I read this book based on a review that I found via Semicolon's Saturday Review of Books. Unfortunately I didn't think to make a record of who reviewed it at the time. Whoever you were . . . THANK YOU! I loved this book.
This book was written by George Sayer who was one of Lewis' pupil-turned-friend (of which he apparently had several). Lewis would frequently visit Sayer and his wife, who played hostess to Joy Gresham as well. I liked the way that Sayer approached his writing of Lewis' life by clarifying certain aspects of who Lewis was to avoid uncertainty in the public and/or critics. Sayer struck me as an Honest English Chap who loved Lewis but frequently did not understand his life choices. Nevertheless, he showed loyalty and devotion to Lewis in a manner that I find quite admirable.
I feel like I was a Fad Fan of Lewis before reading this book and a devoted Lewis-ian (?) afterwards. If that's not a mark of a good biographer, I don't know what is.
I very much appreciated Sayer "laying things out" about Lewis' life prior to his conversion to Christianity. Lewis was a sinful man, pure and simple, redeemed by Christ's mercy and grace. Just like everyone of us. He was not a holier than thou type of individual. He was aware of his past and thoughtful towards his future. However, he did have an intellect that many of us are lacking in, purposefully or otherwise. This made him intimidating and formidable soul. Quite frankly, I don't think I would liked his company, personally, although I would like to have known him (if that makes sense). If I'm being honest, I would like the prestige of having known him, without having to try to talk to him. I wouldn't have known what to say. But I would love to hear him speak!
The encouraging thing about this book was that I saw myself as being like Lewis in the respect that he too was always struggling and desiring to learn and know more of God. When I see what Lewis was and what he became, I am encouraged to go a greater distance myself. Does that make sense? God did a lot with Lewis. He can do just as much (or more?!) with me! That's an amazing thought. Here we have a hero of the Christian faith, in a great many respects, but he was just a man like us. His life had potential and so does ours. There is nothing that really separates us in that except that he was willing to put the time and energy into thought and we would rather not.
There is a great deal to say about this book. One little review will not do it a bit of justice. I can tell you that, for me, it made the man more real. It made me want to poke my head out of Narnia and delve into his other writings which explain more of his thought processes. I'm particularly eager to get my hands on a copy of "Surprised by Joy" which tells more of the story of his personal conversation. That would be curious.
I cannot speak highly enough of this book because of its harsh realities and uncommon graces. Lewis' life shouts: "GOD IS A BIG GOD!" I hope mine will say the same.