Best Book Ever: Love in the Time of Cholera vs. The Screwtape Letters

Love in the Time of Cholera vs. The Screwtape Letters.

Love versus lust as told by two authors. One story by a renowned Colombian author goes up against a good English Christian in this face off.

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Love in the Time of Cholera.

Can love last a lifetime? Whether in marriage or in devotion, Love in the Time of Cholera would argue “Yes.” In this novel, two teenagers fall in love. Though forbidden from seeing each other and torn apart by a careful father, Fermina Daza and Florentino Ariza fall deeply in love through an exchange of passionate letters. Until one day when Fermina realizes “I don’t even know this guy”, and ends their relationship.

Bending towards her father’s urging, she marries a successful doctor, Juvenal Urbino, and we watch their relationship grow from tepid uncertainty to genuine care. All the while, Florentino has pledged his heart to Fermina and won’t give up. Wandering through the characters, we gain a healthy discussion on what love really is. Is it ardent passion or tender devotion? Is is too much to ask for both? You read it and decide.

  • Goodreads Score: 4.07
  • Length: 2.5 -Marquez takes his sweet time in making his point, and Love in the Time of Cholera is more than a little wordy.
  • Readability: 3 -With poetic verse and detailed scenery, this book is not for those who want an easy distraction.
  • Language: 4.5 -Y’all, Marquez got a Nobel Prize in Literature. Need I say more? Alright, I will. His words are beautiful.
  • Characters/Plot: 3.75 -While you want to be angry that true love doesn’t win immediately, I find the book more enjoyable because of it’s practicality. Who’s going to marry the desk clerk when they could have the rich doctor around the turn of the 20th century?

Overall Score: 17.82

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis.

The demon Screwtape has a young nephew, Wormwood, who needs to step up his game. Screwtape decides to assist his nephew by sending him a series of instructive letters on how to seduce human souls to hell. Told in the serialized letter format, Screwtape walks through all of the major sins from lust to lethargy emphasizing that sin rarely needs a heavy hand so much as a gentle nudge.

Highly satirical, at times Screwtape’s suggestions hit close to home, and I find my words coming out of his mouth. It’s said that C.S. Lewis hated the letters while writing them. I’m inclined to think it’s because even though we don’t want people to be the way they’re portrayed at their worst, many of them are indeed so dismal and doomed. Even so, The Screwtape Letters are an entertaining critique.

  • Goodreads Score: 4.22
  • Length: 4 -At only 160ish pages, The Screwtape Letters are an easy read you should take time to enjoy.
  • Readability: 3.5 -Screwtape’s sense of humor is clever and catchy allowing you to easily consume his lessons as he intended young Wormwood to.
  • Language: 3.5 -In direct contrast to Marquez, Lewis is direct and witty. Artful in ideas if not in language.
  • Characters/Plot: 3.5 -It’s easy to be entertained by the premise of the book even if there’s not much in the way of character development to get involved in.

Overall Score: 19.22

The Verdict

I can be okay with the fact that The Screwtape Letters beats Love in the Time of Cholera. Love in the Time of Cholera is a work for the lovers and dreamers. The Screwtape Letters are a work for everyone. They contain criticisms of our human condition that each of us should explore and ponder, hopefully to learn and become a little better.

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