The Screwtape Letters, was written by C. S. Lewis. He is famous for the Chronicles of Narnia, but wrote over thirty books.
This book was first published in 1942 in the context of the Second World War. It is written as a collection of 31 letters, each only a few pages long. This makes it great as a book which you can just pick up and put down as you need.
The letters are written from Screwtape, a worldly-wise veteran demon, who has been put in charge of training his naïve nephew Wormwood. Wormwood is responsible for a human, who is referred to only as the ‘Patient’. Each letter deals with an area of Christian living, as Screwtape gives advice about how to win the spiritual battle for the Patients’ soul.
This satirical viewpoint allows for a very confronting and challenging look at the Christian walk. It covers a wide range of topics such as: prayer life, drifting away, bitterness, arrogance, hypocrisy, pleasure, family duty, gluttony and church life.
In each letter, Screwtape discusses how best to keep the Patient from the clutches of the Enemy (namely God), and how to secure him for damnation in hell.
Personally, I found this book thought provoking. Although it deals with very heavy material it is nonetheless very entertaining, and at times quite humorous. It constantly shows Lewis’ deep love for God and His character, for example as Screwtape ‘wonders’ at how incredible it is that God should actually love those ‘creatures’.
We need to remember it is a work of fiction in which are theological principles and so it cannot replace the study of the scriptures to understand Christian living and the spiritual battle for souls, but it has a great deal to stimulate thought and study.
Due to the descriptions of the Second World War and the discussion of various sins and mature themes, I would only recommend this book for those over 16 years.
Review by Taliah Gooch