Saturday, October 17, 2009

Audio Book Review: "The Screwtape Letters" Dramatized

Wildly comic, deadly serious, and strikingly original, C.S. Lewis's masterpiece is one of the most engaging accounts of temptation---and triumph over it---ever written. In this audio dramatization, original music and a full cast bring the correspondence of the worldly wise demon Screwtape and his nephew Wormwood to life. Includes 10 new songs inspired by the classic book, four behind-the-scenes video documentary featurettes and a 5.1 surround sound mix.

I am a HUGE fan of dramatic audio books. Audio books who have a narrator that does different voices are great (Jim Dale reading Harry Potter is an experience everyone needs to experience) but ones that have multiple actors and sound effects is like listening to a movie in your head. And the grand master of dramatic audio is Focus on the Family Radio Drama. They have put so many high quality titles ranging from beloved literary classics to original stories to historical events. I cannot get enough of them. Their production of the Chronicles of Narnia series is one of my absolute favorites. Therefore I was excited to hear that that they would be bringing another CS Lewis classic to audio life.

I'll be honest, I have never actually read the Screwtape Letters before. I've been meaning to but I've never gotten around to it. I had a bare bones idea of what the plot consisted of but I pretty much dove in mostly unaware. Well first off, I was extremely geeked that Screwtape was going to be played by none other than Serkis. His performance is totally awesome. He really gets into the role and you can just picture everything immediately. The voice cast is extremely talented and the sound effects really bring everything to life. I mean I could really see Screwtape and Wormwood talking or visualize the bombs over London.

Just the story itself is incredible. Seriously I think that everyone needs to read/listen to this book. It totally makes you think about everything you do and think about. Even if you're not a Christian, it's a good read. CS Lewis is simply brilliant the way he came up with this work. The reverse viewpoint of looking at things is just genius. What I thought was interesting is that Wormwood could do nothing to please his uncle.

The bonus DVD is really interesting as well and gives behind the scenes footage of the making of the radio drama. Included on the final disc are also several songs inspired by the book. There are several different genres and it's a nice bonus. Also be sure to listen to the very last track all the way to the end, for a hidden surprise.

All in all this is another outstanding addition to the Focus on the Family Radio Drama line. If the Audie Awards are looking for nominations for next year's awards, please include this one! I would recommend this book for older teens and up. There are some intense scenes that made me even jump several times and the topics included are not really for little ones. If you're looking for a different type of audio book to listen to or even if you've already read the Screwtape Letters, pick this one and give it a listen. VERY HIGHLY recommended.

The Screwtape Letters Dramatized is published by Tyndale (2009)

This review copy was provided by the publisher.

Visit the official site where you can hear clips from the production and watch behind the scenes video.


  1. I am trying to expand my literary horizons by experimenting with audio books. This sounds like a perfect title for me to try!

  2. Screwtape seems like a natural for audio, and I'm not surprised to hear that Serkis was great--he seems like a good choice. I believe there's also an audio version with John Cleese, which I suspect would also be amazing.

    I saw a stage version a couple of years ago at the Shakespeare Theatre in DC, and it was wonderful. And it's coming back in December! I liked it so much I may see it again.

  3. this actually might make a good Christmas gift. Great review!

  4. There was a 2-man show of Screwtape Letters in Chicago last year that my husband and I saw, made me want to read the book again, maybe I should try the audio book.


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