3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Good but not the best,
This review is from: C. S. Lewis: A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet (Paperback)
I belong to a rare breed: I was in Cambridge in the late 1950s and early ’60s, and privileged to correspond with Lewis, hear him lecture, meet him in person and indeed spend a whole (academic) evening with him as his wife was dying. All of that is told in my spiritual autobiography O Love How Deep published just over two years ago. This new ‘Life’ is written by someone who experienced none of these things. It does therefore strike me as ‘thin’ and bloodless emotionally compared with some earlier efforts. While it is mercifully more or less free of amateur psychoanalysis, as of falsehoods about how many undergraduate degrees Lewis earned reading Classical Mods., Greats and the English School (he no more had multiple degrees than I had after four Parts of the Tripos), the approach is on the cold side. I find it for instance perfectly natural that he chose not to dwell on the horrors of First World War trench-warfare after it was over, and that his memory of the date of his conversion to theism was ‘out’ by a calendar year. Yes, Joy Davidman was acquisitive, as was to be expected in a Jewish lady from the Bronx, and yes, she did decide to marry Lewis before he had even heard of her; but it was still a perfect love-match in the end, and made each of them deeply happy until she died.
This book will work well for those who know several of the earlier biographical studies. It includes some genuinely new and significant information, supplementing and correcting at certain points. The illustrations are a pleasant touch. It is still not something which does the trick as a free-standing contribution, in other words it should not be the first or only such study that one reads.