Kenny's Reviews > The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
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's review
Nov 07, 2011

did not like it
Recommended to Kenny by: Waaaaay too many people
Recommended for: Nobody
Read in January, 2005 , read count: 1

I am tempted to give this book a zero but the idea of going through the wardrobe to another land is fantastic. Everything else, however, is not fantastic, including:

The over-the-top Christian allegory.
The complete absence of dramatic tension - the characters are static and the conclusion is foregone. There is nothing to keep you reading, to challenge you, or to even vaguely interest you.
The writing is mediocre at best.
The dialogue is mediocre at best.

Awful book, it as if someone read Matthew through John, and then said these four gospels are good but it would take a master writer to retell them with talking animals and have it be worse to the point of complete boredom.
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Reading Progress

02/19 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-28 of 28) (28 new)

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message 1: by Erica (new)

Erica Oh, Kenny. You have to read these things *before* you know they are Christian Allegories. It helps, for example, to be a Tiny Child, delighted with talking animals, and thrilled with the idea of Portals To Another World. Also, I really really liked the bit where Father Christmas shows up and has special presents for everybody, but that's of a piece with being fascinated with world-building, things with moving pieces, and tailored-gift-giving (especially if the gifts are magical.)

Prince Caspian has an awesome bit where they're raising an army and recruiting trees and there's a party and all the trees are eating *dirt*...but the descriptions make it sound like *really awesome delicious dirt*.

Other Things Of Note: The first book, The Magician's Nephew, is about the creation of Narnia as a world, and bits of it are very similar to the opening of Silmarillion (with biblical echoes in both, obviously).

Susan ends up getting sort-of banned from Narnia because she "grows up" too much (ie, has forgotten Narnia and is more interested in Make Up and Boys than in the imaginary world she saw as a kid). There's really great essay someone wrote on how this is super unfair called "The Problem of Susan."

I hated The Last Battle. I still hadn't worked out that it was an Allegory at the time, but I hated it anyway because it was THAT OBNOXIOUS.

Kenny why did you read more than one of these books(I barely finished 2)/how dare you compare the Silmarillion and Narnia?

message 3: by Erica (new)

Erica IT'S JUST THAT THEY BOTH STARTED THEIR WORLDS WITH SINGING. No comparison, otherwise. Also, I think it's interesting because they were...huh, just looked this up. I guess they were friends, but Tolkien didn't care for Narnia. Anyway, mutual influence, and I kind of wonder if the Music Creates The World thing was a broader theological metaphor or if it was something they'd talked about or what. (I'm sure there are books out there on this.)

Nathaniel Kenny I am so very disappointed in the manner of how you interpret this imaginative story. You would say, imagination in this story is pointless. You are wrong. It is the very imagination of this story that makes it what it to so many, inspirational. The world in which we live has set the idea that imagination is pointless. Our society is very harsh and difficult. In some cases there is nothing left for people hope for in the literal world, so they turn to dreams and imagination. So, when you say that "the conclusion is foregone," it is obvious were only reading words, and not ideas. You saw this book as black and white lettering on pages, which is why you have failed to agree with thousands of believers in dreams, that this book is a story for the multitudes to give people the world which they could not otherwise have. Others should read this book for themselves and then decide whether or not to agree with you and read the words, or imagine and believe the ideas.

message 5: by Guy (last edited May 24, 2015 08:40AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Guy Thank you, thank you, thank you! I laughed at the absolute correctness of your description, Kenny. And I laughed because it is nice to see that I am not the only person on the planet who thought this to be basically a horribly written thinly disguised propaganda. Even as a child, when I tried reading it 4 or 5 times because of the appearance of imagination in it, I didn't like that it felt contrived. Now, an adult, I would say this was a thinly disguised deus ex machina.

Sarah Why would you think that this was a bad book? I thought it was fantastic!!

message 7: by Guy (new) - rated it 1 star

Guy Ah, Sarah, why indeed? For individuals to be unique and, well, individual, means a diversity of likes. And why diversity at all? Well, that's a lot tougher to answer, but it seems that diversity is a pre-condition of being born into the natural world.

Sarah Speak English

Sarah Please

message 10: by Guy (last edited Jan 19, 2013 09:01PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Guy From your library I'm guessing you are young, Sarah. It has taken me 50 years to learn English, and I'm still learning. So, with as much gentleness as I can muster in the hard cold format that written words confer, continue to learn English. It is perhaps the most difficult of all languages to learn, but is also in many ways the most dance-able. You have the opportunity to learn to make it soar with the bravest of eagles, or lay dormant as the most active of sloths. LoL. I love the English language, how it can be made to be anything. Which is maybe why I didn't like the Narnia books: they made English drivel.

Sarah Sorry I didn't know

message 12: by Guy (new) - rated it 1 star

Guy No problem. English is a lifelong adventure.

Sarah I know

Sarah It took me a while to learn it to I was 4 years when I finally learned who to speak correctly

Sarah I mean TOO

Jamie Whitehurst I think it's important to remember that these books were written with children in mind....what appeals to their young minds may not exactly appeal to that of someone more mature. I don't think it means we should judge the whole series as crap. My nieces and nephews are very young and these books are exactly what appeals to their little imaginations...anything that can encourage little kids to enjoy reading I'm all for.

message 17: by Drew (new) - rated it 5 stars

Drew Graham False. Everyone's entitled to an opinion, but yours is wrong. Sorry!

message 18: by Rudi (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rudi Bracaglia So we have Guy who is literally so sanctimonious that he has dubbed himself the Master of All That is English and of Everything In Between and then we have the rest of the half wits trashing Narnia, a children's series, because of its Christian overtones. To which I give a hearty and with aplomb "piss off".

message 19: by Rudi (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rudi Bracaglia If you don't like something written by someone who Tolkien considered a friend and colleague and you can't appreciate the good such stories teach children then really why do you bother at all?

message 20: by Romanempire (new) - added it

Romanempire Drew, you are an idiot. Sorry but that is true.

message 21: by Drew (new) - rated it 5 stars

Drew Graham HA HA, nice one. And actually completely untrue. Thanks for contributing absolutely nothing to the conversation!

message 22: by Romanempire (new) - added it

Romanempire And thank you for wasting my time. I just feel bad for the people in your life.. Good day!

message 23: by Drew (new) - rated it 5 stars

Drew Graham You're welcome, and there's really no need.

Thanks again for your contribution of nothing! But at least you managed to use some punctuation this time, nice to know you're actually capable of that.

Sonia This is a book that was written for children, and here we have adults analyzing it as if the story was meant for them to criticize. This is a fairy tale, with dwarfs and witches and animals that can speak. You can either be enchanted if you let go of your practical mindset, or disenchanted if you approach it as a jaded adult that can only grasp reality and adult situations. Obviously, C.S. Lewis is not your thing, and I am not going to debate that, but I strongly disagree with you when you say that his writing is mediocre at best. That's not even a matter of opinion in that case, is writing is far from mediocre, I am dumbfounded by that comment of yours!

Andrew Obrigewitsch This is a kids story, I'm sure you don't feel the same magic from it as an adult.

Zachariah This is a children's story, so obviously you wouldn't enjoy it as much

Maddie the bookworm .....How is the writing mediocre? The plot was so layered too me.

Hannah "...the conclusion was foregone."

The best books don't need a conclusion. The best readers don't need one, either.

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