The Shack by William P. Young was a quick read for a daily or someone who enjoys reading. It was pretty evident by the second Chapter of this book that it was going to be an emotional rollercoaster for the reader. The story is about the Phillips family. The family sets out on a camping trip which is a regular occurrence for the family to a close by national park. The mother “Nan” had to stay behind for work so the father “Mack” and his daughters “Kate” and “Missy’ and his older son “Josh” decide to go ahead without her.
The weekend starts off with all having a great time cooking, hiking, singing, and canoeing. They make some friends at a few nearby campsites and start spending time together due to kids being about the same ages. On the last day while packing to head home the youngest daughter, Missy, goes missing while attention was diverted due to a small canoeing accident. Missy was coloring nearby and was “poof” Just gone. Everyone including police and camp wildlife rangers are called in. After much searching they find missy’s coloring book, her dress drenched in blood and the vehicle used to commit the crime.
A funeral for her proceeds and the father is totally torn apart by his daughter’s disappearance. That is until he receives a letter from “Papa” which is what his wife calls God. He is told to return to the Shack in the woods that they located the dress. So he lies and proceeds to go without knowingly telling his wife. When he gets there a large African American woman opens the door who is the alter ego of God, Saraya who is also known as the Holy Spirit and Jesse who is Jesus. They test Mack’s faith, his belief system, and his love for them.
He is in a dark place and is having a hard time believing in a higher power since Missy’s death. They each have many conversations with him about the incident, is questioning of their plans, and life in general. On the last day there He is lead to Missy’s body in a cave grave located up a small mountain side. Mack is given the choice to stay there with the trinity or to go home in his new found faith to his family. He decides to return home. On the way out of town he is hit by a drunk driver and is air flighted to a hospital. He is in a coma.
His family come and is close by along with many friends and family members. His memory is gone and is having a difficult time recalling events. When he comes to he awakens to find he never returned to the hack at all. But can recall the events clear as day. He had a talk with his daughter Kate and explained how the incident with Missy was not her fault and she did nothing wrong. He is released from the hospital a few weeks later and tells his wife about the “dream” They return to the shack along with law enforcement and a friend to locate missy’s body.
His wife and friends questioned his encounter with God but could find no other way he would have the information that he did. His faith was renewed and he was a new man. This book was chalked full of theological issues. I as first amazed how the young girl Missy related the story of the Indian princess to that of Jesus. She asked many questions related to this that her dad who was lacking in his own faith tried to answer to the best of his ability. “It was about a father’s only child and him sacrificing him for others. (Young pg 29) It is apparent this early in the book that the children are influenced by their mother on religious issues and that the father is uncomfortable discussing it with them. His faith is wavering long before the was very bitter and quoted scripture ” Oh, God why have you forsaken me. He believed that God had left Jesus alone to die on the cross; Just as Missy was alone. She confirms that he was never alone and neither was his daughter. Both were well aware that God was with them every second. God doesn’t make or let bad things or sins happen to us they Just happen and are part of life.
She is unhappy with people when they do happen but is not in control of that particular moment in time. God never leaves their side. His theology is questioned many times throughout the book but the one that sticks out the most to me is when he and Jesse go for a walk and hey here all the animals, creatures, and all the marvels of the world. And Jesse says “incredible I never get tired of this” and Mack’s response is even though you created it? And Jesses responds “l created it as the word, before the word became flesh.
So even though I created this, I see it as a human. And I must say it is impressive! ” (109) I think this gives Mack a feeling for how Jesse is in awe with his creations and us even though we were his creation. He had never encountered it as a human, and in all its glory. Mack feels his love and appreciation for the world that he sacrificed so much or without ever knowing or seeing it. Grentz said in his book that the bible and scripture were the way we should related not only to God but to others in our kingdom that God created.
Mack’s entire life and faith changes throughout this book it gives life new meaning for him and his relationships, not only with God but with everyone around him. I loved the fact that before left the shack he Joined in the Lord’s Supper with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. The Lord’s Supper is a renewal of one’s spirit and it was his last meal with them. Wesley would have been impressed ith the fact that the author included that in the book. It moved me to tears. The Reviews on this book were quite mixed. Some loved it while others hated it and Just quit reading it all together.
Which I feel is unfair because of the ending and how it pulled everything in the book together. I do feel like the middle had a lot more “fluff’ than was needed to portray the story in the same light. It went into many details about the land in the beginning that I didn’t feel really needed to be included. I loved the book, and would recommend it to friends to read. If they are questioning heir faith or theology it would be perfect to read. I feel this being a novel has a bit more of a mystery or non-fiction feel to it than fiction normally would have.
The foreword was very informative in closing the story. The characters seem real and life like, I could relate to them. The emotions were deep for the reader and the narrator. Over all I loved that this book was assigned to the class and wouldn’t of read it otherwise if I had Just read the reviews on it. I think some didn’t give it the consideration it deserves. I agree with the reviews that it could have been a shorter ead, with less realistic details but I think that in a way those added to the story as well.
I enjoyed all of this book and will read it again and recommend it to family now that I own it. Works Cited “Elim Pentecostal Church, York. ” Elim Pentecostal Church York. N. p. , n. d. Web. 01 Dec. 2013. N. p. , sept. -oct. 2012. web. “Latest News On The Shack. ” What Others Are Saying About The Shack. N. p. , n. d. web. 01 Dec. 2013. VanKrieken, Hans. “A Critique The Shack by William Young. ” Ezinehttp:// EzineArticles. comnexpert=Hans_VanKrieken. N. p. , 2011. Web. “Vintage Youth. ” Vintage Youth. N. p. , n. d. Web. 01 Dec. 2013.