When I count my blessings, I always include books. I find joy in reading.
I have specifically found joy in the works of C. S. Lewis. I read his Chronicles of Narnia years ago and used them as supplemental reading in my classroom. I named our high school writers’ group The Inklings because I was impressed with the minds of Lewis and Tolkien. I read The Screwtape Letters twice. Once wasn’t enough. I then used the book as the basis for a six-month Bible study at my church. I watched Shadowlands, the movie about his life with Joy Davidman. I have read Lewis’s book on Psalms, Mere Christianity, and Surprised by Joy. I have watched a documentary of his life.
I thought I was well-versed on C. S. Lewis and his life and his wife. Not so.
While attending the recent WriterFest Nashville conference, I was enthralled by author Patti Callahan’s discussion of the lives of C. S. Lewis and his wife Joy. I had already read her new book and found it to be delightful. Hearing her talk about it was the icing on the cake.
In her book Becoming Mrs. Lewis, Patti Callahan brings Lewis’s wife Joy to life. Written from the point of view of Joy Davidman, this book focuses on the death of one love and the birth of another. The story opens in New York in 1946 as Joy Davidman faces the harsh realities of life with her alcoholic husband Bill Gresham. As a professed atheist Joy finds herself attracted to the writings of C. S. Lewis, and she begins a correspondence relationship with him to better understand his theology.
As their relationship develops, Joy goes tit for tat with Lewis as the reader learns of their intellect, their wit, their writings, and the depth of feelings they have for each other.
Through their letters the reader discovers not only Joy’s vulnerabilities, but Jack’s (C. S. Lewis’s) as well. The humanness of these two writers, who become friends and then become marriage partners, is the cream that rises to the top of this book.
This book gave me new insight into the lives of Mr. and Mrs. C. S. Lewis. I found great joy in reading it.
“Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” –Nehemiah 8:10