9 May 2009

Review: THE SHACK, William P. Young

I attempted to listen to this as an Audible download. It was recorded by Oasis Audio and narrated by Roger Mueller. 8 hrs 30 mins. The book was published in mid 2008.


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.

You may have thought from the synopsis that THE SHACK is crime fiction. But around about a third of the way through it becomes undisguised Christian polemic, a discussion of difficult questions about the nature of God. So if you are a practising Christian it may be just your cup of tea, but for me whatever I thought it had going for it in the first quarter just evaporated in the middle and THE SHACK became my first DNF for 2009.

In fact, I really feel duped, even angry, to have spent as long as I did (nearly 3 hours) listening to it. I wish I had read the synopsis more carefully, but really that wouldn't have helped much. Perhaps I should have done what I usually avoid - read some reviews with spoilers in them. I wish I had read what this review does for you - tells you that whatever this book is, it is NOT crime fiction. And one thing I know - I won't be looking for another book by this author.

My rating: 0

Do your own research, read the Fireword and Chapter One online here.

Other reviews to check:


gautami tripathy said...

I have seen this book everywhere. I was thinking of getting it. Now reading your review, I know won't! Thanks!

Melissa O. said...

I can understand why many people wouldn't like this book. I happened to like it (and reviewed it here), despite its faults. You might consider balancing your links to negative opinions with some of more positive reviews, so that people get both sides of the story...

Kerrie said...

Melissa, I'm glad you enjoyed the book. I do understand where the book is coming from, but the point I'm making is that it is not crime fiction, despite the way the publishers have decided to market it. I did not deliberately choose to link to negative reviews, those were the ones that emerged when I searched. Thanks for dropping in.

Kerrie said...

Glad to be service Gautami. It really concerned me that the book gave every apearance of being crime fiction. I just wanted to prevent people making the same mistake as me.

Bernadette said...

I must admit I was surprised when you said you were going to read this one Kerrie but I figured either you didn't know what it was really about or you did and you'd hidden your interest in that kind of thing. Either way I figured I'd keep my trap shut.

The book was the subject of much discussion at Good Reads and a few other places I hang out a little while ago and everything I heard about it made me run screaming in the other direction.

And I agree with you that the publishers have a lot to answer for in terms of their marketing. I don't care if someone wants to write or publish a heavily spiritual book but I do get annoyed when people try to pretend it is something other than that.

Teddyree said...

Glad I didnt race out and get this one, like you I was under the impression it was crime fiction which I love. Thanks for your honesty!

Kerrie said...

I'm not sure how I missed out on finding out what it was really about Bernadette, but I'm sorry I did. There was a time in my life when I would have welcomed it probably, but not now. And I'm not the only one obviously who was misled by the blurb. What were they (the publishers) thinking of? If I ever come across another book published by them I will certainly be taking great care.

Maxine Clarke said...

I read a lot about this book (unavoidably) in US publications, eg PW, about its first publication, so I was in no doubt that it was religion. I have simply tuned out so don't even know if it is published in the UK yet as I ignore religious books as a category I am not interested in.

Kerrie said...

I think I must have been asleep Maxine, or just avoided reading reviews and then forgot why.

tracysbooknook.com said...

I have to say that "The Shack" by William P. Young was a very thought provoking read.

After reading the book, I was left pondering several things about it – which is a true testament to the book's worth. I had several questions on the validity of some of the descriptions of God but I had to humbly admit that there may be no answers this side of heaven for how God presents Himself to each individual.

I posted a more in-depth review of this book on my own blog www.tracysbooknook.com.


Ceska said...

The Shack is one of the most powerful books I have ever read. Anyone with an idea of God as an old man with a long beard who doesn't really care about human beings has GOT to read this book. William Young has described God and the Holy Spirit better than any doctor of the Church could, in language everyone can understand. My friend, Melissa, gave me this book after she read it, and now I understand why she said she was going to reread it with a pencil and hi-liter. Some of Young's ideas are so unique and simple that you'll want to remeber them always and refer to them often.


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