The Great Divorce -Book Review

I have a confession to make. This is my first C.S. Lewis book. I cringe to write that, but it is true. I have had the best of intentions to read Lewis, but never got around to it. Countless of times I have read so many beautiful quotes from him. So many pastors who I admire have quoted Lewis in their sermons. The quotes being full of wisdom and intellect in their distinctly-Lewis way. I loved the Narnia movies (well the 1st one and 3rd one, not the 2nd one so much) and fell in love with Aslan and Mr. Tumnus. But unfortunately, I had never read an entire book by him.

With that being said, it was with great joy for me to get this audio book. I really do not like fantasy that much, but this particular book was fairly short and I thought it would be a good start where I could cut my teeth in regards to this genre.

The book was okay. It had some good quotes here and there, but the story was just too fantastical for me. At the beginning of the book there is a warning that the story is not meant to be theologically accurate, and it wasn’t at all. And I think that is where most of my problems were with the book. It’s not like Narnia, where everything is a fantasy. Everyone is made up and certain characters allude to Jesus or to God. In “The Great Divorce”, the ghosts are experiencing Hell and working to get to Heaven whilst being in Hell, and I just couldn’t get past that as I read. I know the story is meant to help the reader understand sin and repentance and ultimately the joy of Heaven, but I just couldn’t stop thinking about how death didn’t seem so final in this book and that all were technically given a second chance after it. But I continued with the story despite my reluctance.

Lewis did have some good imagery regarding ghosts who struggled with sins we tend to overlook like: manipulation, gossip and vanity. But I just wished they would not have been “dead already” dealing with these sins.

A quote I really liked from this book was:

 There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ 
I do believe I am a bad judge when it comes to the fantastical. I usually don’t read it. I wanted to like this book, but I really didn’t. I do want to say though that Lewis was still profoundly effective in explaining sin and the ugliness of it. His word imagery to analyze and clarify the problem with man and the love and joy of God was paramount. (SPOILER ALERT) And then it was somewhat compensating at the end when all of it was just a dream for the narrator of the book. Somewhat . .

Recommendations:  I recommend this book to those who like metaphors and allusions. Also those who are more philosophical in their theology and who do not mind thinking “what if” on things dealing with the afterlife.

To the Christian:
The book does well in further explaining what sin does to us and how repentance leads to joy. The recurring sin in our lives affects us and those we love more that we could ever imagine, and Lewis does a great job in portraying that with the different characters the narrator meets on his way to Heaven.

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