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!
The above synopsis was taken from the back of the book. My reason for pointing this out is because this description was the thing that made me pick up this book. To me it sounded like a very interesting story about a family who has faced a terrible loss and how the father deals with this. I thought it would be a family focused thriller/drama. I knew beforehand that this book was a Christian novel and I had no problems about that, as I have enjoyed reading many other Christian/religion based novels in the past. This looked like a book that I would love reading or at least enjoy some aspect of. However I did not. I have been struggling with this review for some time now, because I have a very hard time writing a negative review, but the time has come and I am going to give my honest opinion here about The Shack.
The Shack starts out with an introduction to the reader, letting them know that this is not purely a fictional story. These events did occur and the author is now relating the events that happened to Mack. The story starts out by depicting a father and his children who have gone on a camping trip. They happen to settle upon a campground where they all connect with other campers. It is all good times for the family, until the last day as they are packing up. Two of Mack’s children get themselves into a bit of trouble in a canoe and while everyone is helping these children out, Mack’s youngest daughter, Missy, gets left alone at a picnic table. When the hullabaloo is over, Missy is gone, leaving behind a ladybug stick pin. Searches are made, authorities are called, and it is decided, because of the ladybug pin, that Missy is the latest victim of a serial killer. Time passes and the family has come to terms with the fact that Missy is gone. But then, Mack receives a note related to Missy’s disappearance at a secluded shack. But rather than tell anyone about it in the hopes of solving the mystery surrounding his daughter’s disappearance, he decides to keep it to himself and return to the shack alone.
So far we have a good if slightly sappy, beginning to what could be a great mystery. But this is it, the mystery ends. Missy is gone, the family must deal with it, a possible clue is kept secret.
Mack returns to the shack where Missy is last suspected of being and everything shifts into fantasy. The shack is transformed into a lovely little cottage where Mack meets and spends a delightful weekend with God. God being 3 people – an older black woman, an Arabic gentleman and a very eclectic Asian girl – the holy trinity. They will take Mack on a psychological journey to restore his faith and heal his heart.
The Shack has made it onto all the bestsellers lists and has hundreds of fans expressing their pleasure. But for me The Shack left me with a very bad feeling, as though I had been tricked. I felt this way because the book was in fact fictional, although it is supposedly based on some truth. I also felt as though the author was using his novel as a way to force his religion upon me, I know that I was the only person making myself read this book but it was the way in which religion was presented to the reader in a way that seemed to say “this is what is right, anything else is wrong”.
Another reason I did not look forward to reviewing this book, is the actual religious beliefs expressed within. I personally felt that the author was twisting biblical meanings around in order to back up his own beliefs. I am a non-practicing Christian, but a lot of what I do know of the bible does not mesh with the authors interpretation and explanations.
Many people have and will find this book to be inspirational but I myself would rather nail myself to a cross than read it again. Sorry if that is a bit crass, but I found many things about this book just as distressing. I realize that people who have lost a child may find comfort from this book, but as a parent myself I could never, ever accept God’s explanation for a child’s death that is presented in this book. Everyone has the right to express their own religion and I respect and honour the author’s own, however I do not think the author of this novel respects any beliefs but his own.
About The Author
William P. Young is an American author, best known for The Shack, a Christian novel. Young initially printed just fifteen copies of his book for friends who encouraged him to have it published. Unable to find a publisher, Young published the book himself in 2007; word-of-mouth referrals eventually drove the book to number one on the New York Times trade paperback fiction best-seller list in June 2008.Young currently resides in Oregon with his wife and six children.
Published by Windblown Media
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