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4.7 out of 5 stars
The Great Divorce
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2001
Please don't be amazed at my poor rating of this book; it is not actually a rating of the great C.S. Lewis's "The Great Divorce," of which the earlier reviews speak eloquently; rather, it is this particular edition by HarperCollins/Zondervan. Simply put, this edition is liberally peppered with typographic errors, perhaps even a missing word here or there--you won't be able to tell unless you get a reliable edition elsewhere and compare the two. But I found errors like "to" spelled as "eo," "the" spelled "teh," and so on, far too many simple errors to be permitted in such a slender volume. Hey, Harper/Collins and Zondervan: no one cares if fundamentalist claptrap books has typographical errors, since these are not read by thinkers, but when you set to reprint a work by one of the Great Authors, at least show him the courtesy of hiring an editor and proofreader to check the galley pages. Suffice it to say, since this edition is part of the "Signature Series," and presumably other Lewis books in the series is prepared in a similarly slipshod fashion, I will have to look for other editions of Lewis's works that I don't as yet own. (Of course, none of this may be important to the reader if he doesn't mind less than acceptable fidelity to the original editions of "The Great Divorce": in which case, I suppose this edition is better than none.)--A Former Editor
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I read this book as part of a book club for the summer. I was not familiar with C.S. Lewis's work. I found this book overwhelmingly difficult to understand. On the surface it's an interesting take on Heaven & Hell, but underneath trying to understand the symbolism and the true message I found to be impossible without the input of my book club friends.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2002
Okay, I admit that I probably shouldn't even be reviewing this book, I'm not in the target audience. For those who are in the book's target audience, I'm sure it is a wonderful book. If the description "enjoys Christian allegory" fits you, ignore my bad review and read the other reviews. All I'm saying is that for me, it was so boring I couldn't hardly finish it. I only read it because a Christian friend gave it to me.
Just a few other small comments. In his introduction, Lewis finds it necessary to remind the reader that it is allegory, and he is not trying in any way to factually describe the afterlife. In fact he says, "encouraging factual curiosity of the afterlife is the last thing I want to do". Well, um, then what's the point? Though I maintain being agnostic, but I have to admit I lean more towards atheism. One of the reasons being that no one has presented, to my mind anyway, a plausible scenerio for what the afterlife is really like. An infinite life where there is presumably no pain or evil, would have to be inherently very different from our mortal existence. So different if such does exist, then it seems difficult to imagine any purpose to this very limited existence we have here. After all, a billion years from now, are you going to be sitting around heaven talking about the time your aunt died or something? I'm wondering if the reason Lewis doesn't want to "encourage factual curiosity" about the afterlife is because that when one tries to ponder it factually, it seems rather implausible.
I think that a Christian would say that a quote late in the book more or less sums up what Lewis is trying to say. Lewis says that "there are two kinds of people, those that say to God 'thy will be done' and those that God says to them, 'thy will be done.'" Well, don't take the following statement as "bashing" Christians, I am fully aware that by and large, Christians are fine people. But of course there are those that claim to be Christians that don't seem like such fine people. My only point in this is that I basically reject that there is some intrinsic difference between those that choose to be Christians and those that don't. The point of the book is to try to show this supposed intrinsic difference, an intrisic difference would would last for eternity, which I reject exists. I reject Lewis' premise. I'm just in general not a big fan of allegory. And even Lewis himself says it says nothing about the real form of heaven and hell. So for me, it was a boring, useless waste of time. But if you are a Christian and like allegory, well, ignore me, I'm sure you'll like the book.
NOTE: At the time of this edit of my review, I've got 0 out of 4 helpful votes. I guess I shouldn't be surprised as I'm giving a negative review of a popular book. But the point is - is my review actually helpful? And I think it is. I freely admit that those in the target audience will like it and I explain why I don't like it. That's what's called a GOOD review folks - don't say it is a bad review just because you don't like my opinion!
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