A Grief Observed
Written after his wife's tragic death as a way of surviving the "mad midnight moment," A Grief Observed is C.S. Lewis's honest reflection on the fundamental issues of life, death, and faith in the midst of loss. This work contains his concise, genuine reflections on that period: "Nothing will shake a man -- or at any rate a man like me -- out of his merely verbal thinking and his merely notional beliefs. He has to be knocked silly before he comes to his senses. Only torture will bring out the truth. Only under torture does he discover it himself." This is a beautiful and unflinchingly homest record of how even a stalwart believer can lose all sense of meaning in the universe, and how he can gradually regain his bearings.
Reviews of: A Grief Observed
As a college student I read every book by C.S. Lewis that I could get my hands on. He did a marvelous job of helping me make sense of the Christianity I grew up within a university setting, to see that the faith made intellectual sense. Among the many books I read was A Grief Observed, which was odd, since it has little to do with the issue as I described it above. To be sure, the book is full of theological observation, but of a much different variety.
In earlier works Lewis has written about God’s purpose for pain. His solution made sense, but in this book, he himself was put to the test. He suffered the greatest pain he had ever known, and his pat solution fell short. His reflections are intense and personal, and the reading of his book is challenging, if only because you get the sense you don’t belong in his journal.
Nevertheless, pushing through is of great value, even if you are not undergoing pain, as I was not at the time. For me it was an intellectual read. It is a good one, so I recommend it. But I can only imagine, and not recommend, that this book might be a godsend for someone who is going through grief. Grieving is not easy, so it may be worth a try.
This book had amazing insight into the world of grieving. I lost my mother a year ago and I found myself both overwhelmed and obsessed with trying to grieve. I thought that there was a formula to the grieving process and that it would come automatically. And when it didn't I felt my faith diminish and slowly I withdrew. I brought this book looking for insight and found it. Like a slap in the face C.S. Lewis exhibited many of the same feelings that I did. He showed true anger in his disdain for everything and everyone including God himself. That type of raw anger shook me to the core because I myself was angry at God for taking my mother. But in the midst of rage, Lewis gains a quiet understanding for matters of life and death and slowly starts to heal. After reading this book I felt relieved to know that someone else felt my pain. Someone else understood where I was coming from and someone else allowed themselves to heal without going through the cookie-cutter phases of grief. This book is a great read and will impact you almost immediately.
This book is simply... amazing. I've heard it said many times that grieving is a lot like dying yourself. This book is the essence of that statement. The book is heart wrenching honest about the pains of grief. C.S. Lewis is ordinarily a very religious man, but in this book he even goes against his own belief, wanting to know why. Powerful read, will definitely make you cry.
For those who associate Lewis with the children's classic 'Chronicles of Narnia' here's fair warning: This book hurts. It's a raw read, a painful read- it is, essentially, the Lewis's diary of his daily experience after the death of his beloved wife. There is no way to get through it without feeling you've been served an emotional punch in the stomach. But don't let that stop you from reading it. Though he rails at everything- himself, his wife, God- the kind of naked honesty displayed is, in some way, healing. For those dealing with their own grief, this book is almost like a beacon, saying 'You're not alone. You aren't the only one who's felt this. There's nothing wrong with you.' More than any self-help book I've read that tells you ways to get above your grief, this book shows you the full measure of pain that a human can experience... and then, finally, at the end, the light at the end of the tunnel. A heart-breaking, but essential book.