Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Shack by William P. Young

I'd heard a lot of hype about The Shack and I was hoping it was going to move me like The Five People You Meet in Heaven or the Lovely Bones - two of my all time favorite books.  What can I say - I'm apparently in love with books about death and images of heaven!

The Shack is hard to read at times because the overall story is sad.  Mack, the father of several children (I was never clear on the exact number), takes at least three of his kids on a camping trip.  Mack describes the day that the "Great Sadness" set in as one that never even got off on the right foot.  From the very beginning, he messed up breakfast over the campfire, and as he was trying to get that under control, his son and daughter were out on the lake in a canoe about to embark on danger.  The canoe flips over and the son goes under water, while the one daughter Katie yells for help.  Mack bolts to the lake and quickly realizes the dilemma - his son's life jacket strap is caught in the canoe, preventing him from coming up for air.  As Mack works to free his son from drowning, another tragedy is taking place.  His youngest daughter, Missy, was kidnapped during the canoe fiasco.  What are the chances of such disasters occurring simultaneously?  A mad search ensues and the only thing the authorities find is Missy's bloodied dress laying on the floor of a dilapidated shack in the woods. 

Three years pass and the Great Sadness has not even began to leave Mack's heart and mind.  One day, Mack receives a note in his mailbox, signed by "Papa", asking him to return to the Shack.  "Papa" also happens to be the name Mack's wife uses to refer to God.  After some deliberation about the note, Mack sets out on his quest to return to the Shack.  Shortly after Mack arrives, he's introduced to three people: Elousia (Papa), Sarayu, and Jesus.  These three actually make up the Holy Trinity.  So Mack goes on a journey with these three variations of God and learns several things about himself and about Missy's death. 

The book ends as a Jodi Picoult novel would - with a twist! 

I liked the concept of the book and I found a few things in the book that really spoke to me.  Still, at times I found it confusing to follow along with what the three versions of "God" were actually talking about.  Overall I give the book 4 stars out of 5!     


  1. I thought The Shack was a pretty good book, but thought the author could have used better characters as the three "Gods". It was hard for me to imagine them as who they were meant to be.

    I didn't read The Five People You Meet in Heaven but saw the movie and didn't like it much. I know most of the time the book is much better than the movie, so maybe I should read it.

    I have Lovely Bones, but haven't read it yet either.

  2. Oh I loved The Shack. Took me a bit to get into but really got me thinking as the story progressed!


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