I’ve been hearing people talk about The Shack by William P. Young for months now; and even though I read pretty voraciously, I was very hesitant to pick this book up. I knew the cause of The Great Sadness in the main character’s life was a child abduction and murder, and I was pretty certain I wanted no part of that. Since becoming a mom, I just can’t read books with that sort of violence towards children and I couldn’t understand all I was hearing about what a spiritual book this was with that kind of story line. The book came up again at book club in January, and a couple of the ladies had read it and loved it. They really urged me to read it and said that it would all come together and I’d understand why The Great Sadness was part of the story. So. I was in the library a couple days ago and there it was, so I figured I’d just go ahead and read it. I’ll tell you, I was done the next day, and I would definitely recommend it. In fact, I’d like to read it again.
As it turns out, my friends were right about the abduction being important to the story. Mack had to be furious with God. He had to feel unforgiving. He had to harden his heart and be utterly desperate and lost. I can’t think of a better way to do that.
At its heart, though, this book isn’t about the violence towards Mack’s daughter. It’s about Mack’s journey to and with God, which begins with a mysterious note to meet “Papa” at the very place that personifies Mack’s worst nightmare. He decides to go, and the rest of the book is full of dialogue and conversations between Mack and God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost. It’s not your typical religious look at the Trinity, for sure. Young personifies them in human form for Mack and you’ll come away from this book THINKING A LOT. In fact, I am very eagerly waiting for my girlfriend to finish reading it so I have someone to talk to about it. (Read, Michelle, read!)
I have one complaint, however, and I hope I don’t give anything away by sharing it here if you haven’t read the book. God/”Papa” is at most moments wise, well-spoken, and very articulate. Yet, there are just a couple times where Young suddenly paints a picture that screams “Mammy” from Gone with the Wind and that really annoyed me. That being said, I can get past that because the message I took away from the book is so positively good.
I’m very glad I read this book. It gave me a lot to think about and a new way to explore what I already know to be true.
**Here are a few other books I’ve read that got me thinking too. You might want to take a look at them if you liked The Shack.
- Dinner with a Perfect Stranger: An Invitation Worth Considering by David Gregory
- The Faith Club: A Muslim, A Christian, A Jew – Three Women Look for Understanding by Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver & Priscilla Warner
- Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott
- Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion by Sara Miles