A masterpiece of satire, this classic has entertained and enlightened readers the world over with its sly and ironic portrayal of human life from the vantage point of Screwtape, a senior tempter in the service of “Our Father Below.” At once wildly comic, deadly serious, and strikingly original, C. S. Lewis gives us the correspondence of the worldly-wise old devil to his nephew Wormwood, a novice demon in charge of securing the damnation of an ordinary young man. The Screwtape Letters is the most engaging and humorous account of temptation—and triumph over it—ever written.
[Synopsis courtesy of goodreads.com]
This short book certainly is a masterpiece of satire. And if anyone tells you that speculative fiction cannot teach us about the ‘real world’, point them to this book. When I first heard about it, I wasn’t sure I would enjoy it, as I am not a huge fan of books written in the form of letters. But I had been told to read it by so many people that I decided to pick it up when I found myself in a different city from the books on my aforementioned TBR pile. Having grown up adoring the Chronicles of Narnia, and thoroughly enjoying The Great Divorce and Mere Christianity in my young-adult life, I went into it with high expectations.
I can say with full confidence that this book lived up to every one of them!
I loved the format of letters from Hell. It is such an original idea, and Lewis pulled it off with his usual genius. The book is full of dry, sarcastic, and snarky humour, but also brimming with golden nuggets of spiritual truths, especially with regards to resisting temptation and drawing closer to God. About thirty pages in, I had to stop and get a pile of post-it notes to mark my favourite quotes. As you can see from the photo, I found a lot of mind-blowing ‘how-on-earth-does-Lewis-manage-to-explain-things-so-well?’ moments.
A few of my favourites were:
“We want cattle who can finally become food; He wants servants who can finally become sons.” Pg. 46
“All mortals tend to turn into the thing they are pretending to be.” Pg. 55
“The safest road to Hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” Pg. 65
“Men or nations who think they can revive the Faith in order to make a good society might just as well think they can use the stairs of Heaven as a short cut to the nearest chemist’s shop.” Pg 120
This is a short review for a short book – less than 200 pages. I read it in two sittings. Not for lack of things to say about it, however. Each of the above quotes could be a sermon. I would recommend The Screwtape Letters to all Christians, whether new to the faith or the seasoned churchgoer.
Rating: 5/5 stars.
Have you read The Screwtape Letters? Are you also a fan of C. S. Lewis, or have you yet to pick up one of his books? Tell me below in the comments!