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Book: If I Had Lunch with C.S. Lewis


I call If I Had Lunch with C.S. Lewis a “semi-biography” because I cannot name a genre it truly belongs in. There’s some biographical information on Lewis as well as summaries of his literature. McGrath does some analysis of the history of Lewis’ time, and of Lewis’ effect on history. This is a book that’s hard to put in the right place on the shelf.



If I had lunch with C.S. Lewis, he’d probably be so horrified at my informal table manners that we would not get to any of the subjects in Alister McGrath’s new If I Had Lunch with C.S. Lewis. Then again, being deceased, Lewis may not care. As it is, we must settle for the imaginary luncheons envisioned in McGrath’s semi-biography.
I’m not sure quite what I expected here. Part of me expected If I Had Lunch with C.S. Lewis to be a fictionalized account of actual lunch meetings. That’s not what we have here, and I think I’m glad. That sounds like a good idea, but it would have required McGrath to reword Lewis’ actual words.
Instead, If I Had Lunch with C.S. Lewis takes quotes from Lewis’ writings and places these as answers to to major themes. These themes are seen throughout Lewis’ works, such as the importance of friendship or the need for education.
I liked this after I adapted to the changed expectation. It’s a friendlier intro to the life of Lewis than a straight-up biography. McGrath also weaves Lewis’ theology and literature together well in If I Had Lunch with C.S. Lewis. This one’s a win.

(Note: I did receive a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for the review.)

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