It's been a while, but I am back! I finally finished the Time Quintet. It took me a while but I finally did it! I've had a lot of issues with this series and for that, I did not feel motivated to finish this last book. However, I am here today with my review of An Acceptable Time. Let's get this show on the road!
In this book, we follow Meg and Calvin's daughter named Polly. She moved in with her grandparents to get a better education with them when she discovered a time portal to the past. Intrigued, she makes it her personal mission to find out more about her connection to the people living 3000 years in the past and what her friend from the present, a sick boy named Zachary, has to do with it all.
Alright. The actual premise of this book is rather interesting. Much like a lot of L'Engle's books are. I enjoyed learning about the Ogam stones and the language spoken by the People of the Wind. I also really like the culture surrounding them as a group of people living in the past. Now, with that comes the issue of race. L'Engle has a problem with referring to Native Americans as "Indians" or as "savages" and that never sat right with me. She did that as well in previous books. I know some will make the excuse that it "was a different time" and, yes, I understand that. However, I don't have to agree nor like nor excuse that type of language when it comes to addressing a different group of people. It's racist. Plain and simple.
Another problem I had with this book is Zachary. Oh... my... word... I do not like his abusive, manipulative, gaslighting, misogynistic tendencies. I do not like him as a person. The way he treated Polly was downright awful. And Polly is actually a great character! A much better improvement over her mother, Meg. The only problem I had with Polly was with how she let Zachary treat her as a lesser person. Why? Because he's sick? That's no excuse! He claimed to love her. He claimed to want to be with her. But the first chance he gets, he's willing to give her up to be sacrificed. He questioned her loyalty to him every chance he got. He tried to make her feel guilty for not wanting to be with him because he was "dying." Look, I know he's sick and that sucks, but Polly doesn't owe him anything. She doesn't have to be in a relationship with him just because he's ill. That's not a good enough reason to be in a relationship. There's also the fact that the moment they went back in time, he saw another girl, and right away was "interested" in her. So much for caring about Polly. He's a coward who abuses women and I think he's trash. Zachary was my main problem with this entire book and because he is one of the central characters in the book, he's there for quite a bit of it. Which is a downer.
Another of my main problems was with Polly's grandparents, Alex and Kate Murray. They've been in the previous books. They have been surrounded by weird time loops and portals for years now. They are not strangers when it comes to the bizarre existence of different time periods suddenly popping up. But for some reason they had a hard time believing that going back 3000 years was actually possible! What!? How!? How can someone who created the bloody tesseract not believe that one of his closest friend and his grandchild were able to travel through time! They blamed the Bishop that he was insane and putting stories into their granddaughter's head! How inconsistent to the previous books can you get? It was obnoxious and unbelievable for the history of the characters that was created in the previous books.
At this point, you know I have issues with this book series. I started off reading these books because the movie was coming out and I really wanted to read the book before seeing the movie. The first book started off well. It wasn't perfect but I liked it well enough to continue reading the rest of the series... and it just went downhill from there. It really is a "product of its time" and it definitely needs to be read with a very critical eye. It has its interesting ideas, but the way L'Engle handles sensitive issues is very poor. I do think it's worth reading at least once through so that way you know the story. However, this is not a series that I will ever be revisiting. There are plenty of other books out there. Better books for children and adults alike that should be read over this. This series is a favorite for many people and that's great. But, for me, I'm going to have to skip out on the rest of the books L'Engle has written for the series after this fifth one. I read the main quintet and that's good enough for me.
Like I said, I think you should read this series at least once. Just for those interesting ideas. Other than that, read it with a critical eye. And if your child is reading it, let your child know that a lot of the language used to describe anyone who is not white, is NOT the proper way to described them. Be involved and I think the reading experience will go well. Hopefully, you end up enjoying the time theories if nothing else. Those, I think, are worth exploring at least.