Book: William P Young “The Shack”

the-shackA tricky one to review, as I know lots of people who like this book and I found it a poorly written waste of time.

As a novel the plot is more or less OK, but too simple and uninvolving so it is really all about the encounter between Mack (the main protagonist) and God. So something happens – Mack spends time with God, gets sorted out – things are resolved.  The ‘something’ that happens and is resolved at the end just isn’t written well enough.

So, let’s face it the only thing that has got anyone talking about this is a story about Mack spending three days in a Shack with God who [spoiler alert] is a big black woman who he calls Papa – Jesus is there, and the personification of the Spirit so the trinity is “explained” and experienced.  Mack gets some real intimate care and love from a physically present God, finds himself relaxing, understanding, changing his life, yada yada yada…

Each conversation Mack has with any of the God-head, or time spent with him/them seems to follow the same sort of pattern…

  • Mack feels this is unusual
  • God explains something
  • Mack doesn’t get it
  • God explains it in a slightly different more wordy way
  • Mack gets it, laughs / crys / forgives someone or himself / deals with something
  • Mack then remembers the ‘something’ and “The Great Sadness” comes over him again

Repetitive, unrealistic an boring!  And why does the author keep using this cryptic “The Great Sadness” phrase rather than simply talking about depression.

Other than not thinking it is a very well written book I find it difficult to figure out what this is, is it a work of fiction, theology or fantasy?

  • It doesn’t sit right with me calling it fiction because God is real so ‘could’ work in these ways.
  • I don’t think it is totally theologically sound, because God doesn’t act in these ways.
  • Christian fantasy – I suppose, some kind of “I wish God would do this”

There are some nice moments in the story, some funny interactions between Mack and God but mostly I just found it wordy, overly self-worthy, unengaged and boring.

One Response to Book: William P Young “The Shack”

  1. rache says:

    Disneyfied cliche ridden and poor prose.

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