His mother had died of cancer while he was a child, and he had a strained relationship with his father, although Lewis revered his ability to tell a story.
He was sent from school to school, one of which he referred to as "Belsen," for several miserable years before studying privately to attend Oxford.
"He was a brilliant, brilliant little boy who needed special attention," Tankersley said.
World War I prevented Lewis from entering university immediately. During the war, he had made an agreement with a friend that if the friend died, Lewis would take care of their mother and sister.
He lived with them for the next 30 years, and when the mother went to a nursing home in her old age, he visited her daily until her death.
Most biographers believe that Lewis had a crush on the woman, more than 25 years his senior, but few assert that their relationship was romantic.
When Lewis was ready to attend Oxford after the war, he failed his math exam twice. The university then made a decision to waive the exam for returning soldiers.
While at Oxford, he joined the Inklings, a literary group of whom his brother Warren was a member, as was writer J.R.R. Tolkien.
He graduated with honors in Greek and Latin classics, English literature and philosophy. Afterward, he taught at Oxford and Cambridge, where he wrote more than 50 books.
"He was a humble man, a shy man, a gracious man," Tankersley said. But Lewis's "checkered" reputation, as Tankersley calls it, may make him more accessible to people today than any perfect example of the "proper Christian life."
"He is not saved because he does works of love; he does works of love because he is saved," Lewis famously wrote.
Space is still available on "The C.S. Lewis Experience: A Journey to the Heartland of C.S. Lewis" tour, which begins July 30 and ends Aug. 11. For more information, contact the church at (949) 494-7555.
Tankersley will also show the biographical film "Shadowlands," starring Sir Anthony Hopkins as Lewis, 7 p.m. Sunday night at the church, which is located at 415 Forest Ave. cpt.02-narnia-CPhotoInfoBE1RHTTG20060602j05u1dncDON LEACH / COASTLINE PILOT(LA)Rev. Jerry Tankersley with one of his favorite C.S. Lewis books in his office at Laguna Presbyterian Church. Tankersley and other church members will travel to Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and England and tour sites related to the famous author.