Over the weekend I finished reading "Letters to an American Lady" by CS Lewis.
It was a fantastic read. It is a collection of letters sent to a lady in America tracking a 13 year correspondence history.
It was great for what it offered. It is a glimpse into the thoughts and personality of Jack. There is no urgency from a publishing deadline or edits for appeal; the urgency is concern for a friend and the words are from the heard.
The letters start out fairly polite and reserved. As the time passes and the normal personal barriers are passed he shifts from CS Lewis to Jack. What struck me the most is how very personable (common?) he was. "Mere Christianity" certainly shows his ability to express complex ideas in normal language; I don't think it struck me how much he lived in normal language. "Practical" comes to mind, but I'm not sure why.
My other lingering thought was how much this was the exact opposite of "The Screwtape Letters". These were real letters with no agenda, sharing true concerns with a friend. TSL is a great book but fabricated, perverted to hide the truth (and to a point of revealing the absurd as CSL intended), between snivelling demons.
It is a light read that I didn't want to end. It was painful to read of Joy's cancer, remission and then the final recurrence that claimed her time here. There are many points of humor and many points of vulnerability. I didn't want it to end because for a moment I felt like I could spy into the friendship and CSL was alive.