Saturday, October 13, 2012

As One Devil to Another by Richard Platt

I knew someone, sooner or later, would imitate C. S. Lewis and his classic Screwtape Letters. I remember reading Screwtape Letters (a couple of times). I then listened to a recording of the book by John Cleese. I was amazed! The voice inflection, the snarls, etc. The book came alive to me.
It was with that prior experience I listened to a recording of As One Devil to Another. What a disappointment. There was not that clever use of voice I expected. Listening to it was a little boring in places.
And that brings up the content of the book. The letters are from the senior devil to his nephew, a junior devil, just getting into the temptation game, so to speak. So we get only one side of the interaction. To make that work, the senior devil painstakingly recounts the events in which the junior devil participates.
As I recall, Lewis did this in a clever way. He did not have the senior devil merely retell the event. By clever use of statements, the actions of the event were implied, while not flat out retold. Unfortunately, Platt did not use that clever way of communicating. He just had the senior devil retell each event, and that was rather boring.
Another issue I had with the book was the temptations involved. As I recall, Lewis was clever at identifying pride, avarice, sloth, etc. as areas to which temptation should be aimed. This made Lewis' book timeless. It can be read by any generation.
This book seemed to address more current, cultural areas of temptation. Television is addressed, as is homosexuality. Rather than concentrating on timeless temptations, Platt seems to have limited himself to current considerations.
I am not going to take the time to go into the theology of the book. But I did find it rather odd that devils eat each other. But then, after all, this is fiction.

If you have not read (or listened to) Screwtape Letters, you might be totally satisfied with this book and really enjoy it. If you are a real fan of C. S. Lewis, you might be disappointed.

Go here to watch a video and see the publisher's product page.

Tyndale House Publishers, 208 pages.

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