Book Review: “The Shack” By William Paul Young

the shack

With over 18 million copies sold worldwide, William Paul Young’s “The Shack” is a fiction bestseller.

It’s a story about what man would do when face-to-face with God.

What questions could he ask? What explanations could he demand for his broken heart?

The story

When Mackenzie (Mack) Allen Philips’ youngest daughter, Missy, is abducted during a family vacation in Oregon, Mac’s world is turned upside down.

Suspicion points to the Little Ladykiller, who leaves ladybird pins as calling cards.

The story doesn’t make any false promises for Missy’s survival. Evidence of her murder is soon discovered in a remote abandoned shack in the Oregon wilderness.

Fast forward four years, and Mack is in the midst of his Great Sadness. Missy’s murder haunts him.

Life goes on, yet it stopped when his daughter was cruelly snatched from him. God has always been part of Mack’s life, but now he only pays lip service.

One snowy winter’s day, Mack receives a mysterious note, seemingly from God himself, inviting him to return to the shack.

The doorway to his darkest nightmare is now ajar.

When theology meets fiction

The great thing about God is, whether you are a believer or not, everyone has an opinion. It’s only right to question, if there is a God, why there is so much suffering in life?

Wouldn’t a living, loving God have protected Missy?

The book offers some answers, offering insight into the heart of God the Creator. Mack feels pain because God allows it. Mack feels love because that, by its very essence, is the spirit of God.

Though “The Shack” is written from Mack’s perspective, I often felt I was in a celestial court, and some of the theological references had me scratching my head.

At times I wanted to read more about Mack the man, and how what happened to the family affected not only him, but his wife and other children, too.

I wanted to feel more from the human side of the story.

Ironically, that side of the story comes through God’s personality rather than Mack’s.

The book’s message equates to trust and forgiveness, and like any healthy relationship you can’t have one without the other.

Ultimately, “The Shack” is a love story between God and man.

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Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process, which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one tip to new writers is “write from your imagination”.