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Lenten Lands: My Childhood with Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis
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Lenten Lands: My Childhood with Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  308 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Including the True Story of the Remarkable Love Affair between Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis

There has probably never been a less likely couple: she, an American divorcee and the mother of two young boys; he, an Oxford don and confirmed bachelor who inhabited an eccentric household with his brother, a retired Royal Army major. Yet the relationship of C. S. Lewis and Joy Davi
Paperback, 256 pages
Published November 25th 2003 by HarperOne (first published 1988)
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The first three fourths of the book I found very interesting, since the information contained therein is indeed Gresham's childhood memories of his time observing his mother, Jack Lewis, Warnie, and life at the Kilns. The last one fourth, however, after the adults have passed away and Gresham relates his own life experiences somewhat disassociated from his time as a youth in proximity to Oxford, I found slightly less interesting.

Still, a solid read for the type of people who carry a fascination
"Here the whole world (stars, water, air
And field, and forest, as they were
Reflected in a single mind)
Like cast off clothes was left behind
In ashes, yet with hopes that she,
Re-born from holy poverty,
In lenten-lands, hereafter may
Resume them on her Easter Day." (Inscription on Joy's grave)

Douglas Gresham tells the story of C.S. Lewis and Joy Davidman as only he can: as the little boy that watched them fall in love. He makes himself quite clear, however: this is as much his story, as it is a biog
Memoir by a fellow who happened to be the stepson of C.S. Lewis, partly about Lewis while he was married to Joy, partly about Gresham's life. It's entertaining but he has kind of a florid writing style that I don't like, and there are flashes of cranky snobbery - how things have declined since socialism, railway strikes are "the small man's modern method of exerting power for power's sake", etc.

I gave up on this after Joy and C. S. Lewis both died and the griping about the sinister servants bega
(maybe 3.5 stars?) When Joy Davidman married C. S. Lewis, she made him stepfather to her two sons, David and Douglas. In this book, the latter attempts to tell the story of the marriage from his point of view. The writing style is a bit awkward, but still is readable. And the author seems to be quite honest as he tells his own story.
Some of the reviewers have objected to certain attitudes reflected in the book, however if you are at all aware of the place and the time, those views of the "lower
I wanted to like this. I really really did. It sparked a number of interesting discussions when Spring was reading it. And I really liked the early going. CS Lewis sounded like a fascinating, beautiful man.

I wish that politics and leanings didn't come into play in these sorts of things, and I don't want them to, but they totally do. I just couldn't get past the utter contempt the author held for the working class, always describing various railway workers and gardeners and whoever else as lazy a
I liked parts of this book. I enjoyed seeing the story of the the Lewis' love story fleshed out a bit. However, overall the tone was one of bitterness and the pacing was somewhat odd. It works as a personal, rambling memoir, but doesn't have a true story or overarching message or theme to it. It also is highly skewed to the author's own perspective. This makes sense as a memoir, but one would expect some kind of disclaimer to the effect of, "This is just how I experienced this," which is missing ...more
Gresham stresses the fact that this is a book about *his* life, not about CS Lewis'. "Jack" appears in the middle of the book, bracketed by tales from Gresham's childhood in America and adulthood in the Tasmanian bush. Gresham is not strictly speaking a writer, but he is a storyteller, and he has an amazing memory for details. The stories that he tells feel intimate, familiar in the sense of "belonging to a family." ("Remember that time when..?")

Fuller review to come, as they say.
Feb 22, 2009 Sara rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2009
This book was very interesting regarding Douglas Gresham's life and regarding his perspective on C.s. Lewis and Joy Davidman.

The only thing that I did not like about the book was the information he disclosed about Warnie (C.S. Lewis's brother) I didn't think it added to the book and was unfair to disclose to the general public. Even if he had mentioned the matter in more general terms I think it would have been better than portraying him in such a light. I was also grieved by his conduct in the
R. C.
Doug Gresham said not a single unbecoming word about his stepfather, and hardly anything about his brother, either, which really made me want to read the book Lewis' other stepson wrote. It also made the whole book seem like an unrealistic dream.

It was too clear that this book's only purpose was to give readers a glimpse into the life of a legend. It did not function as a glimpse into life in that era, or as a look at the family life of a successful author, or . . . really, anything except satis
Gresham is an excellent writer in his own right, but he idealises Jack and Joy's relationship, sometimes to an unbearable degree. What I also found off-putting is his uncharitable and one-sided depiction of several members of the Lewis household.
Linda Nichols
Good autobiography by C. S. Lewis's stepson.
Aug 26, 2014 Kim is currently reading it
Loving this book so far!
Biography of C.S. Lewis, concentrating on the latter part of his life, as told by his stepson. I found the book to be disappointing in its lack of insight into the subject, although this is likely because the author was a child at the time of the events he narrates, and hence was not able to understand everything that was happening. This book could interest the Lewis novice, but is unlikely to have much for someone who is already familiar with his biography.
Deborah Arvin
Great story of C.S. Lewis from the viewpoint of his stepson.
The first half was very interesting and you learn much of the authors early years. Sadly, very little is written about C.S.Lewis and Joy's lives together or at least I wanted to know more. The second half is a up to date tale of the authors life after the death if his Mother and Lewis. All in all, well written, just too much about the author (davidman) and not enough about the title characters.
3.5 stars. Continuing my obsession with all things C.S. Lewis, I enjoyed reading this autobiography/memoir of his stepson. The different perspective on things that happened in their shared life was interesting, and there were some parts of this book that were lol funny. However, there were also parts that sort of dragged. Overall, a good read, though.
Great read. It made me look at all of C.S. Lewis' works differently. Before I read this, I was not really a fan of any of the Narnia books, but now I have a much greater appreciation for them and all of his other works. Looking forward to reading more works by both Gresham and Lewis.
A wonderful look at Douglas Gresham's world as the step-son of C.S. Lewis. I thought it was well written and very honest. I wished it had told more about Jack but he made it very clear in Chapter One that this was his story. I look forward to reading his book Jack's Life.
I did finish the entire book............I thought it really wasn't that much about CS Lewis.....more about a young idealistic , all about me young man. And the writing left much to be desired. Alot of the same repeated in many of the chapters.
It was interesting to read about Lewis from such a different perspective. Gresham was very honest and forthright in his portrayal of himself and very believable in his description of Lewis.
Book by CS Lewis' stepson-abt his life before, during and after his mother's marriage to Lewis. Informative, rounding out the homelife as he remembers it. Something of a confessional.
Interesting read- mainly to get another look at C.S. Lewis' personal life from a child's perspective. I wasn't too fond of his writing style, but interesting content just the same.
A powerfully written, insightful, and moving autobiography. Gresham inherited much from his mother and stepfather.
A touching remembrance by the son of Joy Davidman on how is mother met and married C.S. Lewis
A really interesting viewpoint of Lewis' life with Joy.
Agnes marked it as to-read
Mar 29, 2015
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Pat Clark marked it as to-read
Mar 29, 2015
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mary perry marked it as to-read
Mar 28, 2015
Dennis A Doerer
Dennis A Doerer marked it as to-read
Mar 26, 2015
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  • All My Road Before Me: The Diary of C. S. Lewis, 1922-1927
  • Through the Shadowlands: The Love Story of C. S. Lewis and Joy Davidman
  • C.S. Lewis: A Biography
  • Jack: A Life of C.S. Lewis
  • The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C. S. Lewis
  • The Quotable Lewis
  • Christian Mythmakers: C.S. Lewis, Madeleine L'Engle, J.R.R. Tolkien, George MacDonald, G.K. Chesterton, Charles Williams, Dante Alighieri, John Bunyan, Walter Wangerin, Robert Siegel, and Hannah Hurnard
  • The Inklings: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, and Their Friends
  • Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. Lewis
  • Tolkien and C. S. Lewis: The Gift of a Friendship
Jack's Life: The Life Story Of C.S. Lewis The Narnia Cookbook: Foods from C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia Letters to Children A Grief Observed C. S. Lewis: The Story Teller

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