Reviews of Screwtape Letters, the (1959)
Review by smber2c (2008-12-23)
This book was introduced to me oh..7 (?) years ago, when I was a freshman in college. I was in a Christian discussion group that read "The Great Divorce" and after loving that I picked up this one and absolutely loved it.
I agree with some others comments that reading it as a story would probably be average at best...but reading it as philosophy is so enlightening. Like most of Lewis writing there are many complex arguments made simple, many failing laid bare, and much hypocracy exposed.
For a person who likes to read, reflect, and then improve their morals...or just the power of their arguments when discussing "big" topics - Lewis' books are incredibly enlightening and engaging.
The world created with these demons is interesting. Their 'evil' is pleasingly consistent, avioding accidental human sympathies that lessor authors may have inadvertantly given to these demons.
The choice to only show half of the letters (the one's Screwtape wrote, and not the ones he recieved), allowed Lewis keep the pace moving along without getting bogged down into the tempted characters life story which is truely secondary to illustrating demonic reasoning.
Additionally Lewis was successful in covering vast theological groud by shifting the characters state of life constantly yet realistically, allowing dozens of virtues and vices to be illustrated in the space that other authors are still trying to get their plot off the ground.
Review by clong (2005-09-08)
Rating this book was a challenge for me. If you are looking for an easy to read, witty, intriguing, and even occasionally amusing take on living a Christian life, you could perhaps do no better. If you are looking for a work of fiction (which, afterall, is the justification for having the book entered in the iblist database, at least for the moment), it is hard to see how you could rate this any better than "average." To be fair, I am probably not the intended audience.
Certainly the basic premise is clever, but to the extent there are even rudimentary elements of plot and and character development they are secondary to the theological message of the book.
Review by nzilla (2004-04-25)
Definitely worth reading no matter what your religious beliefs are. You probably shouldn't agree with every point Lewis makes, and indeed, I only agreed with a fraction of them, but every single one will certainly make you think. There are even a couple of things that the wonderfully twisted demon Screwtape says that I thought were pretty close to the truth without being ironic; something entirely unintentional by the author. Lewis's writing as the devil is completely convincing. 7/10
Review by Jago360 (2004-03-27)
A great book...I had to read this for 10th grade and it's one of the few books I've read for school that I've actually liked. I reread it a few months ago as my nighttime book (reading a chapter or two before going to sleep). It's just extremely well-written; the letters reflect the personality of a demon wonderfully, and yet they have a definite satirical edge.
More to the point, "The Screwtape Letters" makes very salient points about morality and religion in an easy-to-swallow format. Lewis manages to streamline theology and morality without dumbing it down.
Review by prizmski (2003-03-08)
A brilliant satire by one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. The book consists of a series of letters between the demon Screwtape, a seasoned-veteran at tempting, and his newphew Wormwood, an unexperienced devil. Wormwood is seeking advice from his uncle Screwtape, while the latter is trying to mold his nephew into a competent tempter. The correspondance is masterfully done by Lewis. The portrayal of the characters is as realistic as can be imagined, resulting in a truly thought-provoking experience!