Saturday, January 30, 2010

Book Review: The Gargoyle Code

During the Summer I picked up a copy of C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters and found myself riveted. It was one of those books that I couldn't easily put down. The book was enough to nudge me into delving into the Chronicles of Narnia. Ages ago I picked up one of the books in that series and disliked the writing style so much that I stopped reading it about two chapters into the book and discounted C.S. Lewis' writings as not worth my time. My thirty-one year old self found C.S. Lewis to be far more captivating than my ten or eleven year old self ever could have imagined. Who would have guessed?

Shortly after reading the Screwtape Letters, I started noticing posts on Fr. Longenecker's blog promoting his book entitled The Gargoyle Code. The book is written in the tradition of Lewis' Screwtape Letters. At first, I'll admit that I hesitated to buy the book. I enjoyed Fr. L's blog immensely, but I figured there was no way I was going to enjoy his book as much as I enjoyed Screwtape Letters. And, I'll be honest, I also assumed that this book was just going to be a slightly more modern version of Lewis' timeless classic.

When Fr. L posted excerpts from this book on his blog I'd read them and think to myself that perhaps the book had some potential. But still, I wasn't moved enough to buy the book. It wasn't until he ran his annual "Stick 'em Up" plea this past November that I decided to just buy the book. By that time I knew I wanted to read it, and that plea nudged me into buying the book.

When the book arrived, I picked it up expecting to read it for a few minutes and then resume my day. Instead I found myself unable to easily put the book down. Fr. L's writing is every bit as good as C.S. Lewis' and I daresay I enjoyed this book far more than Screwtape Letters. The book is written for Catholics and would be an excellent book for Lenten reading. The book, which starts with Shrove Tuesday and ends with Easter, has a letter for each day of the Lenten season. One could easily take a few minutes to read a letter a day from this book during Lent. I think the book is invaluable spiritual reading.

I don't know what it is about this book, but it really got into my head. I don't recall how far I had made it through the book before I felt the overwhelming need to get to confession. Of course, procrastinator that I am, I waited a few weeks to act on that [nagging] impulse. I suspect it would be nearly impossible to read this book without walking away with a good dose of Catholic guilt, which in my opinion translates into a well-formed conscience.

I found this book to be a wonderful blend of spirituality, humor and seriousness. I thoroughly enjoy reading Fr. L's blog and I stopped several times while reading The Gargoyle Code to laugh at how much a particular line or character name reminded me of something I had read on his blog, whether it sounded like something one of his alter egos would have said or whether it was just Fr. L's personality shining through.

In short, this book is an incredibly engaging read. It's a solidly Catholic book that is perhaps the most engaging and enjoyable spiritual reading that I've done all year. (And if you read my blog, you know I do a lot of spiritual reading.) It's probably also worth mentioning that it's the only book I've read that has made me want to go to confession. That alone says a lot, if you ask me.

Do yourself a favor this Lent, buy a copy of Fr. L's The Gargoyle Code. You'll be glad you did. I'll be reading this book again for Lent.

1 comment:

  1. Hi! I've been your follower for just a little while and enjoy your writing. I'll check out this book on your recommendation!


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