Movies Books Music Food Tv Shows Technology Politics Video Games Parenting Fashion Green Living more >

Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » The Shack » User review

The Shack

A book by William P. Young

< read all 26 reviews

Intriguing story, but don't accept it as gospel truth...

  • Oct 14, 2008
OK... So I'm a bit behind the curve on this one. Already nearly 1600 reviews out on Amazon for The Shack by William P. Young. Needless to say, it took a bit of time before I got to the top of the library hold list. It didn't take me long to read the story, as I found it intriguing. It's a different slant and method for looking at how God works. Theologically, I can't say I fully agreed with it. Still, I think it was a worthwhile read.

Mackenzie Allen Philips, or Mack to nearly everyone, has lived through a trauma that every parent fears and dreads. While on a camping trip with his kids, he has to dive into a lake to save two children from drowning in an overturned canoe. But while everyone is focused on that, a serial child killer grabs his young daughter from their campsite and disappears. The authorities are able to follow the trail to an abandoned cabin deep in the woods, where they find the girl's bloodstained dress. But beyond that, nothing... Mack has no real closure, and "The Great Sorrow" weighs heavy on him over the following months and years.. During a winter trek to his mailbox, he gets a note inviting him back to the cabin to meet with "Papa", which was his wife and daughter's nickname for God. He wants to write it off as a cruel hoax, but he can't let it die. Either he'll go up to an empty cabin, meet with the killer, or come face to face with God.

Once he arrives at the cabin, he finds it totally undisturbed from the last time he was there. In frustration and anger he lashes out, but a strange thing happens. The site is instantly transformed into a spring day, a tidy cabin, and three visitors who are there to show him things he can't even imagine. Over the course of the weekend, Papa, Jesus, and Sarayu reveal the power of God in ways that bring Mack to a point where he can finally heal and forgive. He's still not sure how he can explain all of this to people when he gets back, especially given the twist at the end of the story...

From a fiction perspective, I really liked the book. Mack seemed very real, and you could easily understand his anguish at failing to protect his family. I also appreciated some of the "color" that Young was able to add to theological concepts that too often remain more abstract than practical. It made me think more than I normally do when reading fiction. Unfortunately, some of that colorful theology seemed to be more new-age'ish than traditional. Casting God the Father as an African-American woman who is cooking in the kitchen was a scene right out of the Matrix. Using The Shack as a Bible replacement would *not* be a good thing...

For me, I'd rate it a bit higher than I might rate some other book that tried this approach. I wouldn't hesitate to read it again knowing what I know now. It'll challenge many of your mental images and mindsets of who God is and how He works. Just remember that you *should* challenge it...

What did you think of this review?

Fun to Read
Post a Comment
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
Thomas Duff ()
Ranked #43
Thomas Duff, aka "Duffbert", is a long-time member of the Lotus community. He's primarily focused on the development side of the Notes/Domino environment, currently working for a large insurance … more
Consider the Source

Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.

Your ratings:
rate more to improve this
About this book


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
view wiki


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
Polls with this book
2666: A Novel

Rate these Bestsellers!


First to Review
© 2014 Lunch.com, LLC All Rights Reserved
Lunch.com - Relevant reviews by real people.
This is you!
Ranked #
Last login
Member since