A "Positively Diabolical" Correspondence
"My dear Wormwood, . . . " So begins this product of C.S. Lewis's wickedly funny imagination, a correspondence between two devils, Screwtape and his young nephew, Wormwood. As the senior fiend advises his young apprentice in leading humanity astray, Lewis delves into questions about good and evil, temptation, repentance, and grace, offering knowledge and guidance to all who are trying to live good Christian lives.
This is the first book I have read by C. S. Lewis. It was a very short and very nice read. The chapters were relatively the same length throughout and not too long. That made it really easy to pick it up and put it down throughout the day and not have to stop in-between chapters. I like his style of writing, but I have to admit that he uses some pretty big words in this book, and I’m sure in all his others. I would suggest reading the book with a dictionary handy so that you can look up the words and find the deeper meaning of what C. S. Lewis is trying to convey.
The book consists of letters from Screwtape (an experienced tempter), to his nephew Wormwood, who is an inexperienced tempter of people. It has very intriguing insights on how many people today think. One such insight that I thought was interesting was, “Get his mind off the simple rule (‘I’ve got to stay here and do so-and-so’) into a series of imaginary life lines (‘If A happened—throughout I very much hope it won’t—I could always do B—and if the worst came to worst, I could always to C’) …. The point is to keep him feeling that he has something…to fall back on, so that what was intended to be a total commitment to duty becomes honeycombed all through with little unconscious reservations.” Many of the passages that Screwtape sends to his nephew have this pattern in common. They try to keep us from seeing the truth, or try to cloud our mind so we don’t think about it, or distract us. This is a very interesting book. I highly recommend that anyone read it, and re-read it, because lots of the insights he shares will apply to us in different times of our lives.
Although written during World War II, The Screwtape Letters has a timeless message about the way 'Our Father Below' can use his wiles to thwart 'The Enemy' in His quest to save us all from this fallen world. Lewis teaches us how to see the temptations in our own lives more clearly and how to avoid the snares of the adversary.