In this Friday Feature I want to share a creative way to read Joy Davidman’s conversion story, “The Longest Way Round,” which you can find in various places online and in Out of My Bone: The Letters of Joy Davidman, edited by Don W. King. Joy Davidman is an attractive and intriguing figure to study, and I have enjoyed books such as Lyle Dorsett‘s popular biography, And God Came In, Abigail Santamaria‘s critical biography, Joy, and Patti Callahan’s novel, Becoming Mrs. Lewis: The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis. While some of Davidman’s writings are hard to find and many of her papers are available only at archives like the Marion E. Wade Center in Wheaton, with online bookstores, digital sharing, and scholars like King (editor), Dorsett (oral historian), and Santamaria (biography), much of her life and work is available to us.
I have long admired the work of C.S. Lewis Doodle, and was pleased to see that the artist has taken up Joy Davidman’s conversion story. “The Longest Way Round” was first published in These Found the Way: Thirteen Converts to Protestant Christianity, edited by David Wesley Soper (1951). It is an unusual narrative. It is lively and incisive like Davidman’s Smoke on the Mountain (1954), but far less focussed and containing within it hints of sarcasm and whimsy. Davidman’s conversion story is influenced by C.S. Lewis, but reading this narrative will make you suspect that Lewis’ own conversion story, Surprised by Joy, is influenced by Joy’s story. And here it is in a visual form by this Lewis Doodler; I am unable to discern who has read the audio. I hope you enjoy!