The Screwtape Letters The Screwtape Letters discussion


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what age is this book for?

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Hannah I was just wondering if I should read this book or not. How easy is it to understand?


Leah I read it this past summer at thirteen. It's a bit confusing at times, but overall, a very interesting read. That said, you'll want to read for longer periods of time (at least in my own experience) to really get into it.


Leslie I read it in college, and liked it very much, but it was still a stiff read.


Leah I'll probably end up rereading it when I'm older, but there was a stage production of it where I live, and I wanted to read the book first.


LindaJ^ I could never get into the book but then I happened upon the audible version and loved it. The narrator provided just what was needed to hold my attention. The book is definitely worth reading (or listening to). I think it is more a function of reading ability than age, as it is a bit dense in print.


Hannah Ok, thanks all!!


Sherri Moorer I won't lie - non-fiction by Lewis is usually a tough read. We read this book in our Sunday School class a few years ago, and our teacher had to do a pretty through "break down" for most of the class - and it's an adult class!


Stephen It is very much to Lewis' credit that he wrote an allegory which can be enjoyed by younger readers on one level and also speak to fully mature readers on another. Not every writer can do that. It is not at all unusual to hear someone say they have read this book three or four different times over a lifetime and found something quite new each time.


Barb You can understand when read as a younger person, but you will feel it when you are older. Religious hypocrisy is something you develop as you age. You will see yourself in the potential converts to the dark side, as described by Lewis, more so as you get older.


Robert How easy is this book to understand. Well that really depends on the person more than the book. The ability to understand satire and allegory is important in the understanding of this book. There are many levels of understand this as well. The young reader can get things from it as well as a more developed reader. You will most likely read it more than one or twice.


Carrie P I read this as a teen & even then was able to appreciate its satirical, allegorical, clever POV. I grew up on all things CS Lewis & loved this book almost as much as his Chronicles of Narnia. Easy to understand & even better if read more than once.


message 12: by Moonlight (last edited Mar 14, 2013 10:06AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Moonlight I think I read this during my college years. I found it age appropriate. By then you have fallen in love, got busy with work and school and met a wide range of people from the very religious, the unreligous, the religous hypocrites and th religious egomaniacs. I also thought it was like the creative writing assignments that I use to do in high school. I loved seeing what a talented writer would do with the same format.


message 13: by Beth (new) - rated it 5 stars

Beth I read it in college and didn't much like it at that time. Hard to read and couldn't relate. Read it again in a Sunday school class in my 50's. Totally related to it and found it a genius piece of writing.


message 14: by DJ (new) - rated it 5 stars

DJ I read Screwtape letters a while back and loved it. I recommend you read a letter at a time, this will give you time to understand what you read. It can be a little hard to grasp all at once.


Laura I first read it in college but I get more out of it with each passing decade.


Daren IMO it's better to have read this book after you've had a chance to experience most of the situations in the stories... you always hear people saying they live "good enough" of a life... this book punched me square in the face and let me know why all those things i considered to be good enough were still actually the wrong choices... i'd say at least 17-18 to read for any worth...


Andrea Tome I read the original version at age 17, being a Spanish-speaker, and I understood it quite well. If you have a minimum of knowledge about Christian religion (or religion, actually), it is really easy to understand.


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

Nan This is not a children's book and it requires some understanding of Christianity. I was at or nearly 40 when I read this book and it really opened my eyes to Satan's work and perspective in the lives of Christians today and from all time. If you are a believer and serious about living out your life for God this book will fascinate you and develop you further in your spiritual maturity. This is not a boring read for the maturing in both age and spirituality. It is fascinating.


Juan Pablo I read it two years ago when I was 18 and I really got it. Since I studied at a catholic school I had some knowledge about religion so I didn't have any problem understanding the book.


Michael Morris I found this post interesting as I have been working on something about this book today. I have been teaching English for a few years, and I still could not tell you how easy or hard the book is. As you can see from some of the posts here, you have people reading it and "getting it" at an early age, and many who have been experienced readers who are lost struggling through it.

I will give you the advice I give to most people when it comes to reading Lewis, particularly this book: Make a real attempt to get through it. Whatever comes of that attempt, read the book again in a couple of years. I don't think it is a matter of maturity (though it helps), but it is a book that has to meet us on our journey to have any impact on us. (And it isn't necessary for it to teach us lessons. If so, great. If not, okay.)


Amber Skantz I read it in high school-as an FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) Huddle leader. So I felt like I had a pretty strong Christian foundation. I re-read parts of it in college, and will get around to reading it again. I liked the POV alot. The subject matter will mean different things at different times in life, but the overall text itself isn't really hard to chew on or difficult to wade through. The content will eventually sink in with time if it doesn't immediately.


message 22: by Don (new) - rated it 5 stars

Don McGraw Wonderful book. I'm a little rusty on the details but I recall that once I realized Screwtape was the devil all else fell together.


message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

I don't know if I could give it an age. It is very useful in my personal walk with Christ. I would just tell others to prepare themselves reading this with a "focused" mind. For me, it was easy to become distracted.


message 24: by Fola (new) - rated it 5 stars

Fola I would say that about mid-teens is a good age. I listened to the audiobook version and found it quite easy to understand and I also own the book.


message 25: by Wm. Scott (new)

Wm. Scott Conway I read Screwtape the first time in my early twenties, and got it. And I am dumb as a bag of rocks.


message 26: by Naomi (new) - added it

Naomi Depending on faith and maturity level, probably late high school (junior or senior grades). College may be best to start reading this book.


message 27: by Rony (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rony Fagundes Know your Bible before diving into Screwtape mind. Otherwive, it sounds just like gibberish.
In reality, this book is profoundly profused with irony towards the way we see the spiritual warfare. It is comic in the way it portrait us as weak believers, also as how silly we take into consideration that sometimes we are "ignorant of his devices", unfortunately. (2 Corinthians 2:11)


Kirstyn Martinez I loved this book & definitely believe it is worth pushing through!! But to be honest, I had to sit with a dictionary in one hand the first time I read it...


message 29: by Jennifer (last edited Sep 13, 2013 11:29AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jennifer It is a very good book, there are elements of it that really made an impression on me even years later. But it is a mature read.

That being said, it's a "backwards" sort of book. It's point of view is from a senior demon (not a cutesy Paranormal Romance sort!) coaching a junior demon as he is working to guide his human victim into the Kingdom of Hell. You need to know up front that the author is writing from the exact opposite of his true intention. C.S. Lewis was quite literally playing the "devil's advocate" in every sense of the phrase. That can be quite a shock if you're not prepared for it.

It is made a little more challenging by using Brit-speak of the 1940s vintage (I'd recommend using a Nook or Kindle where you can tap words for their meaning.)

Good luck!


Jennifer Focus on the Family did a Radio drama of it with Andy Serkis (Gollum from LOTR) doing the voice of Screwtape. It was crazy-good. Might be a good way to first meet the characters!


message 31: by Dina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dina Keratsis I enjoyed it in college and again after watching the Millenium episode about Frank's interactions with a demon ("Somehow Satan Got Behind Me"). Have no idea if that episode was inspired by the book but the similarities are lovely.


Marks54 I read it long ago in high school and had no trouble "getting" most of the content. Having reread it multiple times since then, I will admit that perhaps I did not really understand the book as well as I thought I did - but that is OK. It is one of the best written books ever and is a wickedly funny satire as well. Most of the most important issues in the book are as relevant today as they were in the early 1940s. The syllable count is a bit high, but there is little in the book that is too hard to navigate with some focus. (The audio versions are really wonderful too.) ... and if you are a young reader, you will find few comparable examples of how to take a radically different point of view in analyzing a situation than what Lewis does in giving us Screwtape.


message 33: by Nadia (new) - added it

Nadia I'm such a huge Lewis fan. I read this a few years back, and I found it relatively easy to understand. Sure some of the terminology can seem a bit old-fashioned and out-of-date, but it's still worth taking the effort to read.


Charity I had no problem engaging with the book as a 12 year old-but for these reasons:
1) I came with a strong Christian background, well-tutored in Christian doctrine and confirmed by choice-mine, not my parents'.
2 I understood it was an allegory
3 I was moderately well-read. Didn't own a phone I was checking every 3 minutes.
It's not hard, but it is thought-provoking.


Sophie I read it with 14. I don´t think its a hard book, but sometimes a bit confusing, if you agree with the devil or just because it seems old-fashioned.
And sometimes i have to lay it by the side and just overthing what i´ve read.

Altough: it´s great (: and opened my eyes to some things.
And on my mind, not only for catholics, because most of the catholic values are general values. For example familiy or love.


Cheryl Scott I read it in my late teens, but I could have understood it when I was younger. This is a great book, and I would recommend it to readers 14 and up.


message 38: by Doug (new) - rated it 4 stars

Doug This is a really good book to try in audio book format. I enjoyed it much more that way, as opposed to actually reading it.


David Screwtape is a great book that will cause you to think. I think a mature high school student could profit from it, yet as a 50-something man, I pick it up from time to time to read a letter or two in it. I think it is one of those books that you do well to read several times in your life. As one other commenter noted, read a letter at a time. What I did/do was place the book at my nightstand, and read one letter at a time before I fell asleep at night. That was profitable.


Ericka Scott Nelson This is an amazing book. It is not long, but if you are apprehensive, just read a letter at a time and just spend some time digesting it and thinking about it. The main thing to keep in mind as far as understanding it is that Screwtape is a demon (but not Lucifer), so when he refers to the Enemy, that's God. Basically, the premise of the book is that we each have a tempter demon, the opposite of a guardian angel. His goal is to sidetrack us from faith by whatever means necessary, but often very subtle and clever means, such that the "patient" (the human being tempted) doesn't think anything's amiss. Sometimes Christians speak of spiritual warfare and this book imagines that from the demon's perspective.


Steven It's a great book and I would recommend reading it more than once or twice. Every time you read it you'll get more out of it. Read it once a year and decide for yourself.


Caitlin I read this in high school and really enjoyed it. I think that probably ages 14+ would really enjoy it. I think that probably everyone could learn something from it.


message 43: by Rose (new) - rated it 3 stars

Rose I would recommend this for a middle school or high school student. I read it in middle school without issue. If anything Screwtape and Wormwood are a hoot.


message 44: by Josiphine/Tessa (new)

Josiphine/Tessa I'm 18 and I read it no problems whatsoever. However, then I went to a stage production the next day and when speaking with the actor afterwards, mentioned that I'd just read it. He looked surprised. "Isn't it a difficult book?" he asked. He was at least thirty. I think it's probably different for everybody.

It's very philosophical--there are long passages about Christian life and doctrine. If you're not sure you want to read it I would try listening to the Focus on the Family adaptation. It's radio drama and very close to the book.


message 45: by Val (new) - added it

Val I read it at fourteen without trouble-- I found it both funny and thought provoking. While I can't remember, I probably chatted with my parents about it some.


message 46: by Val (new) - added it

Val * Oops. Why is this discussion being revisited? It's two years old. Sorry all.


message 47: by Mary (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mary I would say it is more for young adults.


message 48: by Gary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Gary Ross-Jordan Totally stunning book to me! It is talking about the battle raging arounda new christian so if you don't know much about the faith I can see that some things could be hard to pick up on. However as someone who loves allegory (and writes allegory) and is also a christian I took a lot of lessons from this. Lewis is not everyone's cup of tea but he's so good at highlighting the reality behind the struggles. Try "Mere Christianity" by Lewis if you want straighter talk.


Pandemo I read it as part of my college religion course requirements in a religious college. I thought it was hilarious...


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