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The Shack

A book by William P. Young

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Stubbornly waiting forever to read a good book

  • Mar 21, 2009
Rating:
+5
I get stubborn when books are too popular, and the latest media hype to provoke my stubborn streak was about "The Shack." First of all, it was something people at church were saying I just "had" to read. Then, as I was finally considering succumbing, the book and advertisements began to appear in style all over the place. Huge displays. Racks and racks of books. Study groups buying in bulk... Oh dear. I decided the Shack could only disappoint so I wouldn't bother reading. Knowing the book was "controversial" would normally have excited my interest, but I was convinced that any apparent controversy would be mild and artificial, nothing more than an aide to sales. So I put the book on my "buy it when it's cheap and read it later" list, and continued to smile "Not yet," when asked if I'd read it.

When our church magazine announced that Paul Young was going to do a book-signing I thought perhaps I should read the book first. After all, how could I meet the author and confess to ignoring what he'd written? So I borrowed it from a friend, the day of the signing, and read it in between making lunch and dinner and doing the washing.

The book-signing was great, and Paul Young's a fascinating speaker. At the end of his talk, he took questions, including one which asked where the characters he used to portray God came from.
Even if you've not read the book yet, you've probably heard the controversy over God appearing as a black woman (can't wait for the movie!). But Paul spoke of his background as a missionary child, how in his earliest years he was brought up by tribes-people and really thought he was black. The God in the Shack meets Mack exactly where he is, meets him how he'll best be able to relate. And perhaps for Paul, it was easiest to relate to a delightful black lady portraying the parental role.

Jesus in the book is, well, Jesus - an Arab-type guy with a tool-belt round his waist, and the knack of walking across the odd lake here and there. Except he says he's just a close relation to the Arabs, and actually Jewish. Then the Holy Spirit is a delightful Asian lady with the Indian name Sarayu, blowing like a "surprising wind" through the tale. Wisdom is Latino. And no, it's not corny, or artificial. It's delightfully intriguing, and intriguingly new.

I believe the Southern Baptists banned "The Shack" for a while, though they changed their mind. C.S. Lewis's "The Great Divorce" was banned by the Christian Union back when I was at college - we all went out to buy copies straight away of course - so that puts Paul Young in good company. I loved his book. I love the answers that are never quite complete, and the relationship that allows them to be so. I love the reminder that God's not a Western, let's all stand-up-kneel-down-sit-down-clap-hands-and-say-Amen set of rules and rituals, but a God who truly chooses to spend time with us. And I love the ending which, even though I saw it coming a mile off, still made me cry.

If you're as stubborn as me, you've probably not got around to reading this book yet. They're starting to sell it cheap in the book-stores now, so please go out and buy one or borrow one. Set aside some time to read it. You'll be glad you did.

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More The Shack reviews
review by . July 10, 2010
   The Shack by William Young has been on the New York Times Bestsellers List for Paperback Trade Fiction for more than 100 weeks now (and was even #1 in amazon.com’s spot in fiction).  I was excited when I got my hands on a copy because it is a Christian book that topped book lists and is even compared to Paul Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress.  I knew I just had to read it and find out for myself what the fuss was all about. …
review by . July 01, 2010
I was given this book from a friend. They told me it was a true story, once I read it I researched that and found out I was correct in my doubts. It's not. I'm not sure where the mistaken view that it is came from. This book has some very out-there views on Christianity and God. It had a few things right, such as God being both 3 and 1, but it personalized each of the 3 parts of God. None were what traditional Christians would have thought. One was even a woman. It's oftenly said that …
review by . July 16, 2010
The Shack requires more than one reading.  You get a little more out of each reading.  It can be hard to digest, comparing the Trinity to real life people.  Whether or not the story is true is hard to say.  However it opens your eyes to the power of forgiveness and understanding that even the most horrible tragedies of our lives can bring about some good.           
review by . July 02, 2010
This is by far my favorite book of all times.  It's basically one mans opinion of what God is really like.  It explains how God truly loves us and how he uses trials to develop other areas in other peoples lives.  This book caused an emotional reaction for me.  The story was sad, dramatic, and happy all mixed into one story.  It truly affected my life and I believe I've changed dramatically because of it.
review by . July 05, 2010
This book was recommended to me by several people, and when I finally had the chance to read it I could understand why. A man struggling with the mysterious death of his little girl and trying to piece his life back together gets a strange message in his mailbox from God and meets Him in the place where his daughter was murdered,to discover not only the answers to his questions but a whole new perspective on this life here on Earth and the life to come.   …
Quick Tip by . July 15, 2010
Can you create a perfect god, or what you think is perfect? P. Young did it, and probably we will have a generation that prefers to read this book instead of Bible. It`s better with no devil, no hell.."?!?!"
Quick Tip by . July 15, 2010
William P. Young created a therapy from himself when he wrote this book, but also created an over optimist way of christianism. Audacious, he takes God, Jesus and Holy Spirit inside a fiction that is not connected with the bible. There is no devil, no one goes to hell. Do you know what is called when you create a god in your own way? Idolatry. Do you know what is called when you twist the words of God? Heresy. The Shack: brings confort The Bible: brings repentance
Quick Tip by . July 09, 2010
Beautiful book. My sister sent it to me, and I have since passed it on to others. Even if you are not a very religious person, this gets you to thinking, and believing.
Quick Tip by . July 02, 2010
A life altering book. Had to put it down at one point and just cry for all the misconceived ideas I had in the past. Highly recommended.
Quick Tip by . July 02, 2010
great book
About the reviewer
Sheila Deeth ()
Ranked #44
Sheila Deeth's first novel, Divide by Zero, has just been released in print and ebook formats. Find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, etc. Her spiritual speculative novellas can be found at … more
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Wiki

When the imagination of a writer and the passion of a theologian cross-fertilize the result is a novel on the order of "The Shack." This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress" did for his. It's that good! --Eugene Peterson, Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology, Regent College, Vancouver, B.C.

Finally! A guy-meets-God Novel that has literary integrity and spiritual daring. "The Shack" cuts through the cliches of both religion and bad writing to reveal something compelling and beautiful about life's integral dance with the Divine. This story reads like a prayer--like the best kind of prayer, filled with sweat and wonder and transparency and surprise. When I read it, I felt like I was fellowshipping with God. If you read one work of fiction this year, let this be it. --Mike Morrell, zoecarnate.com

"The Shack" is a one of a kind invitation to journey to the very heart of God. Through my tears and cheers, I have been indeed transformed by the tender mercy with which William Paul Young opened the veil that too often separated me from God and from myself. With every page, the complicated do's and don't that distort a relationship into a religion were washed away as I understood Father, Son and Holy Spirit for the first time in my life. --Patrick M. Roddy, ABC News Emmy Award winning producer
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Details

ISBN-10: 0964729237
ISBN-13: 978-0964729230
Author: William P. Young
Genre: Religion & Spirituality, Mystery & Thrillers, Literature & Fiction
Publisher: Windblown Media
Date Published: July 1, 2008
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