Aug 29, 2008

Book Review: The Shack

Mackenzie “Mack” Phillips goes on a camping trip over the Labor Day weekend with three of his children in the wilderness of Oregon. On their last day there, his six year old daughter, Missy is abducted and presumed murdered. Three years have passed since the death of his daughter and Mack is no closer to coming to terms with it than he was in the first days of her disappearance. Then one day there’s a note left his mailbox asking him to return to the shack where the authorities believe Missy took her last breath. The note is signed Papa. Only people very close to Mack’s family would know that Papa is the familiar name Nan, Mack’s wife, calls God. Unlike Nan, Mack has conflicted feelings when it comes to God and religion. He considers himself to be a Christian, but memories from his childhood with an alcoholic, abusive father who used the Bible to justify beating his wife and son have left him troubled and confused. THE SHACK is the story of how Mack tries to find answers and come to terms with this horrible tragedy. More directly, Mack wants to know how God would let this happen.

Let me start by saying that this book is a work of fiction. Christian Fiction. It isn't a book on how to deal with grief nor is it a guide to any particular religous belief. It's simply one authors interpretation of how this man in the story copes with his anger and grief, some of which are directed at God. For me, this was a compelling read and I found the way Mr. Young demonstrated Mack's interactions and conversations with God to be very interesting. The author does not try to push one particular religion or another on to the reader, he only tries to show the beauty of one man's experience relating to and communicating with God in order to gain understanding and hopefully, closure.

I think the storyline was very well thought out and well written. It kept my attention all the way through. The further I got into the book, the faster I read because I was anxious to see what was next. In the final chapters I found myself needing to set the book down, and gather my emotions before continuing to the next chapter. I was very moved by the story and that's what I love about it. I like when a story has it's grasp on me up until the very end and this book didn't disappoint me in that regard. Honestly, I really didn't know what to expect from this book before I read it. I read many varying reviews but I went into it with an open mind and I truly enjoyed it. I think it would provide excellent discussions for any book club. I highly recommend this book.

If you'd like to learn more about this enlightening, unique book and William P. Young, go to The entire first chapter is available for you to read online if you like.

Author: William P. Young
Publisher: Windblown Media
Published: May 2007
Pages: 256
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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