Monday, September 5, 2016

Devin Brown's book shares lessons from Narnia

On this date last year, published my very brief review of Devin Brown's 2015 book. has ceased to exist, and all its content was removed from the internet. So, I'm reproducing the text of the review here for posterity. 

Bringing Narnia Home: Lessons from the Other Side of the Wardrobe

A good book has new things to discover every time you read it. So it is not surprising Devin Brown, an expert on the Chronicles of Narnia, has more to say about the books, even after writing extensively about them in his Inside Narnia series. Similar to his Hobbit Lessons from last year, the emphasis this time is on the lessons the books have to teach us. Dr. Brown seeks to get us to live out the lessons to be learned, as implied by the title, Bringing Narnia Home.

When we finish the last page of each adventure and close the book, we do not have to leave Narnia behind. If we bring home the lessons we have learned and apply them to our lives, we are like a person who returns from a distant country with magical treasure. Not someone who buries this treasure in the ground where no one will find it, but instead shares it with everyone they meet. [p. xi-xii]

Each of the twelve chapters examines a certain principle which can be found in the Chronicles, such as "Actions We See as Small and Insignificant Can Be Far More Important Than We Realize" (Chapter 1). Brown then gives specific examples of how that principle is demonstrated in the Narnia stories. The principle is reiterated in a short "Bringing Narnia Home" section at the end of each chapter, followed by a "Futher In" section with questions designed to help the readers understand how the principle applies to them personally. This could be a good exercise to further discuss the book in classroom situations, or less formal book discussion groups.

Devin Brown asks the reader to have read the Chronicles prior to tackling Bringing Narnia Home. His examples will make much more sense if you have a good sense of the overall story and context. But if you know the stories, or plan to read them soon, Bringing Narnia Home would be a good place to follow up your adventure. Dr. Brown's expert eyes may help you uncover buried treasure you might have otherwise missed – and bring it home.

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