|C. S. Lewis|
The premise is simple. Satan runs his kingdom like a large corporation. God is his competition. There are important and experienced demon tempters, and there are rookie minions just getting started in their soul-to-hell dragging. This book specifically chronicles a series of letters from a senior devil, Screwtape, to his nephew Wormwood, spelling out tips, tricks, and tactics for damning a soul. All of the advice is given in the context of a particular gentleman that Wormwood is tempting. It's a delicious premise; without flaw. Like I say, I can't believe it took me this long to get around to it because just talking about it makes me laugh.
With all of that said, I wish I enjoyed it more. Have you ever had that experience with a book, movie, restaurant, or album, etc.? It's something that is so right up your alley -- like, completely in your wheelhouse -- that you just assume you'll like it wholeheartedly? That's what I was expecting with Screwtape.
There were good moments. Like any Lewis writing, Screwtape had lines, paragraphs, and pages that were extremely quotable. Classic C. S. But it never really took off for me. I never felt invested in the successes, failures, frustrations, and glee of the uncle and nephew or even their targeted soul. So, that was disappointing. I really wanted to feel differently.
I'm kind of a softie with my book reviews. If I looked back, I'd probably find that there's not one I wouldn't recommend. And once again, I'd give Screwtape at least that much of an endorsement that I think anyone who likes a little make believe and demons would like this read. Some day I might revisit it and see if a second reading leaves me with a different impression.
Overall, a lukewarm endorsement. Disappointingly.