar big ideas like time, love, and giving up things for others, but in a fresh way.

In the story, Polly is staying with her grandparents when she unexpectedly travels back in time over 3,000 years. Here, L’Engle’s talent for incorporating scientific concepts into the narrative becomes evident. She explores the idea of time as a dimension, and the potential of time travel through tesseracts, with a blend of speculative science and mysticism, a hallmark of L’Engle’s work.

An Acceptable Time is a bit different from the earlier books because it spends more time looking at history and the study of human societies, focusing on the old culture Polly finds. This has good and bad points. It’s good because it creates a detailed setting and lets L’Engle talk about how people from different cultures understand each other and the tough choices they have to make. But, it’s not so good because sometimes the story moves slowly. It doesn’t always have the fast-paced, exciting adventure that made the earlier books so engaging.

One important thing about L’Engle’s writing is how she includes deep thinking and religious ideas in a way that doesn’t feel like she’s trying to teach a lesson. The tough choices Polly has to make, like thinking about human sacrifice and what makes something evil, are written about in a way that’s detailed and thoughtful. People who have read all the books in the series will like how these big ideas are talked about in all the books. But, people who are just starting with this book might find all these big ideas a bit too much to take in.

The other characters in the book, especially the druids and the people Polly meets when she goes back in time, are well-made. The way they see the world and what they do are shown in a way that is respectful and interesting. This adds to the main message of the book, which is about understanding and caring for people from different cultures and times.

In the end, An Acceptable Time does a good job of finishing the Time Quintet series. It might not be as amazing as A Wrinkle in Time, but it wraps up the story in a satisfying way. If you followed the Murry family’s story from the start will enjoy Polly’s adventure. This is not a great ending but it’s an average one.

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