The Shack by William Paul Young

The Shack

Mackenzie Allen Philips' youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation, and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his "Great Sadness," Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend.Against hi...

Title:The Shack
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0964729237
Edition Language:English
Number of Pages:252 pages

The Shack Reviews

  • Christie

    First off this will be lengthy so don’t feel you have to read it

    .

    This is a hard book to review because you pretty much have to separate it into two parts. The novel, and the theological.

    This man is not a writer. As far as the novel aspect of this book, I don't personally believe it is well written. Both the descriptions and dialogue don't ring true to me. But if delve into a little of the back story regarding this author you find that he never intended this book to be published. After experienci

    First off this will be lengthy so don’t feel you have to read it

    .

    This is a hard book to review because you pretty much have to separate it into two parts. The novel, and the theological.

    This man is not a writer. As far as the novel aspect of this book, I don't personally believe it is well written. Both the descriptions and dialogue don't ring true to me. But if delve into a little of the back story regarding this author you find that he never intended this book to be published. After experiencing several tragedies in his life he spent a lot of time trying to figure out who God is and with the encouragement of his wife wrote this novel as a gift to his children. Friends read it and encouraged him to have it published.

    As far as the theological aspect goes I think he presents God in a way that challenges our notions of who exactly we think he is. It seems to be done in a deliberate way and to be honest it sometimes made me uncomfortable. This was written by someone who believes in the Trinity but was making attempts to show how they function separately. All of the characterization of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit and their interactions with each other felt off to me. However the conversations they have with the main character provided some amazing insight to me as to the love God has for us and just exactly how arrogant we can be in our judgements of God's decisions whether those judgements be conscious or not.

    Here are a couple condensed conversations that particularly spoke to me:

    Jesus asks the main character what he is afraid of.

    “Well, I’m afraid of looking like an idiot... I imagine that–“

    “Exactly,” Jesus interrupted. “You imagine. Such a powerful ability, the imagination! That power alone makes you so like me. But without wisdom, imagination is a cruel taskmaster. If I may prove my case, do you think that humans were designed to live in the present or the past or the future?”

    The main character responses with the present.

    Jesus says “So tell me, where do you spend most of your time in your mind, in your imagination?”

    The main character replies “I suppose I would have to say that I spend very little time in the present. For me, I spend a big piece in the past, but most of the rest of the time, I am trying to figure out the future.”

    Jesus responds “Not unlike most people. When I dwell with you, I do so in the present - I live in the present. Not the past, although much can be remembered and learned by looking back, but only for a visit, not an extended stay. And for sure I do not dwell in the future you visualize or imagine. Do you realize that your imagination of the future, which is almost always dictated by fear of some kind, rarely, if ever, pictures me there with you?

    It is your desperate attempt to get some control over something you can’t. It is impossible for you to take power over the future because it isn’t even real, nor will it ever be real. You try and play God, imagining the evil that you fear becoming reality, and then you try and make plans and contingencies to avoid what you fear.

    You do this because you don’t believe. You don’t know that I love you. The person who lives by their fears will not find freedom in my love. I am not talking about rational fears regarding legitimate dangers, but imagined fears, and especially those into the future. To the degree that those fears have a place in your life you neither believe I am good nor know deep in your heart that I love you. You sing about it; you talk about it, but you don’t know it.”

    Another one where God is speaking:

    “Nobody knows what horrors I have saved the world from cause people can’t see what never happened. All evil flows from independence, and independence is your choice. If I were to simply revoke all the choices of independence, the world as you know it would cease to exist and love would have no meaning. This world is not a playground where I keep all my children free from evil. Evil is the chaos of this age that you brought to me, but it will not have the final say. Now it touches everyone that I love, those who follow me and those who don’t. If I take away the consequences of people’s choices, I destroy the possibility of love. Love that is forced is no love at all....

    ...one of the reasons it makes no sense to you is because you have such a small view of what it means to be human. You and this Creation are incredible, whether you understand it or not. You are wonderful beyond imagination. Just because you make horrendous and destructive choices does not mean you deserve less respect for what you inherently are - the pinnacle of my Creation and the center of my affection.”

    All in all I’m very glad I read this book. No one knows the mind of God, but I appreciated this man’s insight into the love God has for us.

  • Kim♥

    Having had such high hopes for this book, I was sadly disappointed about its content, being for the most part simply unbiblical. Yes, there were poignant scenes and emotional moments that moved me to tears- but that does not tip the scales against all of the errors slipped in and truths that were twisted. Being protective especially of new Christians, I strongly caution anyone about reading it. This book should be read with much discernment.

    Please read the Bible and learn about the Way, the Trut

    Having had such high hopes for this book, I was sadly disappointed about its content, being for the most part simply unbiblical. Yes, there were poignant scenes and emotional moments that moved me to tears- but that does not tip the scales against all of the errors slipped in and truths that were twisted. Being protective especially of new Christians, I strongly caution anyone about reading it. This book should be read with much discernment.

    Please read the Bible and learn about the Way, the Truth, and the Life! There is nothing good about this book that the Lord can't teach you without it.

    I'd like to write a more thorough review when I have time. For now, here is a good one to read:

    9-1-08 Update:

    Friends, I still do not recommend this book. Here are a few more articles that may help you understand why:

    11-10-08 Reply to "It's just fiction" comments.

    07-26-17 UPDATE:

    Hi guys! I've meant to come back to this review, especially since the movie came out, but I haven't had the time or energy. Yes, OF COURSE God can use anything to reach people. Nothing is impossible with Him! Years ago, He used the first few chapters of a book to remind me of His love for me and bring me back to Him. I stopped reading it once I realized it was a prosperity gospel book, but it had served its purpose. I wouldn't recommend reading that book to anyone, and I don't recommend anyone read this book either. Why? Because it preaches (yes, preaches) a different gospel and does not line up with the Word of God.

    A close family member of mine was one of the first people to read this book. She and the author talked back and forth at length about the theology of it. He wrote it to share his views and theology with his children and it got around and became a book. My family member gave it to our whole family and told us what a life-changing book it had been for her. She highlighted it and scribbled in the margins like a Bible. This was a pivotal and instrumental book in her life. I'll just say I have seen what the fruit of Universalism is. Live like hell and go to heaven, even "murderers are God's children", it was all forgiven at the cross--without repentance. "If Jesus doesn't judge me, then who the f*** do you think you are?" No, I'm sorry to say this is not just a book of fiction. This book has led many away from the true Gospel.

    So many are aching to know God. To know and FEEL the love of God. God is love. But God is also righteous, just, and holy. Universalism is not the Good News. The Good News is that God loved the world so much He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to take the sin of the world upon Himself and sacrifice His perfect, sinless life and body for us to make atonement for our sins and rescue us from the penalty of sin, hell--but we must believe in Him, choose Him, repent of our sins, and submit to His loving authority.

    "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)

    "Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things." (Luke 24:45-48)

    "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is LORD and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10:9)

    He must be our Savior AND Lord.

    "And He said to all, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it." (Luke 9:23-24)

    As an aside, the disrespectful way Jesus was portrayed drove me nuts. He was God in the flesh, not a mere clumsy human. ...I cannot go into all of the errors in this book today. I don't have the time. It reminded me of when Jesus was tempted in the desert and satan twisted scripture at every turn. Jesus, as the Word of God, was more than able to contradict the enemy's lies and silence him with scripture.

    In response to why I delete some comments... Way back when I opened my private Goodreads account, I thought my reviews were only for my private Goodreads friends. Amazon only had two negative reviews of this book at the time (I read it before it really took off) so I figured I'd put this out there for my close friends. I was taken aback when people started posting on my review...many were furious with me and slammed me for being judgmental and bigoted. People who didn't know me in real life. The hilarity of calling me of all people judgmental and bigoted would have made me laugh if it hadn't make me so mad. Ha! Some members would friend me only to send me awful messages and I had to request Goodreads to block one particularly vicious member. So yes, if someone is condescending or rude, I delete their comment. If they are so off-the-wall, I don't have time to reply, I delete their comment. Frankly, I find venomous comments ironic considering what the book teaches. They can spew hate on their own review. Thankfully, I have the authority to delete comments on mine. If you want to post about how your religious degrees and pedigrees or experiences give you the right to belittle me or "people like" me, do it on your own review. None of that will change my "narrow" mind. God has given me peace and discernment about this book. I have four kids and little time or patience for anonymous disrespect and online arguments.

    I understand how attached we become to our books--especially the ones special to our hearts. I can see how this would be that special book to some. However, I stand by my original review. God bless you all and guide you to Himself.

  • Amanda J

    I was recommended this book by several people who found it both moving and fresh. So Mr. Young certainly has an audience for this glib encounter between Mack, the “everyman,” and God. I, however, must not be the intended audience. Despite the fact millions of copies have been sold and the book has climbed its way to the top of the New York Times Bestsellers List, I found

    to be preachy and fake to the point of insincerity.

    The main characters are so flat and one-dimensional that one ca

    I was recommended this book by several people who found it both moving and fresh. So Mr. Young certainly has an audience for this glib encounter between Mack, the “everyman,” and God. I, however, must not be the intended audience. Despite the fact millions of copies have been sold and the book has climbed its way to the top of the New York Times Bestsellers List, I found

    to be preachy and fake to the point of insincerity.

    The main characters are so flat and one-dimensional that one can barely believe they are in need of redemption. By all accounts Nan is the perfect wife. So much so, she harbors no ill-will or judgments against her husband, even when their young daughter is kidnapped while in Mack’s care. The rational among us realize that it was not Mack’s fault young Missy was snatched by a serial killer, but one can hardly suspend their disbelief that in the face of such tragedy, the family confronts little of the typical doubt and blame so many have felt under similar circumstances. Granted occasionally guilt creeps to the surface, as Missy’s sister Kate becomes sullen and silent, blaming herself for her sister’s fate, but all in all the family appears to do quite well.

    I supposed this shouldn’t surprise the reader, however. Mack has already overcome many trials, including horrible abuse at the hands of his father. In spite of leaving home at a tender age, Mack becomes educated, successful and a wonderful husband and father. Sound too good to be true? Don’t worry; the author is Mack’s long time friend and confidant, chosen by Mack to write this detailed account of his spiritual transformation. Or is he?

    In the forward, Mr. Young journals about his friendship with Mack, his struggle to truly believe Mack’s story and ultimately his decision to help Mack turn his experience into a book. But wait, this book is fiction, and despite the author William Young inserting himself into the story as the gun-wielding, jeep-owning “Willie,” this is not a memoir, it’s a novel. A literary device or dishonest intent, I’ll let you decide, but at very least it’s horribly misleading, lending credibility where it is not due.

    But that’s not the point is it? This book is “bringing a fresh perspective to the theological scene.” But I didn’t find it fresh or even slightly startling. Could it be that this #1 bestseller is actually dull and trite? Absolutely. Mr. Young attempts to grab the reader by making God the Father appear to Mack as a woman. Are you completely blown away? Unable to wrap your mind around the religious consequences? No? I didn’t think so, because at the very least, you’ve taken 7th grade Ancient Civilizations and you know that yes, there have been people, in fact, entire cultures that have pictured god as a woman. More recently, the cult classic film, Dogma, after a series of affronts on Christian assumptions (disgruntled angels wreaking havoc, descendants of Jesus walking among us), reveals that God is a girl!

    Oh, but Mr. Young goes a step further; his God is not just a woman, but a black woman. Does that make any difference? It shouldn’t. Young is assuming that our white Protestant values will be affronted by this depiction, making his novel all that more shocking and controversial. I for one am offended; certainly God can be represented as an african-american woman, but I do not find these ideas mind-blowing. The fact that Mr. Young does shows how little he really understands. His caricature of God- for that’s what it is- seems to only use proper grammar about 90% of the time (Is this what you think black people sound like, Mr. Young?) and his depictions of Jesus and the Holy Spirit fall flat. They are neither engaging nor inspiring.

    Only the scenes with the personification of God’s wisdom seem to have what this book is lacking – passion. Mack finally reveals what the rest of us have been feeling all along, anger – anger that a small child like Missy could be brutally murdered by an evil man, who gets away.

    And that brings me to “The Missy Project.” At the end of the book, right after the acknowledgements, the author tells us about this special project, and I think to myself, “Finally, after 250 pages, here’s something I can believe in. The author is going to donate all of his money from this horrible book to helping find missing children.” But I was disappointed – yet again. “The Missy Project” is just some strange scheme to sell more books. Yes, that’s right, Mr. Young lists ways you can help him get more copies of his book into circulation. Are you kidding me?

    And so I end this review with a challenge. If you really want to be spiritually transformed, don’t spend your money buying this book. Instead, go out and help someone in need or donate to a worthy cause.

    I guarantee it will be infinitely more rewarding.

  • Jay

    I know, I know. Everyone loves this book. No fewer than forty-three people asked me "Have you read The Shack yet?"

    Invariably, they responded to my negative response with something along the lines of "You have to! It changed my life! I was full of questions, and life stunk, and then I read the book, and God made sense to me, I understood quantum physics effortlessly, and all of a sudden I could spin flax into gold!"

    So, what I'm about to say is going to make a lot of people pretty angry.

    The Shack

    I know, I know. Everyone loves this book. No fewer than forty-three people asked me "Have you read The Shack yet?"

    Invariably, they responded to my negative response with something along the lines of "You have to! It changed my life! I was full of questions, and life stunk, and then I read the book, and God made sense to me, I understood quantum physics effortlessly, and all of a sudden I could spin flax into gold!"

    So, what I'm about to say is going to make a lot of people pretty angry.

    The Shack appears to me to be an ex-hippie's best attempt at amalgamating God, Dr. Phil, and Oprah. The writing is bad, the story is cheesy, the format is formulaic and cliche, and the theology is spotty and poorly explained at best, and downright heretical at worst.

    I was not impressed. If it makes a lot of people think hard thoughts about God that they'd rather avoid, then I suppose that's fine. I'm just not sure hard thinking should be done at the expense of clear thinking. And I'm certain bad writing is no way to advance good theology (even if this were).

  • Renee

    Pure drivel. This book read like a Betty Crocker recipe gone bad: take one all-American Jesus lovin’/fearing family, add one unexplainable tragedy, mix with equal parts anger , guilt and sadness , bake for three weeks and get a bitter man who has turned his back on God. Alias, no need to give up, because God writes our hero a personalized note, and tells him to meet him in “the shack” (the place of his daughter’s murder), funny thing is, god is a black woman cooking pancakes in the kitchen who s

    Pure drivel. This book read like a Betty Crocker recipe gone bad: take one all-American Jesus lovin’/fearing family, add one unexplainable tragedy, mix with equal parts anger , guilt and sadness , bake for three weeks and get a bitter man who has turned his back on God. Alias, no need to give up, because God writes our hero a personalized note, and tells him to meet him in “the shack” (the place of his daughter’s murder), funny thing is, god is a black woman cooking pancakes in the kitchen who says “you can me god, Yahweh or just plain ol’ Jessie, I answer to all three”. Yes, I said pancakes….I could go on, but it’s just too easy. The lesson of power of forgiveness was demonstrated well, but no better than the Hallmark card I bought my boss when I spilled a whole bottle of red wine on his new suit…..


Top Books is in no way intended to support illegal activity. We uses Search API to find the overview of books over the internet, but we don't host any files. All document files are the property of their respective owners, please respect the publisher and the author for their copyrighted creations. If you find documents that should not be here please report them. Read our DMCA Policies and Disclaimer for more details.