Monday, September 8, 2014

The Screwtape Letters: Annotated Edition (HarperOne)

The Screwtape Letters is a masterful work of Christian fiction, allegory, and satire that is recognized globally. However, I have found it to be a hot-button piece with as many people loving it as hating it. I wouldn't say I fall into the "love camp," but I definitely have a great respect for it and C.S. Lewis for writing it. Parts of the book still send chills up my spine, and it took a special author to go that dark place in his mind and write a book of this nature. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of C.S. Lewis' death, HarperOne published an Annotated Edition of this book.

For those unfamiliar with the Screwtape Letters, I will provide some background information on it. It was first published in 1942. The format of the book is a series of letters from Screwtape (a senior demon) to Wormwood (Screwtape's nephew). Screwtape is trying to train Wormwood on how to claim the soul of a man (referred to as The Patient) for Satan. The setting is Britain during World War II. What makes the Annotated Edition special, apart from being a sturdy hardcover with nice sized font, is that there is tons of notes (in red font to contrast the black font of the actual text), which reference Scripture and other Lewis writings. There are also interesting facts about his life in these notes. Also included in this book is "Screwtape Proposes a Toast," which is a brief sequel that is a criticism of public education.

I would classify this book as one for the serious lovers of C.S. Lewis. To those who want to dig deeper into this text, and read the texts cross-referenced in the notes, this book will be invaluable as they will better understand why he wrote what he wrote. To those who just want to read this text for what it is, the notes will get in the way and perhaps be more distraction than help. I personally enjoyed all the notes, the two prefaces, and even the list of C.S. Lewis' favorite books. I feel like I have a better appreciation for both C.S. Lewis the man and C.S. Lewis the author. Plus, as I said earlier, it's a nice hardcover book, so it will stand the test of time. If you can get it for a good price, by all means get it. I read this book often enough, I'm glad I now own it in hardcover as my other edition was starting to show major wear.

This book was provided to me for free by HarperOne in exchange for an honest review. If you found this review helpful, please click here and hit Yes!