Shane's Reviews > The Shack

The Shack by William Paul Young
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's review
Jun 15, 2008

it was ok
Recommended to Shane by: My grandpa
Recommended for: certain Christians, with reservation
Read in June, 2008

This is a very strange book. It seemed even stranger when I thought it was meant to be taken as non-fiction. So, as a warning to anyone who does read this, it is fiction and is meant to be taken as such.
Is this a good book? Not really. So many people seem to be obsessed with it and I can't quite figure out why. It seemed pretty mediocre to me. It takes itself to be answering some of the big questions about Christianity, like the problem of evil, the trinity, or questions about whether or not prayer is really efficacious. But it doesn't answer any of these questions. It just gives the canned Christian responses, reducing everything to mystery that we just need to accept. I found that pretty aggravating. Also, the writing style is really corny.
Two things I can say in its favor: 1. While it completely failed to answer some really big questions, it did have some nice little insights along the way. Nothing like an answer to a serious question, but nice little ways of looking at things. Also, I finished it, which I think says something. I don't read a lot of Christian literature these days and I think a lot of it is really boring. While there was a lot I found annoying about this book, I have to admit, I did enjoy reading it. I can't really explain why. Maybe I just thought the convention used in the book was interesting and I was curious to see what sorts of things the author was going to say.
Ultimately, I give this book two stars, which is pretty low. I give it this because I think it fails to do what it sets out to do and again, the writing style is gag-inducing at times. However, there is something interesting and even enjoyable about it. If you are curious what all the buzz is about, go ahead and read it. It is a really quick read (which is saying a lot because I am really slow reader) and is even somewhat entertaining.
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Comments (showing 1-11 of 11) (11 new)

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message 1: by Ray (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ray Young is presenting a refreshing aspect of God which could heal many who deem Him as an old, insensative, judgmental, mean tyrant with a big stick-divorced from our pain and in some cases, causing it. Despite some awkward sentences and obvious theological loopholes, the work is riveting. I love the message of forgiveness which I believe is a universal problem with most people-save and unsaved alike. It is FICTION so that covers the many Biblical misinterpretation, and vastly creative. Young really kicks down our sacred cows in this work. A work of equal value is "A Step Into Deliverance" by Toni Pugh. Its autobiographical content about a pastor's spiritual journey with God is a real page-turner!

message 2: by Ray (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ray Xox being an atheist shouldn't deter you from reading this work. There's something for everyone for it addresses some universal issues like letting go the past, forgiving, self-acceptance and courage. You can grow immensely despite the religious theme.

message 3: by Ray (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ray Try A Step Into Deliverance by Toni Pugh. It's a riveting autobiography.

message 4: by Shane (last edited Feb 25, 2009 03:25AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Shane It always strikes me as odd when a Christian "pop" book comes out and lots of people start saying, "Oh my goodness! This really grapples with some of the tough questions of Christianity!" when all the while there are incredibly bright and sophisticated philosophers of religion who have been dealing with this stuff forever and doing a much, much better job at it. The literature on the so-called "problem of evil" is varied and immense. Part of the fault lies with the philosophers who make their stuff so dense and esoteric that no non-philosopher would want to read it. One exception might be Peter Van Inwagen's "Problem of Evil" book. This too can be dense and jargony at times but I think on the whole, it is pretty readable and even enjoyable. And again, he does a much better job of dealing with the issue than Young.
Honestly, I would never recommend "The Shack" to an atheist, unless they understood what they were getting into and were just curious what all the hype was about.

Shane Nice!

message 6: by Shay (new)

Shay OMG! I agree I read like 2 chapters or so thinking this was based on someone's recollection of a paculiar event. Then the daughter got kid- napped and I was like WHAT, A lady bug pen!?! That is rediculous LOL, so I stopped reading it. I agree this book induced my gag -reflex.

message 7: by Dee (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dee Good review, Shane. I thought pretty much the exact same thing while reading as you did. People kept saying how awesome it was, and I was thinking, "When does it get 'good'? Never, really, was my answer.

Lisa Interesting review- I actually am about 1/3 into this book and really did think it was nonfiction because of the 'foreword' and all I could think was, What? Someone says this really happened? I think I might actually be able to read it through a different lens now that I know it is definitely fiction. I'm sort of having flashbacks to reading the Celestine Prophecy because some people I knew raved about it & I just never got it. We'll see, I guess.

message 9: by Destiny (new) - added it

Destiny can you help me answer a few questions about the book

message 10: by Russ (new)

Russ Crossley Yes, I agree it is a strange book. I read it as fiction not as theology because I get my theology from the Bible, which in my view is the only place to get it. I found the book interesting and a simple read. Enjoyable but not to be taken too seriously

Jeff "Rockcub" Workman It helped me get thru the grieving process of losing a loved one. It is indeed fiction but it helped me deal with what was going on. It allowed me to open doors I would never have opened. I have a feeling it is like anything and a matter of timing and placement in your life as you go thru it.

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