Monday, April 27, 2009

The Shack


Author: William P. Young
Originally published : 2007
Length: 256
Personal Enjoyment Rating: 3/5
Amazon Rating: 4/5 (3,020 Customer Reviews)
Goodreads: 14,847 ratings, 3.75 average rating

When I was younger, in my teens and much of my twenties, I would staunchly avoid anything that was "in." If everyone was watching it, reading it, wearing it, I was not. Sadly, this meant no Simpsons. Now that I have realized the error of my ways, it's really difficult to catch up on twenty seasons of a brilliant show. All in the name of nonconformity.
As I've gotten old(er), I still don't wear anything even remotely stylish, but I do have more of a desire to share in some of the popular shows and books that ten years ago I would have snubbed. I've actually watched a few seasons of Survivor, cheered for contestants on American Idol (but never voted), and voraciously read The DaVinci Code in less than 24 hours. At jury duty recently, a conversation about Twilight came up among a group of women, and after a couple of hours, we were practically BFF's! In a society where individuals have become increasingly isolated, I think this is pretty cool. These things have the potential to bring us together, rather than tear us apart (unless there arises an Edward/Jacob debate, of course.)
All of this rambling is just a pretext to explain my desire to read The Shack. I saw it as No. 1 on the bestseller list. It caught my eye browsing at Sam's Club. Reviews popped up on blogs. I wanted in on the action! And so did the members of my book club.
As the back cover notes, "The Shack wrestles with the timeless question: "Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?" Mack has experienced that pain--his young daughter is kidnapped during a camping trip, and all that is found of her is a bloody dress in an abandoned shack. How could God let this happen? Well, Mack receives a note in his mailbox inviting him to the shack to "get together" with Papa (his wife's name for God) and find out the answer to that question.
I only gave myself a day to read this, but I still found myself stopping to ponder for several minutes at a time. While I felt pretty involved in the story, I didn't necessarily agree with everything he said. One member of the book club mentioned that she thought whether a reader liked the book or not depended on whether the ideas put forth "rang true" for the individual. For a couple of people there, it did not ring true at all. I felt like certain parts were very powerful (Chapter 11-Here Come Da Judge) and others just interesting perspectives. The Godhead is presented in such an unusual way. I think those of conservative faiths may find it somewhat sacrilegious, and those without much religious faith may find it silly.
I didn't know the background of the publication of this book until I read an article on Wikipedia. Young originally wrote it as a Christmas gift for his children to share with them his beliefs, and had no intention of publishing it. This makes me appreciate the book a little more, because you don't get the idea that he's trying to push his way of thinking on anyone; he's just sharing his own treasured beliefs and obviously a lot of time spent pondering.


I usually try to keep my posts short, but this has been an incredibly long and rambling post . If you've actually read all of it, I think you deserve an award! I'm just going to post it without looking too closely at it, or else I might end up erasing it all and writing a seven-word review.

10 comments:

  1. I haven't read it yet and I'm not planning on it. But I really liked reading your perspective. Thanks.

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  2. I didn't like it at all and could barely finish it. I just didn't like the authors writing style. And I thought it was boring.

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  3. off topic, i'm hosting a community virtual book sale & giveaway on my site may 4 - 15! i'd love for you to join in!

    we both participated in the bookroom reviews giveaway!

    Here's the info. Please pass it on to other book lovers!

    http://www.shebecameabutterfly.net/?p=3123

    ReplyDelete
  4. The Shack is definitely a book about Christianity written for Christians (even if originally written just for one Christian family). I'm pleased to see it become a best seller, but I am surprised. I imagine that, unless a reader goes into it with faith that she will get out of it what God intends her to, it wouldn't be a particularly interesting or enjoyable book. It's just not aimed at a secular audience.

    It's a book that I find myself thinking about a lot, but was unable to review with any particularity.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am a bit of a nonconformist myself. I refuse to read a book just because everyone else is reading it. Either it appeals to me or it doesn't. Usually if I want to read it, the more reviews I see, the more I want to read it. But The Shack has never appealed to me.

    On another note, I am now seeing that I should have been watching Lost all along and I am trying to catch up via DVD. Who knew you could be lost for so long and still be interesting?

    ReplyDelete
  6. What beautiful music on your BLOG :)

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  7. I've wondered about this one. I can't say I'm particularly interested in reading it now that I know a little more about it. But who knows? I really appreciate your great review.

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  8. I am a conservative christian but I didn't find the book offensive or dislike it. I understood what the author was trying to do. He had some great illustrations for things that are hard to explain with words. I didn't agree with all of it but I appreciate that it has opened a line of communication between different faiths and the secular world as well. I found a lot to chew on.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The Shack is definitely a book about Christianity written for Christians (even if originally written just for one Christian family). I'm pleased to see it become a best seller, but I am surprised. I imagine that, unless a reader goes into it with faith that she will get out of it what God intends her to, it wouldn't be a particularly interesting or enjoyable book. It's just not aimed at a secular audience.

    It's a book that I find myself thinking about a lot, but was unable to review with any particularity.

    ReplyDelete
  10. off topic, i'm hosting a community virtual book sale & giveaway on my site may 4 - 15! i'd love for you to join in!

    we both participated in the bookroom reviews giveaway!

    Here's the info. Please pass it on to other book lovers!

    http://www.shebecameabutterfly.net/?p=3123

    ReplyDelete