The historical fiction novel Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan is told in the first person by Joy Davidman, who became the wife of C.S. Lewis. I find it a bit presumptuous and cheeky when an author feels comfortable in giving thoughts and words to an actual person. While I do feel the author has done a very good job in representing the complex and brilliant personality of Joy Davidman, I still found the storytelling to be quite boring at times.
The novel is about what is often described as “the improbable” relationship between Joy Davidman Gresham, a married New Yorker with two sons, and the beloved author, C.S. Lewis. She was born Jewish and as a young adult became a communist and an atheist. She and her first husband Bill Gresham were both writers and often struggled financially. Bill had several affairs and was an alcoholic. One day, Joy had a deeply moving experience where she felt God’s presence. She became a Christian and convinced Bill to join the Presbyterian Church with her. As typical for most Christians, she struggled with certain ideologies. She had read several of C.S. Lewis’ books and wrote to him to seek his guidance. He responded six months later.
Over the years through letters and a visit to England in 1952, Joy and Jack (the nickname Lewis preferred to be called), developed a deep friendship. It was clear that Joy was in love with Lewis, but he did not appear to reciprocate. After learning that her husband was having an affair with her cousin, Joy moved to London with her two sons. She continued to pursue Jack all the while he insisted they were just good friends. They were married in 1956, first in a civil ceremony to keep her from being deported. Lewis insisted that the marriage be kept secret. When it was discovered that Davidman had cancer, Lewis admitted his love for her. Once they were finally able to get permission from the Church of England, they married the second time in a religious ceremony in her hospital room. After a time of remission, Joy Davidman Lewis died of cancer four years later at the age of 45.
I listened to the Audible audiobook of this novel. It was 12 hrs and 39 mins long. I found parts of the narrative to be about mundane, day-to-day things that held no interest for me. Joy Davidman had a lot of unrequited love which was expressed so many times I became bored with the relationship. 3-Stars.