It can be tough, grueling reading at times, but it so perfectly illuminates the sinful side of everyone...and can be an indicator of what NOT to do!
Written as a series of letters from old devil Screwtape to his apprentice nephew, Wormwood, Lewis's novel tells the story of Wormwood's increasingly desperate efforts to ensnare the soul of a young Englishman during World War I. Through this correspondence we follow Wormwood's "patient" through conversion, to doubt, love and his ultimate fate. The novel's suspense comes from the question of whether or not the young man will actually escape becoming a midnight snack for Wormwood, and besides being a genuinely fun read the novel is packed with ingenious observations about innumerable human fallacies: from lust to "falling in love," to cowardice to fanatic patriotism, piety to self-righteousness. One of Lewis's great literary gifts was his ability to pinpoint the subtle flaws in human nature that most of us probably don't think twice about but which we may end up regretting for all eternity. His eye for the touch of evil in the most seemingly innocuous areas of life lets Lewis hit all the major spiritual pressure points with amazing--and sometimes painful--accuracy.
Deliciously funny as only a grand parody can be, yet likewise terrifying in its implications, The Screwtape Letters is a must-read for everyone who ever even thought about religion. A magical novel of wisdom, encouragement, and dire warning, The Screwtape Letters has my wholehearted recommendation.
But Screwtape knows his "enemy" and he knows his limits. My favorite line, and one well worth hanging on to for all of us who feel we have lost hope: "Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys" (p. 40). And never forget. The demons never deny the existence of either Father or Son.