Book Review: Surprised by Joy (C. S. Lewis)

Book review by Veejay Joson

Surprised by JoyWhat C.S. Lewis and I have in common is our love for reading good books and the wonderment it brings to our active imaginations. Through him I was introduced to two other great Christian writers, G.K. Chesterton and George MacDonald. But what C.S. Lewis does best where books are concerned is write them. He has written countless of books on Christian Apologetics, but his book “Surprised by Joy” differs from all of them. It chronicles a biographical journey of C.S. Lewis’ love for books from childhood to adulthood, and how through this love for them he was swayed to the seductive beckoning of Atheism and eventually his conversion to Theism.

C. S. Lewis’ Conversion

Like many other Christians I personally know, Lewis’ gradual conversion to Christianity was nothing exceptional, life-altering or even awe-inspiring. His was a slow and quiet rise from the very rigid intellectual snobbery of all things lowbrow (an attitude he had acquired from childhood and had been reinforced during his academic years) to a much surprising discovery of the quiet, remarkably no-nonsense and similarly logical truths offered by Theism (a term he referred to prior to his full-time conversion to the Christian faith).

The title is based from William Wordsworth’s poem of the same title and has nothing to do with his wife Joy Gresham. The book in a nutshell is Lewis’ pursuit of “Joy” since he was a boy, which seemed ever so elusive and fleeting that he can often only find in reading “good” books. But thanks to his unwavering love for them, he came upon the writings of Chesterton and MacDonald, both of whom he considers to have been very influential to his conversion into Christianity.