Carter Reviews: The Screwtape Letters

    Chances are, any given person has read interesting or thought-provoking books.   However, once in a blue moon, there comes a work that leaves those other books behind. A book that touches one’s deepest nerves, shows the world in a whole new light, alters one’s thought processes and philosophies profoundly, and, changes their entire life. Which book this is depends on those who read it. Many point to Eat, Pray, Love; Mein Kampf; Atlas Shrugged; and other such texts. However, for me, this foundation-shaking text was the C.S. Lewis book simply known as The Screwtape Letters.

      This book consists of a series of fictional letters written from a devil named Screwtape to his nephew Wormwood. In these letters, Screwtape offers Wormwood advice on how to tempt his “patient”(the mortal target whose soul Wormwood seeks to acquire). The book explores numerous mindsets and pitfalls that lead one away from God, with the occasional sprinkling of ideal Christian philosophies in the mix as well. Essentially, it serves as a text on Christian philosophies and a warning to any aspiring Christians of what not to do.

          This book is, in my humble opinion, a masterpiece. It brilliantly weaves a simple, yet poignant story along with the philosophy within. One never reads a word of dialogue between any characters; reads any words that incompetent, young Wormwood writes; or sees outright descriptions of the bureaucratic hell or once-skeptical newcomer to Christianity around which the story revolves. However, simply through the words that Screwtape writes, the reader infers and reads a full narrative amidst the warnings in the foreground. All the while, however, the book never loses focus on the messages on which it was meant to focus.

    The main content, that is, the warnings of what not to do for Christians, is still the best part of the book. The things that many do that most consider normal normal, many mindsets which we don’t take notice of, many things that lead the unwary from God, are brought to the limelight. Lewis obviously intended for the reader to see their own mistakes and face their sins shown within, and he pulled it off spectacularly. In my second time reading, I couldn’t even finish it, just because of how much of myself I saw within, but when I picked it back up, it forced me to confront the things I’d done, ultimately for the better.

       Ultimately, this book is one of my favorites simply because of how impactful it is. It forced me to address aspects of myself I didn’t want to see and changed my spiritual worldview forever. Even if one isn’t a Christian, I highly recommend this book to everyone. Even if the reader doesn’t turn to Christianity or even consider it after finishing it, there are still numerous times when a secular individual could, and should, apply its guidance, if only to help one be a kinder, healthier, and wiser person. Whether one believes its guidance, The Screwtape Letters is worth a read, and almost certain to have a large effect on the reader.

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