April's Reviews > The Shack

The Shack by William Paul Young
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's review
Mar 06, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: god
Recommended to April by: Dad

Mack's daughter Missy disappeared during a trip to the lake and is presumed dead. One day, Mack receives a letter from "Papa," who requests his presence at a shack near the lake where, presumably, Missy was murdered. Once there, he meets "Papa" (God), who defies his mental image by taking on the persona of a black woman. He also meets Jesus and Sarayu (the Holy Spirit). Each of them, in their way, helps heal Mack's pain. There is, you might not be surprised to hear, a LOT of dialogue.

Like Donald Miller, William Young hits the relationship theme hard; God doesn't necessarily need our service, tribute, or worship, but He wants a relationship, wants us to want to know Him, to work toward that dynamic willingly and with purpose.

I don't particularly advocate for religion as an institution, and I'm a little fed up with the label "Christian" (because it doesn't seem to mean anything anymore), so I didn't mind the anti-church stuff. Also, I've heard that some people had some issues with the theology, but it's my experience that all theology tends to be subject to interpretation; how ironic that a book that talks about freedom from judgment is, itself, the subject of so much criticism.

Plus (and this is a giant pet peeve of mine) when a book is clearly marked FICTION, the author does not mean for his words to be taken literally. I wish people would get over themselves enough to realize that.

The Shack has a few glimmers, but the writing hurts the story. Every once in a while, I'd run into a sentence and be like, "Yeah, that's right!" But overall, it was difficult to cut through the "art" to get to the message.


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Lorraine Regarding your comment about this book being FICTION: I can't believe how many people I've encountered who believe the story is based on a real experience because of the prologue -- don't they realize it's part of the fiction?! I'm also astounded by the number of people who excuse the bad writing due to the fact that he (allegedly) first wrote the story for his kids, not expecting to be published. Fine, maybe that's true, but isn't it the editor's job to deal with the bad writing? People will excuse all sorts of poor artistry if it's labelled "Christian."

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