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THE SHACK, my review....

The Shack by William P. Young has been much touted in the last few years. Some people love it. Others hate it.

As it was one of the books discussed recently at our writers meeting, and the group was clearly divided in their feelings about the book, I decided to read it.

I knew very little about the book when I opened it and I was hooked in the first few pages. It's about the disappearance from a camp ground of a beautiful little six year old girl named Missy.

The shack comes into play early on when the little girl's bloody dress is found in the shack in the woods.

Okay, we move along backward getting to know the characters in the story.
Then, Mack the father gets a letter from papa, which is what they call God. He's invited back to the shack in the woods by what he assumes is God.
He goes. It's winter and it's been snowing and is icy.

This is where he started to lose me.
The weather which he's having trouble walking in turns suddenly to spring or summer with beautiful flowers growing in the field and a gentle warm wind blowing. He starts to feel pretty good about now.

Then three people - the trinity represented - Father, Son, Holy Ghost (I'm assuming)
appear. A black woman, a man and another woman, Asian, I believe.

I quit reading at page 89, chapter six. I couldn't suspend my disbelief. And I tried.
I became disconnected from the story.
Mack is feeling really good, laughing and enjoying these people even though he can't quite figure them out. But then neither could I.

I closed the book.
What made me do that?

I loved the story up to that point.
I was rooting for the little girl.
I was looking for resolution.
I started to lose faith. For a bit I clung to the hope that the author would do something to get the story back on track. He didn't. Not for me anyway.
Now I'll never know how the story ends.

Did you read this book?
What did you think of it?
Did you love or hate the story? And why.
I know it's a Christian story. I got that. I'm a believer.

I also believe that an author can do anything he wants with a story. He can make God send letters. He can make God any color or nationality he wants.
Among all the many things he can do, the one thing he MUST do is keep a reader on track with his story.

I'm only one person. This author did not keep this reader in the story.
How about you? I look forward to all comments. I'm open minded and will appreciate hearing from you.



  1. Oh my Gosh!
    Barbara! You don't know how happy reading this makes me! I consider myself a very spiritual person & some of the most Christian people I know were recommending this book. I like you started very well into the book...
    Then I started to get disturbed by it. As a Catholic I believe in the Father, The Son & the Holy Spirit. But I could not connect with this point the Author was taking at all. It was probably around the same point I shut the book. (1/3 into it maybe). Now I realize that it may have had a great turning point and would be right back where I was interested. But something made me close this book & return it to the library.
    I love to read! I love suspense, autobiographies, Christian fiction, ... I like alot. But this book was not for me. I have been almost embarrassed as EVERYONE rants about it. You just made me feel a huge sigh of relief! At least one other NORMAL person out there! :)

  2. The Shack..I actually loved it. I totally understood where he (the author) was coming from and why he needed God to appear to him and explain some things...anyway, I met the author last year at the University in our town and he explained why he wrote the book. It was originally for his children..they took the manuscript and showed it to friends and so on and he ended up getting it published. Paul (the author) was a son of missionaries and lived in Africa for most of his youth. He was sexually abused also and that is where his problem with God started. He has found God again in his life and that's why he wrote the story. The character in the book is based on his life, or atleast on his feelings about a loving God...the daughter in the book who dies is also based on him..(he says his innocence was lost as a child and that's why he has her die in the book, like his innocence did). In the book, the man comes to understand God and Jesus Christ and also the Holy Ghost and how they work together and the love they have for each other and for mankind. It's also about forgiveness and choices and understanding why bad things happen to good people. Not all books are for all people. Why I connected with this book, I don't know..maybe I'm not "normal"! After hearing Paul speak I really understood where he was coming from even though I didn't agree with all his points of view. When people get all wigged out about the story and how God is portrayed, I just say "hey, it's man's way of coping with a terrible childhood, and not gospel" I've picked up many books that just didn't grab me, even though they are best sellers. No one should feel bad about not finishing something that doesn't feel right or hold interest...that's what makes life interesting, our differences!

  3. Janis and Yaya,
    Funny that the two comments I get are on each end of the spectrum and I appreciate both detailed comments. In fiction anything is possible and I like that we have such freedom in our creating. And every person will not like every book.
    I love the dialogue this has created and perhaps in reading the pros and cons we can all learn something.
    I read books by the dozens and one thing I don't do anymore is finish a book I do not like. I've given myself permission to do this. For years I forced myself to finish every book I started. Then I realized that while I was struggling to read something, I was using up time that could be used reading something I love.
    So bless you both for commenting.

  4. Hi Barb, I cannot help you. I have not read the book. I am a believer, too, but from the descriptions of the book, I do not think I would like it. I am like you, if I can't get into a book, I don't usually finish it either.

  5. I have the book but have not read it yet. One person said it was great; the other person who gave it to me said it was kind of strange.

  6. Well, I'm certainly curious, now. Even though I'm not Christian, I often like Christian fiction -- as well as fiction set in other religions. This one sounds very strange.

    Did you ever watch a tv show called Joan of Arcadia? I loved that show -- God was different people that she met. A Janitor, a cook at school, a young girl on the playground, a teen "goth" boy...

    I don't know if this book would capture my attention or if, like you, I'd lose interest and set it aside.

  7. I didn't watch Joan but I remember seeing it advertised. Yes, I think this is the same idea.
    For some reason I couldn't get beyond putting aside the little girl's death and on to the chapter after where the father felt so good to meet these people.
    Off to something else now.
    Blessings all.

  8. I never read The Shack. This may sound strange, but I've avoided it because it was so popular, and I figured I would just be disappointed. Your review makes me think I probably made the right decision. From what you say, it doesn't really sound like a book for me.

  9. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said you reached a point where you could no longer suspend disbelief. I had no problem with the themes, but the expression of them seemed disingenuous to me. I thought the story needed a serious edit, maybe more than one, before it was ready for the public eye. Great conversation here.


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