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And God Came in: The Extraordinary Story of Joy Davidman

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  125 ratings  ·  35 reviews
In this definitive biography of Joy Davidman, we read the real love story that the major motion picture, "Shadowlands," could not tell. Lyle Dorsett reveals Davidman's profound influence on C.S. Lewis's life and writings.

Helen Joy Davidman (1915-1960) was an American poet and writer, a radical communist, and an atheist until her conversion to Christianity in the late 1940s
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Hardcover, 189 pages
Published July 1st 2009 by Hendrickson Publishers (first published 1983)
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Average rating 3.97  · 
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Edward Waters
Aug 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was the first full-length biography ever published of Joy Davidman, who, though a noteworthy poet and author in her own right, would be most remembered as the wife of British scholar and author C.S. Lewis. The story of their marriage and of her tragic, premature death from cancer was already familiar to me from a number of sources, mostly focused on Lewis; yet I knew only generalities concerning Davidman's earlier life in America. AND GOD CAME IN does much to correct this and is built on ex ...more
Carlene Hill Byron
Jul 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faith, biography
A rare and exciting story about someone who discovered that God made more sense than dialectical materialism (Communism). The intellectual journey of Joy Davidman, the woman CS Lewis married, should be encouraging to any Christian who thinks they've met a person with impenetrable spiritual walls.
Tiffany
Aug 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-books
This was one of the most satisfying biographies that I have ever devoured. I laughed and I cheered for Joy - and I wanted to cry for her at times. The margins of my book are filled with penciled notes, because I simply couldn't help myself. Mr. Dorsett is a gifted writer. By the time I finished the book, it felt as if I'd actually met those whose lives have already been lived.

Since reading this book, I have an even greater respect for C.S Lewis and also a new-found one for his wife, Joy, whom I'
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Terri
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very quick read on Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis. It is a straightforward telling of how exactly Joy ended up in England meeting Lewis. And it is an honest look at her marriage to Bill Gresham and what transpired to lead to divorce.

I was struck by the lack of friends Joy found in Lewis's friends; she was met with suspicion that never went away. Her funeral was notable because of all Lewis's friends who refused to attend.

Lyle W. Dorsett manages to convey the utter sadness Lewis felt at J
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Rod Innis
Sep 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a very good book. Shirley and I are listening to an audiobook that is a novel about Joy
Davidman. I was wondering how much of that book was fiction and how much was actual history.
After reading this biography, I see that so much of the novel is true to the facts. I will comment on that more when we finish listening to it and I review it.
This is a well and interesting biography. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. There was much sadness in
the life of Joy Davidman, but there was also a great
...more
Jen Lof
Jun 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Because I had already read Lenten Lands by Douglas Gresham, I felt that much of what I read in this book was already known. However it was still a good read and I’d certainly recommend it. Clearly the wife of C.S. Lewis had extreme sharp intellect which attracted her to him in the first place. A unique love affair of two very gifted people who placed God first in their lives.
Mary Montgomery
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't know anything about Joy Davidman except that she married C. S. Lewis. As with most people, there was a lot more to it than that. This book was fascinating and so was she. It was very interesting to learn more about her and her life.
Jeannette
Oct 15, 2019 rated it liked it
After reading two biographies about Joy Davidman Lewis, this one was rather thin but did offer some insight into her growth as a Christian, and the attraction she held for Lewis as a friend, companion and wife.
Lisa Matheny
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
outstanding. loved the subject, loved the story, loved the writing.
Pam
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Enough detail to be worthwhile, but brief enough to sustain interest. Fascinating and thought-provoking!
LeeAnn
May 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short yet concise biography. I enjoyed reading about Joy’s life and marriage to CS Lewis. Very interesting!
Nancy
Yet another book recently read in my research of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis. Nice never-before-seen photos and more of Joy's personal words from letters and essays. I enjoyed every page.
Carol
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
an excellent biography of an amazing woman. She overcame so much, but her life only got better when she accepted Christ.
Edward Waters
Aug 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the first full-length biography ever published of Joy Davidman, who, though a noteworthy writer herself, would be most remembered as the wife of British scholar and author C.S. Lewis. The story of their marriage and of her tragic, premature death of cancer was already familiar to me from a number of sources, mostly focused on Lewis; yet I knew only generalities concerning Davidman's earlier life in America. Dorsett himself is not a flawless writer, but his work here is built on extensiv ...more
Auntie
Jan 19, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm only adding this because there is no despcription available on the site. I liked the book. I just didn't love it.

In late 1956 an item in the Times of London stunned England's literary set. Confirmed bachelor and celebrated Christian apologist C.S. Lewis announced his marriage to Joy Gresham. His choice could not have been more unlikely. Joy was American, a divorcee, an ex communist, and a former athiest. Yet this extraordinary and fascinating woman made a great impact on Lewis and his writin
...more
Patricia
May 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a fan of the movie "Shadowlands," I appreciated knowing the background of Joy Davidman Gresham, the wife of C.S. Lewis. Dorsett (the author) did extensive research and first person interviews with Joy's friends and family members to craft a comprehensive account of her life. This 150-page work first relates her childhood, youth experiences, and writing career as well as her concurrent journey from non-practicing Jew, to apostate, and then to passionate believer in Christ. Finally, it is a sto ...more
Ryan Linkous
Aug 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is another splendid biography from Lyle Dorsett. He masterfully tells a true narrative about the life of Joy Davidman while working from primary sources that no one else has used in publication (except there was a recent biography just published about Joy Davidman). This was the first biographic work on Joy Davidman.

Dorsett does not mask over Davidman's flaws, yet has an overall positive assessment of her. He also tells Christian biography well: he's not afraid to speak of the workings of G
...more
Kat Coffin
Aug 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Completely fascinating. I've read "Lenten Lands" and most Lewis biographies have a good deal to say about Ms. Gresham. I've seen her as a mother, a wife, a lover--but never as her own person. I found that I related quite a bit to her, especially her strong desire to prove herself to her overly critical father and her tenaciousness. I definitely would like to read some of Ms. Davidman's works and learn more about her.
Clara Roberts
Mar 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a fascinating biography of one of the great minds of the previous gneration. I read her book Smoke on the Mountain many years ago. This commentary on the Ten Commandment was an excellent read. This book shows her progression from a bohemian, to a communist, to a commiteed Christian. Joy Davidman's I.Q. was off the charts. She was brillant but rather impatient with those of lesser intellectual ability.
Mickie
Nov 26, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting chronicles of the live of Joy Davidman. It gave me insight of the time period of when she lived. I am planning to look up some of the books mentioned that she and C.S. Lewis wrote. I would recommend it. It was a different read than some of the other books I have read, but that is what I love about book club.
Rebecca Foutz
It took me forever to actually finish reading this book, yet it is an interesting glimpse of C.S. Lewis's life from a completely different perspective. The book is about Joy Davidman Gresham, who was C.S. Lewis's wife for a few brief years. But even though it is about her, it also includes C.S. Lewis and the influence they had in each other's life. Good book.
SallyStenger
This book is a biography of Joy Davidman, C.S. Lewis' wife. It will be mainly of interest to C.S. Lewis fans who want to know everything they can find about him. It is a fairly short, readable biography that presents a complete account of Joy from birth through death. C.S. Lewis fans will be especially interested in its account of how she met him.
Kathy
Apr 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading about the life of Joy Davidman, wife of C S Lewis, was inspiring and refreshing! I love her spunk, genius and transformation from material atheist to Communist to Christian. God came into a life once again in a marvelous way. Every time I hear about His faithfulness to change hearts, it brings joy to my soul!
Sarah
Jan 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent read. The writing wasn't amazing, but I love the story of Joy Davidman's life. Dorsett does a great job presenting her as a person instead of a saint, and the story of her relationship with C.S. Lewis is romantic and lovely.
Amy J. Whetten
This is subtitled: An Extraordinary Love Story
Joy Davidman
Her Life & Marriage to C.S. Lewis
This is a biography recommended by her son, Douglas Gresham. I am fascinated by this woman of courage and intellect who finally achieved faith, who won the devotion of one of my heroes, C.S. Lewis.
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Dianne
Feb 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
Developmental Psychologists would love this book. Nature vs. Nurture indeed. Fascinating and repelling personal history of the unlikely future Mrs. C. S. Lewis. Her childhood as an Atheist Jew, Socialist, active Communist and where her complicated life took her, good and bad.
Stacy
Jun 20, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating glimpse of a life I tend only to think of as it relates to that of C. S. Lewis. Dorsett's biography of Joy Davidman Lewis transforms her from being a prop in Lewis' story to a person in her own right.
Kris
Jan 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faith
Story of C.S. Lewis' marriage to Joy Gresham. Fascinating account of their history together and unlikely but beautiful marriage.
Michael
Interesting to hear Joy Davidman's testimony and learn more about her relationship with C.S. Lewis
Barb Terpstra
I would actually give this a 3.5 - very interesting story about the woman CS Lewis married, and her own journey from communism to Christianity. She was uber smart!
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Lyle W. Dorsett received his B.A. in history (1960) and M.A. in history (1962) from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and his Ph.D. in history from the University of Missouri-Columbia (1965). He began his teaching career at the University of Missouri, moving briefly to the Univ. of Southern California and University of Colorado at Denver, before he joined the history department at the Univer ...more

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