As One Devil to Another is a short novella length book written entirely in letters. The book is an updated version of the original, The Screwtape Letters published by CS Lewis in the 1940s. In this book – like the original – the letters are from a senior devil to a devil in training. It’s a satirical look at the world around us, including but not limited to, technology, sex, homosexuality, health and education. Platt’s version is updated for the world today as opposed to the original which focused on the world in the 40s.
This one, like the original, is a series of 31 letters from an older, wiser devil (an uncle), Slashreap, to a younger, inexperienced devil (his nephew), Scardagger. Both characters are presented as relatives of the originals, Screwtape and Wormwood. The book is told in a sort of reversed viewpoint where everything they perceive as good should in actuality be evil and vice versa. It’s hard to keep a hold of this point of view sometimes. It also does not seem as black and white as that, there are moments of grey, where you are unsure if the author really intends for something to be perceived as good or evil.
As One Devil to Another is intended to reinforce the Christian faith by illustrating normal human experiences. The book is basically a set of instructions from the uncle to the nephew to keep souls from the ‘Adversary’ (God) and steer them straight in to the arms of “His Infernal Majesty” (The Devil). The nephew has been given his first client and the uncle is teaching him ways to succeed in his task. The majority of the letters are from Slashreap to Scardagger, though many of them do imply that Slashreap has received letters from Scardagger.
I rated this book a 2.5, as I believe that it will appeal only to very a specific audience. The writing is done well, but in an older style (to imitate that of the original). The subject matter is limited to those who read satire and/or Christian texts, though I do feel as though it could put off each of these readers equally. I went in for the satire and feel as though the Christian element was a bit heavy – handed. Even a Christian reader may find the satire to be heavy-handed. I felt the original was more subtle in these tones. As with many stories, I always suggest the original over any subsequent “remakes.” Read the original first, if it appeals to you, pick up this one as well. With all that said, Platt has done an admirable job of updating the original.
Part-time fiction writer, Alisha Churbe lives in Portland, Oregon. In the rare instances when you can pry her away from books, Alisha can be found travelling in foreign countries, cooking, or hiking with her husband Michael and dog Euro.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Tyndale House Publishers. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.