The Great Divorce Book Review


Nicole Moore

“The Great Divorce” by C.S. Lewis takes you along on a ride to Heaven.

“…that love, as mortals understand the word, isn’t enough. Every natural love will rise again and live forever in this country: but none will rise again until it has been buried.” These are thought provoking words from the infamous theologian, C.S. Lewis, as he dives into boundaries the average human may never explore in his 1945 novel “The Great Divorce.” Lewis reveals what really matters in our human lives, and spoiler, it’s not earthly things.

He writes a story that follows an unknown soul in hell who gets on a bus to heaven. The souls in hell get a “break” or a “vacation”in which they take this bus to a faraway place where they meet spirits who come down from heaven to try to get them to come back with them.

Throughout the whole book, he provokes the idea that going to heaven is ultimately our choice. Hell is only a tiny crack in the ground, only those small enough to fit through will get in. I like how in the beginning of the book Hell
is described as a dungeon of one’s own mind. Hell is usually depicted as a physically painful place, but this allows readers to imagine hell differently, a mentally painful place.

Something that stood out to me towards the end of the book is Lewis’ example of a lizard on a man’s shoulder that symbolizes “lust.” One of the angels asks the man permission to kill this lizard. It is memorable because it truly describes the protection our Guardian Angels hold, but that they won’t take away what we don’t allow them to. It’s almost as if Hell is a choice.

While this story only consists of 146 pages I have never stopped to think as much reading any other book than I did with C.S, Lewis’ “The Great Divorce.” He has a way with words that takes a theological premise and turns it into an imaginative world of wonder.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book over a period of time, digesting each chapter one day at a time. I hope to one day read all his books. I recommend this book for anyone pondering heaven and hell, those who look to grow perspectives of Catholicism.