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Becoming C. S. Lewis, Volume 1: A Biography of Young Jack Lewis

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"This excellent work will have readers eagerly anticipating the next volume." --Publishers Weekly The writings of C. S. Lewis cannot be fully understood apart from a grasp of his formative adolescent years. Unfortunately, many biographies speed over this important season of Lewis's life. Slowing down to focus on his younger years, this detailed portrait of "Jack" Lewis helps "This excellent work will have readers eagerly anticipating the next volume." --Publishers Weekly The writings of C. S. Lewis cannot be fully understood apart from a grasp of his formative adolescent years. Unfortunately, many biographies speed over this important season of Lewis's life. Slowing down to focus on his younger years, this detailed portrait of "Jack" Lewis helps us discover seeds of what would inform his later writings--such as his delight in literature, his key relationships, his suffering and struggles, and his intense pursuit of joy. The chapters unfold the habits and tastes he developed while at boarding school, in college, and in the army, revealing where we see these themes appear in his works--bringing to life the man readers have come to know as C. S. Lewis. Volume 1 in a trilogy offering a comprehensive view of the life of C. S. Lewis.


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"This excellent work will have readers eagerly anticipating the next volume." --Publishers Weekly The writings of C. S. Lewis cannot be fully understood apart from a grasp of his formative adolescent years. Unfortunately, many biographies speed over this important season of Lewis's life. Slowing down to focus on his younger years, this detailed portrait of "Jack" Lewis helps "This excellent work will have readers eagerly anticipating the next volume." --Publishers Weekly The writings of C. S. Lewis cannot be fully understood apart from a grasp of his formative adolescent years. Unfortunately, many biographies speed over this important season of Lewis's life. Slowing down to focus on his younger years, this detailed portrait of "Jack" Lewis helps us discover seeds of what would inform his later writings--such as his delight in literature, his key relationships, his suffering and struggles, and his intense pursuit of joy. The chapters unfold the habits and tastes he developed while at boarding school, in college, and in the army, revealing where we see these themes appear in his works--bringing to life the man readers have come to know as C. S. Lewis. Volume 1 in a trilogy offering a comprehensive view of the life of C. S. Lewis.

30 review for Becoming C. S. Lewis, Volume 1: A Biography of Young Jack Lewis

  1. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    Who is the primary audience of this new biography? I would say that it would most appeal to scholars. A strong interest in history, literature, philosophy, the first world war would certainly help. A love of Lewis' writing--his literary essays, his philosophy, his nonfiction, his fiction--would be an absolute must. It isn't enough to merely love and adore the Chronicles of Narnia. One must equally love and adore his other books and articles as well. The premise of this one is simple, "During his Who is the primary audience of this new biography? I would say that it would most appeal to scholars. A strong interest in history, literature, philosophy, the first world war would certainly help. A love of Lewis' writing--his literary essays, his philosophy, his nonfiction, his fiction--would be an absolute must. It isn't enough to merely love and adore the Chronicles of Narnia. One must equally love and adore his other books and articles as well. The premise of this one is simple, "During his school days, the boy who would grow to become C. S. Lewis formed his most important tastes in music, art, literature, companionship, religion, sports, and almost every other aspect of life. While his ideas and critical thought about what he liked and disliked would change, his basic preferences came together during this period and formed the foundation out of which his later life grew." And..."The questions of C. S. Lewis that began to form in his mind during childhood and adolescence would compel him toward answers that resulted in his conversion to faith in Jesus Christ many years later." But above all else, this one requires an enormous amount of patience--the patience of a saint, perhaps?! It is tedious, cumbersome work. Unless you are incredibly curious to know about smallest details of his daily life, year after year after year after year...one could probably sum up everything you really needed to know about this time period in his life in about a hundred pages--maybe 112 pages. This one is idea-driven. What ideas did C.S. Lewis hold during his childhood and adolescence? When did those ideas form? Did those ideas change throughout these years? Did these ideas change as he became an adult? Did they ever change? To what extent did he stay the same and to what extent did he change? What books did he read? When did he read them? Did he reread them? Did he talk about them with anyone? Did his opinions on those books, on those authors change over time? Are there any parallels between his own books that he would later write and those that he read? Are there any similar themes? What relationships were significant to him when he was eight? when he was nine? when he was ten? when he was eleven? when he was twelve? when he was thirteen? ETC. So many WORDS. It's not that I didn't care at all. It's that I didn't care all that much. For example, do we really need to know how often a young Jack Lewis thought about sex? which friends he discussed sex with? what his sexual fantasies were? who he fantasized about? how Lewis viewed women at this time in his life? where he got his views of women from? I pick on this one issue--which I consider almost non-relevant to C.S. Lewis the author and theologian revered by Christian masses. Almost. I mean, I suppose it shows his fallenness. But still. And this is just one example. All that being said...I can't deny the book was well-researched. He obviously spent A LOT of time finding out EVERY LITTLE THING he possibly could about C.S. Lewis. And I do believe there are a handful of readers in the world who will care because they share a similar obsession with anything and everything Lewis related. The details go to the extreme. But it's a solid read.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bob H

    This is a well-researched and intriguing biography of C.S. Lewis, the author and lay theologian, and is the first of a three-volume work. Here, the book covers the first 20 years of Lewis' life, his formative years of his origins in Northern Ireland, his school years in England and his time on the Western Front in the latter part of WWI. It would be an eventful, often troubled boyhood, with harsh "public" (i.e., private upper-class) schools and his eventual tribulations in the war; it was a peri This is a well-researched and intriguing biography of C.S. Lewis, the author and lay theologian, and is the first of a three-volume work. Here, the book covers the first 20 years of Lewis' life, his formative years of his origins in Northern Ireland, his school years in England and his time on the Western Front in the latter part of WWI. It would be an eventful, often troubled boyhood, with harsh "public" (i.e., private upper-class) schools and his eventual tribulations in the war; it was a period that young Lewis would pick up an uneven education, encounter the rigors of puberty and fall out of religious belief. The author, a C.S. Lewis scholar, has had the benefit of newly published memoirs, letters and material, and has also explored archives in Oxford and elsewhere. This book does draw out more detail about Lewis' life, even more than Lewis would describe in his own autobiography Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life. The author could have kept to this outline but has filled out Lewis' account with much more context and detail. In a way, this book could be titled "The Education of C.S. Lewis" because it traces young Lewis' literary tastes, philosophy studies, intellectual habits and formative interests. We also learn of his socializing, usually negative, in school and his formative time later with a private tutor, W. T. Kirkpatrick, who seems to have been a gifted teacher and a good mentor. We even learn about Lewis' early erotic interests, along with those of his closest boyhood friend, Arthur Greeves, who unlike Lewis seems to have developed same-sex interests as well as shared intellectual interests. Lewis did spend a brief time at Oxford, much of it in officer training, and come to realize that the poshy disdain of the "bloods" -- upper-class boys he had encountered at school -- would not be there when he came back from the war, for many of the "bloods" would not come back from the trenches. All of this, the author tells us, is what would form C.S. Lewis. The author does leap forward in his narrative a bit, foreshadowing Lewis' later Oxford friendship with his literary "Inklings" circle, notably influential friends like J.R.R. Tolkien and Hugo Dyson, and their re-conversion of Lewis back to Christianity. This comes later, for Lewis at 20, in 1918, was yet to find fame and intellectual maturity, and just beginning to settle in at Oxford. Still, we see him on the cusp of a greater life, and the author shows considerable empathy in telling Lewis' story so far. His description of the educational milieu of Britain, its religious and social life, is perceptive and clear, and we learn much of Lewis' times, not just his early life. Highly recommend -- and I look forward to the next volume. Read in advance-reading copy from Amazon Vine. Publication due out Nov. 2019.

  3. 5 out of 5

    John Stanifer

    This new biography of C.S. Lewis, the first of a projected trilogy, focuses almost exclusively on Lewis's adolescent years from his birth in 1898 through the end of the Great War (WWI) in 1918. That makes it fairly unique among the many, many biographies of Lewis. Most are more concerned with the Oxford years (Tolkien, the Inklings, Narnia) and/or his romance with Joy Davidman. Why zero in on such a specific period in Lewis's life? It's easy to see why by the end of it. These are the years when Le This new biography of C.S. Lewis, the first of a projected trilogy, focuses almost exclusively on Lewis's adolescent years from his birth in 1898 through the end of the Great War (WWI) in 1918. That makes it fairly unique among the many, many biographies of Lewis. Most are more concerned with the Oxford years (Tolkien, the Inklings, Narnia) and/or his romance with Joy Davidman. Why zero in on such a specific period in Lewis's life? It's easy to see why by the end of it. These are the years when Lewis formed the tastes, passions, and pursuits that would occupy him for the rest of his life. Not surprising, considering that's the time of life most of us form the core of who we are. Some of the information was familiar from the likes of George Sayer's classic biography "Jack" or even Lewis's own Surprised by Joy, though it never hurts to see information you thought you knew analyzed from a slightly different angle. One of the most startling sections of this book, for me, was the presentation of Lewis's friendship with his war buddy, Paddy Moore. In short, Poe's account left me with the impression that Jack was far more interested in Paddy's mother, Mrs. Moore, than in his friendship with Paddy himself. I won't spoil the details, but this left me shaking my head a couple of times about how callous the younger Lewis (apparently) acted towards his dad, his brother, and his friend by comparison with how he treated Mrs. Moore. Of course, most of what we know comes from surviving letters, so it's fair to argue that this is, in the end, one more interpretation (albeit a convincing one) of evidence that has (mostly) been around for a while. One of the points where this book shines brightest is in giving us a thorough treatment of Lewis's reading as a young person. What he read, how often he re-read it, and what it was in these books that appealed to him is described with a level of anecdotal and analytical detail that I haven't really seen to quite this extent (even if, again, there are things we knew from other Lewis biographies). I'd be remiss if I failed to mention how GORGEOUS this book is. The cover, the photos at the front and back of the book (i.e. the endpapers), and the black-and-white photos scattered throughout ensure that those who DO judge books by their covers and physical qualities won't be disappointed in the least. A few of the photos have never been published. I had the privilege of meeting Hal, the author, last month at Montreat College's Lewis symposium. Attendees had the chance to purchase early copies of the book, so I bought one and had it signed! I will definitely be keeping this on my Inklings shelf amidst the other classics of the field.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jen H

    I own many books on and by C S Lewis, and I have read many on his life, but this is the first book I have read that traces what he read during the formative period of his life from birth through age twenty, AND it also identifies how that reading shaped his writing and his adulthood. This is a book I need to add to my personal library. The segments on Spenser's Faerie Queene were excellent, and totally worth the cost of the book. In 2014, when I was preparing to spend the summer at Oxford, I work I own many books on and by C S Lewis, and I have read many on his life, but this is the first book I have read that traces what he read during the formative period of his life from birth through age twenty, AND it also identifies how that reading shaped his writing and his adulthood. This is a book I need to add to my personal library. The segments on Spenser's Faerie Queene were excellent, and totally worth the cost of the book. In 2014, when I was preparing to spend the summer at Oxford, I worked my way through the first two volumes of Lewis' Letters compiled by Walter Hooper, hoping to gain a greater sense of two things. First, I wanted to know which places at Oxford would have historical significance for me during my visit, and second, I wanted to know what books influenced Lewis the most. I knew Spenser's Faerie Queene had had a signficant impact. I knew that he liked Morris. And I knew that George MacDonald's Phantastes had baptized his imagination. What I didn't know was how each of these books (and others) had impacted his writing throughout his life. Now, after reading Dr. Poe's book, I do. I also understand more fully how Lewis' pleasure reading during his formative years were used to draw him to Christ. Some noteworthy excerpts (especially for classical educators): -Lewis considered Homer better than Virgil throughout his life, regarding The Aeneid as simply a derivative or a reproduction of Homer's Iliad. (His thoughts on this can be found in his Preface to Paradise Lost.) -He did not care much for either Demosthenes or Cicero, but he had a slightly higher view of Demosthenes. -Lewis did enjoy Lucretius, Catullus, Tacitus, and Herodotus. (And as I was reading this, I wondered if perhaps the reason he enjoyed these authors was that at least two of them wrote more about war. I am not familiar with the writings of Catullus or Lucretius, so perhaps this thought is way out of line. He had not experienced the horrors of war at the point when he was reading these.) -He loved reading William Morris, especially his The Well at the World's End (which he modeled his own Pilgrims Regress upon). On a related note, I really appreciated the way Dr. Poe did his footnotes. His footnote presentation made it extremely easy to find the sources cited throughout the book. All in all, a great resource for writers and definitely different from any other resource on Lewis's reading.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Meagan

    Becoming C. S. Lewis is truly a fascinating read! I grew up reading the Chronicles of Narnia, and between college and now have enjoyed his Space Trilogy, The Great Divorce, and a variety of non-fiction works. Suffice to say, I’ve read “a few” of his works! That being said, I can’t say I knew much about Lewis as a person before this read — especially of his childhood. Sure, I knew a handful of the basics, but nothing like what Becoming C. S. Lewis includes! If the other two books to come in this se Becoming C. S. Lewis is truly a fascinating read! I grew up reading the Chronicles of Narnia, and between college and now have enjoyed his Space Trilogy, The Great Divorce, and a variety of non-fiction works. Suffice to say, I’ve read “a few” of his works! That being said, I can’t say I knew much about Lewis as a person before this read — especially of his childhood. Sure, I knew a handful of the basics, but nothing like what Becoming C. S. Lewis includes! If the other two books to come in this series are anything like this — detailed, thoughtful, even humorous at times — I am confident the reader will walk away with a deeper knowledge of the man behind Narnia, not to mention what shaped him in his formative years! Lewis by no means experienced an easy life growing up. Poe handles this graciously, not shying away from events but not glamorizing them either. Footnotes refer the reader back to an extensive bibliography for further study and review as desired. It’s evident Poe himself did a huge amount of research! I feel he succeeds admirably at providing an exhaustive overview of Lewis’s childhood, and am ready for subsequent books to release already. This set will, I’m confident, provide quite the definitive resource on Lewis. An admirable addition to any reader’s bookshelf, especially existing fans of Lewis. Newcomers will certainly find this book approachable as well. I received a copy of the book from Crossway. All opinions are my own.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    Becoming C. S. Lewis (1898–1918): A Biography of Young Jack Lewis by [Poe, Harry Lee]I found this book, Becoming C.S. Lewis, to be a well-researched volume. This is to be the first of three-volumes on the gentleman. It talks about the first 20 years of Lewis' life. His time in Northern Ireland, England and in WWI. He had his troubles during this time - his education was hit and miss, and difficulties with religion. The author, Harry Lee Poe was able to use his research, including recent published Becoming C. S. Lewis (1898–1918): A Biography of Young Jack Lewis by [Poe, Harry Lee]I found this book, Becoming C.S. Lewis, to be a well-researched volume. This is to be the first of three-volumes on the gentleman. It talks about the first 20 years of Lewis' life. His time in Northern Ireland, England and in WWI. He had his troubles during this time - his education was hit and miss, and difficulties with religion. The author, Harry Lee Poe was able to use his research, including recent published letters, memoirs and more to show the details of Lewis' life, I found this book to be very thorough and knowledgeable. I highly recommend it. I was given this book by NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    Becoming C. S. Lewis follows the life of Jack Lewis from birth to his transition to adulthood at age 20 following World War I. The book focuses quite a bit on his school years and the literally influences and atheist world view he developed during that time. Harry Lee Poe, a Christian scholar, sets this as part 1 of a trilogy he is writing about Lewis life and conversion to Christianity. He shows how the groundwork for his faith is being set up during his formative years and after world war I he Becoming C. S. Lewis follows the life of Jack Lewis from birth to his transition to adulthood at age 20 following World War I. The book focuses quite a bit on his school years and the literally influences and atheist world view he developed during that time. Harry Lee Poe, a Christian scholar, sets this as part 1 of a trilogy he is writing about Lewis life and conversion to Christianity. He shows how the groundwork for his faith is being set up during his formative years and after world war I he has shifted from materialism towards an agnostic view after being in the trenches. In addition to the complicated life with his family the book also explores his outlook on being Irish in an English society and his views on Home Rule shaping throughout the book. From his intellectual development to his love of literature this is probably the most in depth study written to date on C. S. Lewis formative years. If you are interested in biographies of authors, then this is a must read but if you are looking for a more casual biography of Lewis than this will likely be overkill.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Stan Shelley

    I have read many biographies of CS Lewis and this is one of the very best. By understanding his youth, I now have better understanding of his life. I have always wanted to know more about his close friend Arthur Greeves, Professor Kirkpatrick and other people in Lewis’ developing years and I found that here. This is a very well researched book and it is presented in easily read prose.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Brogdon

    It’s always difficult to picture a strong believer’s pre-conversion, and I found reading what Lewis was like disturbing at times. Certainly, God ordained each day of his life though, and this book shows how he became the man we admire. I liked reading about the types of stories he loved as a kid and how they liken to the stories he later wrote.

  10. 4 out of 5

    George1st

    As Harry Lee Poe demonstrates by counting the number of pages devoted to C. S. Lewis's influential and formative adolescent years found in their books, many previous Lewis biographies tend to devote insufficient space in examining this crucial period. This is rather surprising as Lewis himself in his autobiographical work Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life fully acknowledged this period's importance to his later development. This fully researched book drawing on material from the eleve As Harry Lee Poe demonstrates by counting the number of pages devoted to C. S. Lewis's influential and formative adolescent years found in their books, many previous Lewis biographies tend to devote insufficient space in examining this crucial period. This is rather surprising as Lewis himself in his autobiographical work Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life fully acknowledged this period's importance to his later development. This fully researched book drawing on material from the eleven-volume Lewis papers and his lifelong correspondence with his boyhood friend Arthur Greeves demonstrates the importance of how Lewis's voracious early reading of Greek and Norse mythology together with folklore would shape not only his own later writing but would be an important factor in his later conversion (he lost his faith while at school) to Christianity. We learn of his rather miserable and unhappy time spent after his mother's death at various English private schools before being somewhat rescued and then intellectually flourishing (after leaving Malvern College) by studying privately with William T. Kirkpartrick his father's old tutor at his Surrey home. This book is actually my first introduction to C. S. Lewis and although despite some of the complex themes associated with the acceptance of faith I found in quite accessible. Although the writer and publisher's of this book are avowedly Christian this should not put off the more agnostically or aesthetically inclined reader who seeks a thought provoking and challenging read. I would certainly recommend this to those who seek an understanding of a rather complex and influential character.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    Many people know the name C.S. Lewis. When I think of C.S. Lewis, I think of the Chronicles of Narnia books that I enjoyed as a child. So, when I had the chance to read a biography of his childhood, I figured that it would be a great opportunity to see into the mind of a classic and well-loved author. Becoming C.S. Lewis is a book about about the childhood and early life of C.S. Lewis, from 1898-1918. There will be other volumes available about his adulthood and later life. The book told about hi Many people know the name C.S. Lewis. When I think of C.S. Lewis, I think of the Chronicles of Narnia books that I enjoyed as a child. So, when I had the chance to read a biography of his childhood, I figured that it would be a great opportunity to see into the mind of a classic and well-loved author. Becoming C.S. Lewis is a book about about the childhood and early life of C.S. Lewis, from 1898-1918. There will be other volumes available about his adulthood and later life. The book told about his life in great detail from his early childhood, his mother’s death, his years in boarding school, and his service in World War I. I will admit that I was a little disappointed that the book was not written as a story. Instead, it is more of a textbook format. There is no dialogue, just the facts. But the redeeming quality for me was that the a lot of the information was very interesting and gave same insight into why and how C.S. Lewis wrote his books. For example, his mother died from cancer when he was young, and his book The Magician’s Nephew had a young character named Digory who had a mother who was dying. This book is the first in a series, and is definitely for the more devoted fan of C.S. Lewis. If you are interested in learning many details about young Jack Lewis, and how his growing up years formed him into the man and author that we knew, you will want to pick up a copy of this book. If reading all of the intimate details of his life sounds tedious to you, then this would be one that you would want to pass over.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    Volume 1 of a proposed trilogy concentrates on C S Lewis’s early years and how these early experiences formed and informed his character, work and future life. The author feels that not enough attention has been paid to Lewis’s childhood and youth in other biographies and has done an excellent job in rectifying this. His research has been painstaking and meticulous, although as so often when an author has done vast amounts of research he has been reluctant to leave any scrap out which sometimes Volume 1 of a proposed trilogy concentrates on C S Lewis’s early years and how these early experiences formed and informed his character, work and future life. The author feels that not enough attention has been paid to Lewis’s childhood and youth in other biographies and has done an excellent job in rectifying this. His research has been painstaking and meticulous, although as so often when an author has done vast amounts of research he has been reluctant to leave any scrap out which sometimes makes for some longueurs. He stresses the importance of Lewis’s early reading but also narrates the full plots of many of these early literary influences and I’m not at all sure we needed this retelling. It’s a fairly banal conclusion that the child is father to the man and no doubt this concentration on childhood and youth is important and significant but I felt on occasion that some of the conclusions were pushing things a bit, almost sensationalising them, which makes for good story but perhaps not intellectual rigour. Also I was irritated by the frequent comparisons to Harry Potter – it’s quite possible that not all C S Lewis devotees are also Harry Potter fans. Although the emphasis is on the early years, Poe does jump forward frequently to Lewis’s future life and this made for disconnected reading at times. However, there’s no doubt that this is a worthy addition to Lewis scholarship, whilst at the same time being both accessible and enjoyable.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn Lindstrom

    " I had never planned to write this book, but it got ahead of me. On one of those odd days when I decided not to do that I should have been doing , I began to wonder what C. S. Lewis liked to eat" writes Harry Lee Pope in the forward of his book, Becoming C. S. Lewis, Volume 1: A Biography of Young Jack Lewis|43585691]. I have read a number of C. S. Lewis biographies but they often only include a little about his his childhood and adolescence. I am sure I had an idealistic , Narnia- ified view of " I had never planned to write this book, but it got ahead of me. On one of those odd days when I decided not to do that I should have been doing , I began to wonder what C. S. Lewis liked to eat" writes Harry Lee Pope in the forward of his book, Becoming C. S. Lewis, Volume 1: A Biography of Young Jack Lewis|43585691]. I have read a number of C. S. Lewis biographies but they often only include a little about his his childhood and adolescence. I am sure I had an idealistic , Narnia- ified view of Lewis before I read this. I expected to learn more about how his loss of his mother at a young age and then really abusive experiences at boarding school somehow made him a more empathetic person and able to write so well. After reading this I learned that , for Lewis, empathy was a long time coming . But isn't that adolescence? A focus on yourself and figuring out who you really are? Lewis figured himself out in Norse mythology and Wagner's music and Spenser's Faerie Queene and other artistic works. He figured himself out as he wrote about these things with his first real friend outside his brother Warnie, Arthur Greeves. He wasn't just figuring himself out, either. He loved the beauty of these works of literature and music. The book includes dark parts of Lewis' young adult thoughts, as well as complicated relationships. I think that anyone who loves what C. S. Lewis wrote should know him better and read this book. I am so glad that I did.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ivy

    I knew at the bookstore that when I saw a biography of Lewis's early life that I had to read it. I have not read many books on or by CS Lewis, but it seems rare that any author has delved adequately into his early life during such formative years. Frankly, I am surprised that not more have studied his adolescence and gathered his interests and experiences that would influence the rest of his life. I knew Crossway Publishing releases incredible texts that are insightful and academic, which furthe I knew at the bookstore that when I saw a biography of Lewis's early life that I had to read it. I have not read many books on or by CS Lewis, but it seems rare that any author has delved adequately into his early life during such formative years. Frankly, I am surprised that not more have studied his adolescence and gathered his interests and experiences that would influence the rest of his life. I knew Crossway Publishing releases incredible texts that are insightful and academic, which further impressed me as I read this short biography. I have long become tired with stereotypical, unfounded Christian novels and works of nonfiction that come across as preachy. Lewis did not become a Christian until well into his adult life, and this book explores those secularist ideologies that he delved into, and does not skim over his atheist lifestyle that other Christian authors might be tempted to do. This text shows how intellectualism and Christianity can intersect and that even lay people can understand these concepts. I simply loved this book because it invites a wide audience of both Christian and non-Christians alike, which few texts do these days while arguably giving a balanced narrative.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    C.S. Lewis concentrated heavily on his incredibly harrowing school days in his autobiography, yet many biographers think that their effect on him has been exaggerated! Professor Poe noticed this, and decided to restore Lewis's young life back into prominence. This was when his tastes and dislikes were formed - the older C.S. Lewis still liked and disliked the same things. This was also when he read the books which eventually led him to Christianity. Poe delves deeply into Lewis's dark school days C.S. Lewis concentrated heavily on his incredibly harrowing school days in his autobiography, yet many biographers think that their effect on him has been exaggerated! Professor Poe noticed this, and decided to restore Lewis's young life back into prominence. This was when his tastes and dislikes were formed - the older C.S. Lewis still liked and disliked the same things. This was also when he read the books which eventually led him to Christianity. Poe delves deeply into Lewis's dark school days, his relationships with his father and brother, his friendship with Arthur Greeves and his atheism and conversion. He spends much of the book Lewis's reading and how it influenced him to become a Professor of Medieval and Renaissance Literature, and, more importantly, to become a Christian. The conflict between the materialist philosophy and atheism of his teacher and his spiritual leanings is especially interesting, although heavy. Any fan of C.S. Lewis will enjoy this deeply thought-out and insightful look at the great man. I am sure that Lewis himself would be pleased with this book! I received this free ebook from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Shar

    I thoroughly enjoyed this charming walk through the early years of the life of C.S. Lewis. My knowledge of him prior to reading this biography was pretty much limited to The Chronicles of Narnia! So I can’t possibly give an opinion on the content being accurate but I very much got the impression that this is a well-researched and honest biography. It is focused on the education of Lewis and shows us how he began to develop from schoolboy to author, his influences and inspiration, it also covers I thoroughly enjoyed this charming walk through the early years of the life of C.S. Lewis. My knowledge of him prior to reading this biography was pretty much limited to The Chronicles of Narnia! So I can’t possibly give an opinion on the content being accurate but I very much got the impression that this is a well-researched and honest biography. It is focused on the education of Lewis and shows us how he began to develop from schoolboy to author, his influences and inspiration, it also covers C.S. Lewis’s religious life and endeavours. If like me you know almost nothing about this man whose works are legendry – this is a book for you – I am looking forward to the next volume – the author writes in such a way that the information is easy to read, understand, digest and remember. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher Crossway for allowing me to read the Kindle edition in return for my honest opinion and review

  17. 5 out of 5

    Library Queen

    This book was basically a really long scholarly paper with a cover on it. I totally get why some people who are only mildly interested in Lewis' life would be bored by it. It moved slowly as he covers everything about Lewis' early life except what he had for breakfast every morning (but apparently he liked potatoes? he complains in a letter that they're in short supply during the war). My only complaint is the author outs in his own opinions on things too much, like saying Lewis' was on his way This book was basically a really long scholarly paper with a cover on it. I totally get why some people who are only mildly interested in Lewis' life would be bored by it. It moved slowly as he covers everything about Lewis' early life except what he had for breakfast every morning (but apparently he liked potatoes? he complains in a letter that they're in short supply during the war). My only complaint is the author outs in his own opinions on things too much, like saying Lewis' was on his way to being an ax murderer as a child because he was isolated and had antisocial tendencies. Literally - 'Until he entered Arthur Greeves's bedroom during the Easter break of 1914, Jack Lewis had all the makings of an ax murderer.' Only read if you're really into C.S. Lewis. Which I am. And I really hope my library gets in the other 2 volumes.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    Great book! Excellently written and fascinating. I need to read more by and about C. S. Lewis. I have read the Chronicles of Narnia but that is all. My own children are struggling with their spiritual beliefs and this book gives hope that they will eventually realize the truth. I like how the author chose to focus on C. S. Lewis's childhood and adolescence. Those are our most formative years. We will always have the chance to learn throughout our entire lives but it seems so many people do not o Great book! Excellently written and fascinating. I need to read more by and about C. S. Lewis. I have read the Chronicles of Narnia but that is all. My own children are struggling with their spiritual beliefs and this book gives hope that they will eventually realize the truth. I like how the author chose to focus on C. S. Lewis's childhood and adolescence. Those are our most formative years. We will always have the chance to learn throughout our entire lives but it seems so many people do not or will only go so far. We get comfortable where we are, we get busy, pride sets in and we don't want to admit that we might need to change some actions or attitudes. What we learn in childhood will shape our entire future, for good or bad. Even if we decide to turn against it, it's still there.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    This was a very informative read, but to be honest, it wasnt what I expected. I thought this would be a more "layperson's" look at C.S. Lewis's adolescence, but it was very technical, talked a lot about literature and was all around a little overwhelming. There were a lot of interesting tidbits, but overall I felt it was overshadowed by the technical details and the way the book was written. I may not have been the intended audience for this book, and I'm sure it would have been very enjoyed by This was a very informative read, but to be honest, it wasnt what I expected. I thought this would be a more "layperson's" look at C.S. Lewis's adolescence, but it was very technical, talked a lot about literature and was all around a little overwhelming. There were a lot of interesting tidbits, but overall I felt it was overshadowed by the technical details and the way the book was written. I may not have been the intended audience for this book, and I'm sure it would have been very enjoyed by more scholars and students of Lewis.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Leaflet

    The author's statement: "Until he entered Arthur Greeve's bedroom [who was ill and wanted company] during the Easter break of 1914, Jack Lewis had all the makings of an ax murderer", seems a bit sensational and over-the-top. Apparently, his brother and father (and the author) were wringing their hands over his youthful anti-social tendencies, though when you read about his dreadful school experiences, it's not to be wondered at.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Darlene

    I received this book from Netgalley for review and all thoughts and opinions are my own. After reading this delightful biography on the early years of C. S. Lewis's , I have gained an entirely new perspective on the man, his reading life, his likes and dislikes, and his own works. There are several factors that affected the boy , his education and philosophy that surprised and enlightened me. His path to Christianity was ordained by Almighty God and a fascinating journey. Each of his lectures, s I received this book from Netgalley for review and all thoughts and opinions are my own. After reading this delightful biography on the early years of C. S. Lewis's , I have gained an entirely new perspective on the man, his reading life, his likes and dislikes, and his own works. There are several factors that affected the boy , his education and philosophy that surprised and enlightened me. His path to Christianity was ordained by Almighty God and a fascinating journey. Each of his lectures, stories and tales are referenced quite deeply here and worthy of study.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Katrina Zartman

    "The story of his youth and its significance suggests the importance of this period of life for everyone." In this book, Becoming C.S. Lewis, the author focuses on the early formative years of Jack Lewis's life. What struck me most was the long-suffering and mercy of God that is displayed toward the proud and independent boy, youth, and young man.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Cristie Underwood

    This was an in depth look at the impact beloved author C.S. Lewis' younger years had on his later writing. I found out so many new facts about this author and enjoyed this immensely!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Biography focusing on C.S. Lewis' adolescence, schooling and reading habits.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Shelly

    So good.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Maudaevee

    This was an interesting biography, it focused on just the early (considered more formative) years of C.S. Lewis's life. It was well researched and I think a good view into those years.

  27. 5 out of 5

    George

  28. 4 out of 5

    Steve Mulligan

  29. 5 out of 5

    Richard Gemperline

  30. 4 out of 5

    J.W.

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