Saturday, September 12, 2015

Book Review: The Shack [MILD SPOILERS!!]

Title: The Shack

Author: Wm. Paul Young

Publish Date: July 1, 2001

Genre: Christian Fiction

Why I Read this Book: I have wanted to read this book for a while now. Many people had told me that I should read it. I listened to the audiobook version that I bought at my local Goodwill.






About the Book (from Goodreads):  

Mackenzie Allen Philips' youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation, and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his "Great Sadness," Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend.

Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack's world forever.

In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant The Shack wrestles with the timeless question, "Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?" The answers Mack gets will astound you and perhaps transform you as much as it did him. You'll want everyone you know to read this book!


Looking at other reviews of The Shack on book retail sites and Goodreads, I clearly see the impact that this book has had on many people. The Shack has changed peoples lives, but it did not do this for me.

It took me a while to gather my thoughts about this book. The beginning was incredibly engaging and interesting; I did not want to stop listening to it. The engaging plot had me wanting more of this narrative, but this is not what I found. As the book progressed, I felt like it was more of a preaching than a narrative.

Much of the novel is spent with Mac talking to God. Each of the trinity is physically present and attempting to change the way that Mac thinks about the world. Mac is depressed. He has lost his daughter to a murderer. His family seems to be falling apart. As the Trinity speak to Mac, They comfort him and he begins to draw closer to Them. I really enjoyed this aspect of the book. God loves us as we are. We do not have to change before we come to God; He changes us when we are willing to accept His love and all that He has sacrificed for us. I love this aspect of the novel, but there are certain things that the Trinity speaks about in The Shack that do not necessarily line up with the Bible.

One of the main things that I do not believe lines up with the Bible is when the author talks about how there should not be a hierarchy in family, in politics, or between us and God. The Bible says that God establishes kings (Daniel 2:21) and states that the husband is the head of the household just as Jesus is the head of the church body (Ephesians 5:23).

Even though I do not agree with all of the theology that the book presents, I do believe in the heart of the book: God loves us and wants us to know him intimately.

I want to end this review with an excerpt from 1 John 3:1:

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!

Final Statements

Recommended Reading Age: 13+ due to difficult themes (such as a missing child and murder)

Overall Rating: 3/5