Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Shack

By William P. Young

Mackenzie Phillips is a man lost in "The Great Sadness". Lost from God, from his family, and from any sort of real happiness. His youngest daughter, Missy, was brutally murdered in an abandoned shack in the mountains while on a family camping trip four years earlier, and Mackenzie is having a hard time moving on with his life. He receives a suspicious letter from "Papa", inviting him to go back to the shack to find some answers, and incredulously, he does return to the focal point of his sadness. What he finds there, is supposed redemption.

I don't know what to say about this book. I didn't really like it, but I'm not a big fan of religious fiction or even self help books for that matter because of too much information in too small of a space. I would rather read these types of books in stages when the need arises, rather than in one big gulping swallow.

The writing was sub par and the dialog choppy and unrealistic in the beginning but improved as the book moved along, until really there are only pages upon pages of dialog. I could barely draw breath. Young not only likes to say his point over and over, he means to stomp it into your brain until you know nothing else.

At the same time, I can see why so many people like this book. Young manages to make God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost more relatable and human in a scary world where religion has become out of reach for some. The Shack is Young's personal guide to finding your own way through the murkiness and sludge that make up the problems in our world today. His opinions are rarely theologically or scripturally based, but rather, perhaps, a way he's learned to handle the grief in his life. If that helps other people, fine by me.

But, for me personally, it was just too much. 2 Stars.

7 comments:

Stephanie said...

Now I don't feel so bad that I haven't found this book yet. Thanks!

Bryce and Mandy said...

I'm not a big fan of these types of books so I probably wouldn't have picked it up anyway but thanks for the review. I definitely won't bother to read it now.

The Bradfords said...

I'm struggling with it. I don't even know what else to say about it. Definitely not my fave. I'm not sure if I'll finish it or not.

Lula O said...

Now don't take my word for it, because alot of people - including your niece, right Suzette? - really like this book. I'm just not a fan of religious fiction, unless it's exceptional, like the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I liked that one.

The Bradfords said...

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe could be read by someone and they possibly could miss the religious correlations and overtones. You can't miss those in The Shack. I speed read it, even teared up at the end, and didn't like it. It just doesn't mesh with my own beliefs. I give it a BLECH! It still makes me think of the movie Oh God! with George Burns and John Denver. I think I could handle George Burns better as God than the depictions in The Shack. If you're LDS you'll understand that I'm taking the 11th Article of Faith on this one.

Stephanie said...

I was a teenager and had read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe several times before I realized it had any deeper meaning!

Lula O said...

Anybody recognize the main character's name from somewhere? Mackenzie Phillips?? 70's sitcom? Ring a bell?