Book Review – The Shack

Book: The Shack – Author: William Paul Young

Genre: Christian Fiction, Spirituality

Description from Goodreads:

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 his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack’s world forever.

My Review:

I’ll be completely honest, even as a Catholic, I’m not usually comfortable reading Christian books. Most of them come across as ‘holier-than-thou’ and really pushy; like, “I’m right, you’re wrong, and if you would only let God into your life, maybe you wouldn’t be such a horrible person”. Yeah, there’s a reason there’s such a stigma about Christians these days. :/

This book is not one of those books. Yes, it’s super religious. I mean God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are actually main characters and the entire book is about Mack learning to love and believe in his faith again. But it really comes across more as a family conversation rather than a push to get people to believe in Christianity. It’s very much a “we’re here for you and we love you, please don’t push us away” kind of novel. It was touching and honestly something I needed to hear in my life right now.

For those of you nervous about the kidnapped daughter plot…yes, it is very sad. But they don’t really dwell on the details of what happened to her. They do discuss her being taken and then give closure to that part of the story, but it’s not the focus of the book. This is a story about Mack, not his daughter.

On the technical side, I thought the writing was really good. The descriptions of everything happening at the shack were beautifully done and the dialogue was very believable. Dialogue can be tricky even in the simplest of books…and this was NOT a simple book. There were some very deep questions being raised and the author answered them as thoroughly and understandably as he could, considering he is not actually God.

And yes, I understand that these answers are just his opinion. Everyone has their own and that is completely fine. I felt that a lot of what he said aligned with my personal beliefs and that’s why the book really felt true and comforting to me. I would recommend this book for people who are either of the Christian faith or want to learn about our beliefs. And if you end up thinking it’s all a load of crap, that’s totally ok too. 😉

Similar Books:

Not necessarily religious books, but books that make you explore what it means to be you.

Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit – Daniel Quinn

Life of Pi – Yann Martel

The Five People You Meet in Heaven – Mitch Albom