Book Review: The Shack by William P. Young

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Dealing with death is hard, the death of a family member is even harder. When my dad passed on 3 years ago, I struggled to cope emotionally.

I went through grief, pain, sadness, sorrow. It was hard. It is a pain I will never wish to anyone.

The death of a loved one alters your perspective about life.

I got this book as a gift after my dad passed on. I don’t recall reading it immediately, partly because generally I struggle to read novels and primarily because I was mourning and I couldn’t focus on many things during the year after he passed on.

And then after some time, I started reading the book and I never stopped turning the pages.

The Shack is a Christian novel that seeks to provide answers to the always timely question “Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?”

The story begins by taking us 4 years back. Mack’s young daughter, Missy, was abducted during a family vacation. Though her body was never found, the police did find evidence in an abandoned shack to prove that she had been brutally murdered by a notorious serial killer who preyed on young girls.

As the story begins, Mack, receives a note from God [known in this story as Papa].

Papa invites Mack to return to this shack for a time together. Though uncertain of what to expect, Mack visits the scene of the crime and there experiences a weekend-long encounter with God, or, more properly, with the Godhead.

I’m not going to spoil the story for you by summarizing the entire book.

There is very little action in The Shack and the bulk of the book is dialog. The majority of the dialog occurs as the members of the Trinity communicate with Mack, though occasionally the author offers glimpses into their unique relationships with one another.

Mack, has been given the opportunity to meet with God so he could learn to deal with his grief, his overwhelming pain and anger resulting from the death of his daughter.

The book goes deeper in an attempt to answer Mack’s plenty of questions regarding God, where was God when his daughter was abducted and why does He allow bad things to happen to good people.

Rating

9/10

The story is engaging, although at the beginning I was a bit confused when God was portrayed as a female black American, but I then remembered that we are made in the imagine of God and therefore God can assume the form of any person.

As a novel, the story quickly pulled me in and kept me turning pages. It is a quite heartwarming and satisfying work of fiction.

It is a thought-provoking book that is worth reading as a way into thinking about suffering and God’s role in the world.

I would recommend this book for one reason: If you are going through a difficult phase in your life due to the loss of a loved one, and you are wondering where is God in all this, then this book attempts to answer to that question.

It did answer questions I had for God after the passing of my father.

Favourite Quotes

  • “Each relationship between two persons is absolutely unique. That is why you cannot love two people the same. It simply is not possible. You love each person differently because of who they are and the uniqueness that they draw out of you.”
  • “Don’t ever discount the wonder of your tears. They can be healing waters and a stream of joy. Sometimes they are the best words the heart can speak.”

  • “I suppose that since most of our hurts come through relationships so will our healing, and I know that grace rarely makes sense for those looking in from the outside.”
  • “Submission is not about authority and it is not obedience; it is all about relationships of love and respect.”

  • “Pain has a way of clipping our wings and keeping us from being able to fly.”
  • “You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but a the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you.”
  • “I don’t need to punish people for sin. Sin is its own punishment, devouring you from the inside. It’s not my purpose to punish it; it’s my joy to cure it.”

  • “Life takes a bit of time and a lot of relationship.”
  • “God’s voice had been reduced to paper, and even that paper had to be moderated and deciphered by the proper authorities and intellect.”
  • “Jesus?” he whispered as his voice choked “I feel so lost”A hand reached out and squeezed his, and didn’t let go. “I know Mack. But it’s not true. I am with you and I’m not lost. I’m sorry it feels that way, but hear me clearly. You are not lost.”

     

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