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Review: As One Devil to Another by Richard Platt

As a homeschooling mom of teens, I am always eager to show my children what is right.  I have not focussed so much on showing them what is wrong, and I expected As One Devil to Another by Richard Platt to help me do so. 

Continuing the tradition of The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, As One Devil to Another is a series of letters from a senior devil, Slashreap, to his nephew and student Scardagger.

 Scardagger’s first client, a young woman, is a graduate student in English and therefore expected to be a fairly easy catch.  However, a godly aunt, the college gardener, and a young scientist become involved in her life, to Slashreap’s furious disapproval.  Even her new friend the minx, a well-formed and completely immoral young woman, turns out to have a ‘negative’ effect on Scardagger’s client.  Through the letters we follow both the progress of the client and the nasty relationship between the two devils.

Slashreap writes devilish advice to his student and intersperses it with detailed explanations about the ‘Adversary’ (i.e. God; remember, this is the devils’ point of view) and His methods of working.  He shows the effects of different activities, encourages some, and rails against others. His letters touch on criticism, pain, wealth, the sexual revolution, technology, the university, political correctness, creativity, art, Bible study, the internet, romance, suffering, love, and decision making.  Surprisingly, this devil does a lot of preaching.  Many of Slashreap’s opinions will provoke Christians to thought, and as such it is a worthwhile book. 

Furthermore, the stories told in the letters are interesting and make it hard to put the book down.

However, As One Devil to Another is not flawless.

Since Scardagger’s client is a graduate student in English, the book begins with a condemnation of the university system in general and the study of the humanities and English in particular.  Unless you are interested in these topics, you may find the first sections rather dry, but don’t give up.  The book does become more interesting and applicable. 

Although it is difficult to be certain when Platt speaks through the voice of a devil, both my husband and I concluded that he is quite a snob.  He disdains the abilities, values, and thoughts of ‘the subliterate, the uneducated, and the intellectually deficient.’  He mocks ordinary people when they argue issues ‘for which they have neither the intellectual equipment nor the education.’  Neither Platt nor his devils remember that the Lord chooses people despised by the world.

If you have never read The Screwtape Letters by Lewis, read it instead of As One Devil to Another.  However, if you wish to ponder modern society and certain theological opinions, As One Devil to Another would meet your goals.  It will also encourage you to examine your own life.

My teens have read The Screwtape Letters, but I haven’t yet decided if As One Devil to Another will be required reading.  Probably it will.

The Tyndale Blog Network has asked me to give away one copy of this book to someone with a Canadian or US address.  Please leave me a comment before May 8 if you are interested.

This is my 22nd book in the in the 2012 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge, and is also linked to Saturday Reviews, Women Living Well WednesdaysWorks For Me Wednesday , Friday Giveaway Day, and the Hip Homeschool Moms Giveaway Day.

Disclosure I received a free review copy of this book from the Tyndale Blog Network in order to share my honest opinions.

4 Comments

  1. Jenn4him says:

    Very interesting.

  2. I loved The Screwtape Letters, which is my favorite Lewis book apart from The Abolition of Man. I should check this one out… 🙂

  3. Kim says:

    I have always heard good things about Lewis’ Screwtape Letters. Perhaps it needs to move up my lengthy “To Read” list. Thanks for your thoughtful review of One Devil!

  4. Taleah says:

    Sounds interesting – thanks for the review!

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