Donovan's Reviews > The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity

The Shack by Wm. Paul Young
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Jun 07, 08

bookshelves: spirituality
Recommended to Donovan by: Tom Sparks
Recommended for: Any Christian who wants to continue to ask questions and deepen their faith.
Read in June, 2008

When reading The Shack, be prepared some laughs and smiles, but mostly, be prepared for a well of tears. I'm a movie and book crier by nature. I'll admit that my wife and daughter give me the raised eyebrow and look at me strangely when I choke up while watching a sitcom and all I can do is sheepishly say, "Did you see how she helped that lady" or something like that. Well, be warned, if you also have a weakness for tears or if you are a father, the tears will hit you like a flood.

This book is a story of God sharing his heart with a broken man. The first section of the book will hit you in the chest, as it describes what the author calls "The Great Sadness" of the novels protagonist.

I'm a lover of well written novels and it was well over a decade ago that I decided there were way too many books being published every year, not to mention the thousands and thousands of good books previously written, to spend time reading a poorly written one. This book is an exception to that rule. It isn't the writing that kept me going, it was the content.

I don't know the authors story, but the jacket says that "he suffered a great loss as a child and young adult". The best books are those written about what an author knows - either researched or experienced. This is what you will find in The Shack. The author has wrapped a story around what he feels passionate about.

I won't give away the story or the message, but I will say that is resonated strongly with me. At the core it is about God's unfailing love for his children. His desire to draw every one of his children to him. How this love transcends our hurts and tragedies. How he ususes even the worst situations as avenues of redemption.

I didn't read The Shack with my theologian hat on. I didn't critique every line to evaluate how it stood up to my interpretation of systematic or historical theology. This is not a book of theology - I read it as a man sharing his heart and what he has learned on his journey - putting it in a fictional format.

It is his journey and heart that resonated with me.

Read The Shack - not for its literary prowness or theological intellectualism - but to be moved and challenged in your thinking of God.

I'll end with a brief sample to taste your appetite. This is Jesus conversing with the main character, Mack;

"Our is earth is like a child who has grown up without parents, having no one to guide and direct her." As Jesus spoke, his voice intensified in subdued anguish. "Some have attempted to help her but most have simply tried to use her. Humans, who have been given the task to lovingly steer the world, instead plunder her with no consideration other then their immediate needs. And they give little thought for their own children who will inherit their lack of love. So they use her and abuse her with little consideration and then when she shudders or blows her breath, they are offended and raise their fist at God."
"This blue-green ball in black space, filled with beauty even now, battered and abused and lovely."
"I know that song. You must care deeply about the Creation," smiled Mack.
"Well, this blue-green ball in space belongs to me," Jesus stated emphatically."
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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Marina aawww, your sweet!


Julia Donovan,
This book seems perfect for my brother, who is a writer, a philosophy major in college, and someone who turned his back on Christianity for basically the same reasons many people do: how could a loving God allow such horrible suffering of his children, and if He really loved us, He would not allow such bad things to occur in the world. Of course, I have my own answer to that, but it is difficult to not be angry with God when bad things occur in my life-especially if I feel I haven't done anything to deserve it. My brother's faith used to be so strong, and when he studied the Bible, he really researched, took classes in theology, went to church, etc....ironically it was the deep study that sent him into questioning his faith, and even the very existence of God. I think he may have eased up on his stubborn stand against God since having a child and experiencing the joys that brings, but he is so hard-headed, I feel he won't likely change his opinions about God. After Lils told me about this book, and after reading your review, I'm going to send this book to my brother and make sure he reads it. Hopefully he'll open up his heart and mind enough to allow God back in. Thanks so much to you and Lils for recommending this book. ;)


Donovan Let me know what you think after reading it. Glad you liked my review. It definitely is a book that will make you think - whether you agree with the theology or not.


Just I am just like you, I pretty much cried like a baby non stop as I read this. I'm talking, face sopping wet, eyes puffy. I cry at freakin folgers commercials for crying out loud! :)


Just I am just like you, I pretty much cried like a baby non stop as I read this. I'm talking, face sopping wet, eyes puffy. I cry at freakin folgers commercials for crying out loud! :)


Gracia your review is the best so far...and i think is the only just review...your right when you said it is the content, our relationship and understanding to God that matters with this book, and not as you said the literary prowess and theological intellectualism.
it moved me,and im so glad that i have read the book. i may not still understand His ways, but the book has helped my constant and everyday struggle...i had the book as a birthday gift by someone important, and I know the exact reason why he gave me the book last Oct2008. I'd like to understand and accept, but I just can't. I wish He would give me my own The Shack, I'd like to understand His ways, I'd like so much to move on. I'd like so much to remove my own great sadness. I'd like so much to be like Mack, to have the chance to talk to Him, to have even 10 seconds to see my lost Rex. And until then, I am just here,waiting. And I would read The Shack over and over again, until then.


Aleshia Robinson I'd like to introduce you to Alcatraz, a deeply troubled, teenage, tattoo artist on a spiritual quest to find God. www.lovegodandtattoos.com


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