26 January 2011

THE SHACK by WILLIAM P. YOUNG

Strangely enough, this was one of the first book I ever listed on my To Read shelf on Goodreads. Yet it took me two years to get around to reading it. Partly that is because I have too many books, partly it is because I was afraid to read this book. A guy who goes to a shack and has a conversation with God? A book like that has to be preachy, right? Eventually this book was picked for me by another reader as part of a challenge, and I just have to say "Thanks Wendy T for finally getting me to read this book". I found that I really enjoyed the book. Yes, there is a lot of Christian philosophy in this book, but underneath that is a beautiful story of a man trying to deal with the tragedies in his life. 

The book centers around Mack, a father of 5 living in Oregon. One day he decided to take his three younger children on a weekend camping trip to a favorite spot of theirs. While there, his youngest daughter is kidnapped and all signs indicate that she was murdered. The first part of the book deals with telling this story, which is compelling written and riveting, even though you know what is going to happen. 

The second part of the book is 4 years later when Mack is compelled to revisit the spot of his daughter's death. He ends up spending the weekend back at "the shack" having a conversation with God. To my surprise, I found this part of the book easier to read than I expected. One of my favorite things about this book was the wonderful personalities the author gave to God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. These personifications were my favorite part of the book. I found myself drawn to their human characteristics. This device made me really fly through a part of the book that I was sure was going to be hard to read. 

Another device that the author used was to write the book as if he, the author, was actually recounting a story that a friend had told him and that all of this was based on true events. Unfortunately, this device did not hold up for me. At no time did I feel that this was a true story. It did not make the story any less compelling, though. 

Now we come to the end. This was my only disappointment. I felt everything was just too neatly wrapped up at the end. It was just a little too "perfect" of an end for me. 

All in all, though, a compelling read that is well worth the time and effort.