Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. BookLook Bloggers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.
(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)
They’d been tamed beyond their wild nature…and I knew that capture had damaged their souls.
“I’m sorry,” I whispered every time. “We were meant to be free.”
Becoming Mrs. Lewis by author Patti Callahan: the story of Joy Davidman and the man who would one day be her husband, C. S. Lewis. Or Jack, to those who knew him.
Yes, it was my recognition of Lewis and his works, my fondness for Narnia, and my remembrance of A Grief Observed that drew my attention to this fictionalized account. But no, I wasn’t looking for a novel romanticizing or idolizing Davidman and Lewis as if they weren’t real, flawed human beings, more than just their well-known literature. To that point, I’m glad this isn’t a historical “romance.”
Even so, it’s one of those rare times when I can’t accurately rate how I feel about a book—and not only because I decided not to finish it (though I did read most of it.)
This author’s style is seasoned, unrushed, and rich, and there were moments in the reading that gave me wonderful pause. Joy as a girl, empathizing with lions in captivity. The idea that we wouldn’t get where we are without what we’ve gone through. Observing Joy, her children, and Jack, then going back to look at the dedication in one of my copies of Narnia and saying, “Ooohhh.” Contemplating a life beyond one’s own captivity: “What on earth would become of me if I should ever grow brave?”
And, of course, my writer self understanding so much about characters who are writers.
Yet, though I do enjoy dense novels when I can, this one was hard for me to keep pushing through. I found much of it depressing. A resolution here but then more despair there. Continual, increasing longing, going unfulfilled. I can appreciate stories of people slowly growing in love, but when it’s a moral dilemma, a constant struggle against a character’s conscience, it’s like reading about a whole lot of feelings that feel wrong. Once I got to Joy and Harry, I couldn’t push on much further.
I’m not sorry I gave this novel a chance, though.