Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Guide to Exploring The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by Devin Brown

I have subjected myself to a lot of Narnia in recent months. After reading the first book in the Chronicles titled The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, I read an e-book about the series as a whole and then came to this monster of a book by Devin Brown titled A Guide to Exploring The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Don't be fooled by it's small size of 256 pages because this chapter by chapter analytic look at the first Narnia book is packed with a ton of content that will set your brain ablaze. This is not a drill. This book is for the ultimate Narnia fan and not for the feint at heart. If you are looking for a fairly easy read, don't read this book. If you are looking for an unbiased interpretation of the text by C.S. Lewis that not only contains literary criticism but a look at the theological aspects of the text, allegorical debate, authorial intent and more than this is definitely up your alley!
A Guide to Exploring The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by Devin Brown is the ultimate guide to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Period. This book was fantastically intricate and so well paced. I honestly wish someone would replicate Brown's style and study Harry Potter books too. While I won't lie and say the book didn't have dry spots, part of me says hell with it. I don't care! I loved it too much to fault it for something like that because truth be told, literary theory (or really anything academic) is dry. There isn't much you can do to get around that so usually when I approach a book of this nature I just expect that. That being said, if you don't like literary theory or criticism then please don't read this book and then go on to bash it in a review because it was boring or too serious (I have seen these reviews about this book). You will be bored. Let's just make that clear right away.
Now to the meat of this book. The book has a lot of substance to it. I didn't expect it to take me such a
long time to read which was a clear mistake on my part. Each chapter is content heavy and in my opinion leaves no stone un-turned. I now have a much richer understanding of the first Narnia book. In fact I actually questioned myself when I didn't call the book a favorite because this book by Brown really holds it on a pedestal and gives so much depth to the story. And it is warranted. What I really appreciated about the book's tone is that Brown came off as a completely unbiased party member. Whenever he came to a controversial idea, he was able to provide evidence for and against and really found a happy medium at the end of the day.
This book was great. Being an English major in college, I have a real appreciation for this book because I really enjoy being analytic and thinking about things and it is hard to do this outside of the classroom sometimes so this was very refreshing. Excellent read. I can't wait to read the other two Brown has written. 5 out of 5 stars!

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