Book Review: The Shack

The Shack, by William P. Young, has lately acheived a high level of publicity.  It is a self-published novel (yeah!) about a father who receives a letter from God inviting him to the shack where his young daughter was murdered several years earlier. 

Very high concept.  Very intriguing premise. 

The first part of the book reads like a crime novel.  The stage is set, the crime is committed, it’s over.  The second part of the novel deals with the main character’s healing through a weekend spent at the shack with God. 

God, in the novel, is not who you think.  William Young immediately attempts to shatter all of your preconceived notions about the persona of God.  You won’t find an old, white man in flowing robes.  And this was the first time the book annoyed me. 

Let me say that I’m a pretty hard-core Catholic, so my review will be slanted.  That’s just the way it is.  But the persona of God (the Father, Son and Holy Sprirt) reeked of polical correctness.  Then came some touchy-feely theology that really turned me off.  I kept going, though, because I had been recommended this book, and I have a real need to finish books that others recommend to me.

Then came the judgement scene in the cave.  I can’t get into too much detail without revealing important things, but that scene changed things for me.  It got me onboard.  It changed the way I thought about the nature of judgement and forgiveness in a very profound way. 

The rest of the book had some very interesting points to consider.  It certainly grew on me as the novel progressed.  I’m glad I read it.  It gave me some new ideas, and I would love to discuss the novel with others who have finished reading it. 

I’ve found a lot of differing reviews on The Shack online.  Here’s a negative review.  Here’s an answer to the negative reviews.

My best advice is to read the book for yourself and decide.  Even if you disagree with everything in it, it will get you thinking.  And isn’t that the point?


2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Shack

  1. Kim P. says:

    I just finished it today, and I have to admit that I was expecting more or at least something different with all the hype. I really enjoyed the story at the beginning, but was immediately and continuously uncomfortable with the conversations with God. I sort of felt like I was being talked to like a little kid, and I was bothered by the “polical correctness.” There were a few points raised that stopped and made me think, though, so I look forward to talking with you about this the next time we get together.

  2. Lara T. says:

    I have to say I have become a lapsed Catholic. I like the idea of community and people worshipping together, but I have a really hard time with the sexism in the church and the way it has become a big grinding business, more than anything. And what I find a real head-scratcher is the fact that this is a business and a hierarchy made up of humans. All humans, telling us what we can and can’t do, telling us who is holy and who is not….well, that’s a whole rant I won’t put on your blog comments!! lol I just wanted to say, I like a lot of the Catholic beliefs, but I don’t particularly care for what the church as evolved into. I am a “cradle” Catholic. My children are baptized. But about a year ago, I just stopped going. This book gave me a lot more of what I was looking for. Now, as a writer, I don’t think it was particularly well-written to be honest. I don’t think that the character of Mack was particularly well-developed; we know him ONLY as a grieving father, there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of other aspects of his character. But the meat of the conversations, the basics of what the author was trying to tell us (God is love, God is not interested in human constructs, etc) THAT was the important part, that was the part that has great potential for making an impact. The whole point was to turn your perspective on its head, to make you think, so if it made you uncomfortable, then I think it was successful! 🙂 The judgement part kicked my mind into a tailspin too…I loaned it to my mom, or I would reread it! 🙂 I would love to have a book club meeting (even tho I don’t belong to one! haha) about this book.

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