Turtles All the Way Down was recommended to me by Lauren, who told me it was the most influential book of 2017 for her. I can’t say it was quite an impactful for me (easily Daring Greatly) but it was educational and thought-provoking.
The premise is the main girl has debilitating OCD, which affects every aspect of her life. It was rather uncomfortable to read, because I kept wanted to say, “Gahhh just stop! Be normal!” But mental illness is not a choice; nobody wants to be controlled by his or her mind. But tragically millions of people are. Compassion is the answer.
For some reason I can’t get a photo of the cover of Till We Have Faces to load… So sorry about that.
Till We Have Faces was amazing.
It’s a retelling of the myth of Psyche and Cupid, and CS Lewis spins in all kinds of new levels of doctrinal insight and beauty. If you’re unfamiliar with this myth, the super watered-down version is Psyche is extremely beautiful, and the goddess Venus gets jealous, so she commands that Psyche be sacrificed to her son Cupid. But then Cupid falls in love with Psyche, but Psyche isn’t allowed to see his face. Then her sisters come to take her away, and they tell her she should light a lamp so she can see his face when he’s asleep. She does that, and he wakes up, and she is banished forever.
The main character of Till We Have Faces is Psyche’s sister Orual, who is not beautiful. The story is told by her, and it’s her journey of realizing that she doesn’t actually see anything the way it really is. We have to gain experience in order to see clearly, and won’t be able to really see anything until we “have faces,” or come to the other side and look back.
I was overcome with my deepened understanding of the doctrine of mercy after reading this book. Lewis is a master at teaching allegorically.