Books That Shaped Our Lives

Pete C. Menjares, Ph.D., President

The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis


This summer I decided to reread C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia for the first time in several years. The works of C.S. Lewis and The Chronicles, in particular, have been a source of inspiration, intellectual growth, and entertainment since I was introduced to his writings as a new Christian in the early 1970s. Later, as an undergraduate student at Vanguard University of Southern California, I was fortunate to take a class on C.S. Lewis that led to a greater appreciation of his writings as we discussed a number of the biblical allusions and theological truths embedded in his works of fantasy.

However, the book that has particular meaning for me is The Horse and His Boy, the third of seven books in The Chronicles. The Horse and His Boy basically tells the story of a talking horse named Bree and an orphaned boy named Shasta who flee Calormen in the south to Narnia in the north. There is a lot to the story but as the adventure unfolds Shasta confronts his fears and subsequently discovers his true identity and his real father. The process of discovery for Shasta is further aided by a personal encounter with Aslan, the great lion and “High king above all kings” in Narnia who revealed his superintending presence in the boy’s life since he was rescued from a boat as a child near death.

No doubt, one of the reasons why I find this book personally meaningful is the fact that I see much of myself in the character of the boy Shasta. Like Shasta, I grew up not knowing my father who, regretfully, was killed when I was one year old. Like Shasta, I have come to know of my Savior’s superintending presence in my life from childhood to the present time. Also, like Shasta, the superintending presence of the true God has given me the courage to overcome fears and shortcomings to achieve wonderful things in the adventure of life. I see other similarities between my life and that of the character Shasta, but these are some of the more outstanding features and some of the reasons why The Horse and His Boy remains one of my favorite books.