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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

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  456 Ratings  ·  34 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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Sep 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A book about Lewis and Davidman, narrated with much love...
Gresham is Davidmans son, he meets as a child C. S. Lewis and his brother Warnie at the Kilns.
The book narrates his experiences during this time....
Later on, Davidman married Lewis, and soon after that became seriously ill and died.
So, yes, I recommend this book to all who love Lewis and his literary work!!!
I particularly loved the way how Gresham managed in his book to dismantle the legend who was C. S. Lewis presenting us "the man" beh
Kelsey Bryant
May 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
Although someone might enter the pages of this book expecting to learn a lot about C. S. Lewis, it's not really meant for that. This is subtitled "My childhood with Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis," and its focus is Douglas Gresham, Lewis's younger stepson. As such, it's an interesting though somewhat peripheral piece of the C. S. Lewis biographical canon. But it does include important insights into Lewis's family life. I enjoyed learning about Lewis's and Douglas's relationship, as well as the rela ...more
Mar 14, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Apr 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
(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
Apr 27, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Nov 30, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Apr 11, 2010 rated it it was ok
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.
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
Another perspective on the marriage of Joy Davidman (Douglas Gresham's mother) and C.S. Lewis. Douglas suffered from the British public school system, and wasn't able to get in touch with emotions of any kind until he met Merry, his future wife; and for some reason, his older brother appears to have been almost non-existent in his life. I would like to know more about that. He confesses to being selfish and self centered in his relationships with Jack and Warnie after his mother's death, but at ...more
Hilary Forrest
Jan 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recently we were privileged to meet Douglas Gresham in Greenville and to hear him speak. He was fascinating to listen to and so I also enjoyed reading this book about growing up with his mother and CS Lewis. I think he is a great story teller and he even shared some of the same stories live with us, almost 25 years later after writing this book.

I find it interesting that he shares little to no information regarding his brother in Lenten Lands. I wonder what happened to him?
Oct 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Written by CS Lewis' step-son Lenten Lands is the book that inspired the movie about Lewis' life "Shadowlands." I found this book to be very moving and informative as it allowed me to become more immersed into the person of one of the great apologists of the 20th century.
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A "biography" of the Lewis family from the viewpoint of an adopted son. Very interesting insights and family details.
Mar 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
"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
Jan 29, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
Feb 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 25, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Jul 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
Apr 17, 2011 rated it liked it
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.
Nov 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'm not a great fan of autobiographies, but this one I found really moving.

Mind, it's not really about C.S. Lewis, but rather about a boy, whom he influenced in a profound way.

I really liked Doug's honesty and self-irony. This memoir was wise and heartwarming in many ways (but heartbreaking as well).

Jun 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Douglas Gresham, the stepson of CS Lewis, wrote this book about the love story between his Mom, Joy Davidman, and CS Lewis. He provides details about Lewis' eccentric brother, and some good quotes by Lewis. My favorite was on page 131: "It is not important to succeed, but to do right. The rest is up to God."
Apr 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bio-memoir
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.
Feb 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Nov 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
Mar 30, 2014 rated it liked it
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.
Oct 22, 2007 rated it liked it
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.
Mar 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
Douglas is not as interesting as his famous parents. Being the child and step-child of writers does not make one a writer, nor does it seem to confer special insight in his case.
Sep 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Very little new information on the CS Lewis/Gresham family, was definitely expecting more.
Aug 01, 2011 rated it liked it
A touching remembrance by the son of Joy Davidman on how is mother met and married C.S. Lewis
Dec 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
A powerfully written, insightful, and moving autobiography. Gresham inherited much from his mother and stepfather.
Sep 01, 2007 rated it it was ok
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.
Deborah Arvin
Jan 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Great story of C.S. Lewis from the viewpoint of his stepson.
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  • All My Road Before Me: The Diary of C. S. Lewis, 1922-1927
  • Smoke on the Mountain: An Interpretation of the Ten Commandments
  • 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
  • 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 Quotable Lewis
  • The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C.S. Lewis
  • The Inklings: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, and Their Friends
  • Not a Tame Lion: The Spiritual Legacy of C.S. Lewis
  • C.S. Lewis: A Biography
Gresham was the son of writers William Lindsay Gresham and Joy Davidman. After his parents' divorce in 1954, he relocated to England with his mother and elder brother. Joy later married author C.S. Lewis, whom adopted Joy's two sons.
More about Douglas Gresham...