Ryan Mishap's Reviews > The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
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Nov 14, 2008

did not like it
bookshelves: young-adult-fantasy

I had fond memories of this from when I read it as a child, so when I spied my neighbour's complete collection, I thought I would give them a go. I didn't read much fantasy when young, save for Lord of the Rings and these, but I've been reading a hell of a lot after I turned thirty. So, I look upon this with an adult's eye and pronounce it garbage.
I missed all the religious connotations when younger, but they are more obvious now. The story is paltry, the writing is twee (borrowed that from a critic at the New Yorker), and it is sparse, especially compared to the grand epics of modern writers, or, even when they don't create epics, the details and creativity of modern fantasy writers.
I won't say it is child abuse to give this to your kids, but try to avoid Narnia.
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message 12: by Elvishmaiden (new) - added it

Elvishmaiden Garbage?!?!?! What the hell is that supposed to mean? C.S. Lewis does a wonderful job in his writing, his plots, his characters. The whole story is intrieging and gives you a feeling that you couldn't possibly set the book down.

'Try to avoid Narnia' That is complete bull!
Narnia is a wonderful land to visit. Every book leaves you longing for more. Narnia is a world worth visiting!

message 11: by Ryan (new) - rated it 1 star

Ryan Mishap Hiya,
Thanks for the thoughts. Everybody has different likes and dislikes. It would be a pretty boring world if everybody liked the same things.
I can only suggest that you come back to the Narnia books in ten or twenty years and see if they are as good as you remember. Twenty five years after I first read them--during which what I have read has expanded in different directions and covered a lot of literary ground--I tried to read them again. I don't think they hold up, unlike, say, The Lord of the Rings.
Talk to ya later.


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

This review made me giggle. Sorry, but that's the truth. "Try to avoid Narnia," oh dear, I feel myself starting to crack up again...by all means, avoid the quality literature of which there is such a lack in modern culture, and steer your children towards something that will give them significantly less fond childhood memories. And young adult memories, I might add, having read the series approximately twelve times since the age of ten. Anyway, I hope you don't take this as a personal attack, but your review is quite funny.

message 9: by Ryan (new) - rated it 1 star

Ryan Mishap Hi,
Thanks for dropping by and saying your piece. Check my reply to the other poster--to each their own.

I don't have children and won't have children, but I wouldn't suggest that any child read poorly written religious propaganda.

message 8: by Shannon (new)

Shannon I found your review helpful in deciding whether or not to pick this up. I generally steer clear of anything with religious intent but couldn't deny the glowing reviews. However I was concerned that most of them were based on the readers' impressions of the book from when they were children themselves. As an adult I appreciated hearing a review from someone who read this book as an adult, especially one who stated they had previously enjoyed it as a child. I think that although the religious undertones could easily be overlooked by a child, they are not likely something I'm going to be able to see past. So, thank you.

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

Ryan Mishap Thanks for taking the time to comment. I will say something I wish I put in the original review: I wouldn't recommend this to children but I think adults who read fantasy should read the first couple Narnia books. It won't take you very long and it is important to know just how bad they are compared to modern stuff--and also how enticing they could be to young people and those nostalgic for "simpler times." Western literature is heavily influenced by Christianity and their Bible--some of it quite beautiful and well worth anyone's time as long as we are adept at spotting the symbolism, outmoded belief structures, and able to place the work in historical relevance--and the Narnia books provide a good bad example of how not to do it.

I'll also say that the biggest reason not to read these is this: his penchant for addressing the reader with treacly reassurances. I can't believe the cynical youth of today will accept this which means the Narnia books will fade into history like 1950's television.

Shannon wrote: "I found your review helpful in deciding whether or not to pick this up. I generally steer clear of anything with religious intent but couldn't deny the glowing reviews. However I was concerned th..."

Janice my introduction to these books was through the animated special (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfm_qt...), which, if i remember correctly, goes easy on the religious stuff. but maybe i should watch it again before making that claim. it's also badly animated, but i loved it so much. i read this book because of it, but i was so bored when i tried to read the rest. i can't imagine trying to read them now.

message 5: by Craven (last edited Dec 07, 2012 04:20AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Craven Quite a shitstorm you've stirred up here, Mr. Mishap. Personally, I'm only frustrated at you mentioning "treacly reassurances" without providing an example. Not because I respect the internet enough to expect one to put a whole lot of research into a simple review on goodreads, but simply because I am curious and not enough to read the books because I trust, on the evidence I have and what you've said, that they suck. I'm being long-in-the-tooth for the sake of being long-in-the-tooth. But I am curious.

@Janice: I loved the voices of the beavers in that special.

Pardon me, for it is late and I am drunk.

Janice i just watched it again because i'm sick and it seemed like a good idea. yeah, the beavers! i forgot they were name he-beaver and she-beaver, though. also, whoever played the queen made some interesting choices. i couldn't stop thinking, though, that every single character is animated as if they had just broken their hips.
more pertinent to this conversation, it still felt like the religion was toned down quite a bit, and that's the version of the story that i know.

message 3: by Ryan (new) - rated it 1 star

Ryan Mishap Oh, don't worry, dear Craven, for it isn't as bad as it seems and there's no reason to be frightened.

Janice i love that my mind read "for it is as bad as it seems and there's reason to be frightened."

Hannah Your right about the youth not accepting this garbage now. I don't and I can't see why they did back then.

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