I am not one to exaggerate on books very often. The list of earth shattering, life changing books for me is very short (i.e. one). Similarly, I am not one of those to be challenged by books so often that they shape my world view or resonate with me beyond the closing of the book (my apologies to all authors who thought that is what they were doing). But the list of challenging books for me just got lengthened by one.
The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis engaged me in a way that "fantasy" fiction never has (most of the time I don't give it a shot). This may be because the book is really just a thinly veiled allegory for the things we hold onto so we don't have to step out in faith. For the uninitiated (as I was), the story is that of a man who takes a bus ride to heaven. The unfolding scenes are the backdrop for discussions that cut to the heart of faith, unbelief, rebellion, and selfishness.
I realize that all our readers would not generally be interested in anything by C.S. Lewis (other than the Narnia series) based on his religious beliefs, but I truly think this story deserves a hearing. By way of encouragement, I offer these tips for reading this book:
1. Read it out loud, as you would to a child. Throw the voices in, as well, you will have fun trying on a Scotch accent for size, at the very least.
2. Read only one chapter a day. This should take no longer than 10 minutes for the longest of the chapters.
I don't know if it was just these strange choices for reading this novel that led me to such a rich enjoyment of the book, but I know it really added to the experience. I even found myself weeping at the end of the book (haven't done that in a while), a strange and beautiful crescendo of an ending whose denoument is all to brief.
Have any of you read this book and if so are you as enraptured with it as I am?
Rating: 6.9 out of 7