Customer Reviews for

The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

88 out of 92 people found this review helpful.

Best book I've read in 10 years!

I had very mixed feelings about reading a book about God that was on the best seller list and was being sold at Costco and Walmart. When I was given a copy by a good friend, I decided to dive in and see what the fuss was about.

I was shocked at how good it w...
I had very mixed feelings about reading a book about God that was on the best seller list and was being sold at Costco and Walmart. When I was given a copy by a good friend, I decided to dive in and see what the fuss was about.

I was shocked at how good it was, especially given all the negative things people have said about it (bad writing style, odd characters, odd theology, etc.). I found it to be an extraordinarily good depiction of the relationship within the Trinity, what that implys for God's relationship with us, and how God's love reaches out to us in our pain and confusion.

I have been a committed Christian since I was very young, but have struggled for years with the certainty that I could never live up to God's standards. By nature, I have been an intellectual Christian v.s. a relational one, and have always been somewhat suspicious and resistant to relationships of any kind, particularly when they involved religion or God.

The Shack's amazing narratives between Mack and God so captured my heart (where did that come from?!), that I've been on a trek ever since to discover more about who this God is (the theology of the Trinity, etc.), how He works in our lives and how I can rest in his love. Its been an amazing journey!

I highly recommend The Shack. Ignor the negative comments about it and make up your own mind. (Don't take my word for it, or theirs!) What is clear from reading the blogs is that it has touched many people's lives, especially those who have wrestled with loss of loved ones or other personal tragedies. There is also many positive scholarly reviews as well as negative ones (seems to be somewhat a function of vested interests in their own books and teachings). If it speaks to your heart as it did mine, it will be worth everything to you.

posted by 283998 on November 1, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

33 out of 61 people found this review helpful.

Author's voice too loud

The author clearly intended to deliver a theological message to his readers in this modern day allegory. And the message is a good one. God desires a deeply personal relationship with us and he loves us enough to give us the gift of free will. But I felt like Young was ...
The author clearly intended to deliver a theological message to his readers in this modern day allegory. And the message is a good one. God desires a deeply personal relationship with us and he loves us enough to give us the gift of free will. But I felt like Young was beating me over the head with his own personal interpretation of scripture. There was no room for me to contemplate. The author just told me what to think. I liked the message, but I didn't enjoy the book. I understand Young is not a professional writer. He wrote this story for his kids with no intention of being published. Still, it was not a pleasurable reading experience for me.

posted by Erika97 on February 11, 2009

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  • Posted March 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A shamble of a novel

    When I saw the book on the syllabus, I was a bit surprised considering two Henry James's books were listed as well. While reading it, I could see why a major publihing company did not want to touch it and it has nothing to do with the premis, but the style of writing. Young's writing borders between Disney, Biblical,, Christie and Twain giving a confused sense where the author wants the audience to go. Chapter 11, entitled Here Come da Judge, is a turning point in the novel, but Young decreases the effect he could deliver by using a line from Laugh-In. The balance is off along with how he personifies the characters. It is a shamble of a novel in need of some good revision or renovation.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2009

    Not believing the hype

    Every once in a while a book comes along that leads a parade. Eventually, everyone lines up and marches in step without question. No one ever asks, "Hey, where are we going?". This is definitely one of those books. <BR/><BR/>Putting the religious lessons aside and writing as an avid reader, I felt the author hitting me over the head one too many times. His writing was obvious, simplistic and forced. I thought I'd find a good story and a little perspective on God. What I found was a contrived story with zero nuance and a tortured man who finds "God" in a shack. <BR/><BR/>I guess I didn't fall into the shock reaction the author hoped for when he killed off the guy's little girl. And I have a six-year-old daughter, so that should have been like shooting fish in a barrel!<BR/><BR/>I swear this book reads like the beginning of a bad joke: a man walks into a bar. He sees a black woman, a Jewish man and an Asian girl...

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2009

    The Shack

    Depressing

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 17, 2009

    Is this for real?

    Emotional yes - but it is fiction. Many people are thinking this is fact. If you understand religion - you realize that you cannot understand God. Religion by definition is faith. You believe what you believe. But in a book that is suppose to provide answers, MacKenzie's question is never really answered - it is merely deferred. In life - if you can do something - you should do it. I am not saying God should answer my questions. I am saying in the book - the trio of characters protraying God - don't matter of factly answer the question of WHY? Maybe that is why so many people like the book - they never answer the questions they are asked either - therefore they connect with the book. God giving excuses - I am sure that is not the God I know.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2008

    For Christians Only

    I am a believer in God who is not a Christian, and wanted to see what all the fuss was about this book. I was very interested going in, but came out disappointed. I feel that this is simply a book for Christians to feel better about themselves. William Young doesn't know what happens after you die, and neither do you. All of the reviews from people reading this and it changing their lives and reinvigorating their soul is just silly. For those people that were similarly moved who were/are not Christians, you are ridiculous. I just wanted to put this out there, so people like me, who aren't Christians, don't waste their money and time reading this silly fairy tale.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 21, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    A family member loaned "The Shack" to me after a discu

    A family member loaned &quot;The Shack&quot; to me after a discussion about religion. I kept an open mind and read it, but wound up feeling no closer to answer it sought to offer. In order to get the full benefit of &quot;The Shack,&quot; you're required to buy into several concepts about religion, existence and purpose. Once you do, the &quot;Problem of Evil,&quot; the central question the book seeks to answer, can be reconciled.

    That wasn't good enough for me. I wanted a response to the Problem of Evil without preconditions. And that's why &quot;The Shack&quot; didn't work for me. Despite its popularity, it's just a retread of the same Christian ideas about why suffering exists and why God does not intervene.

    &quot;The Shack&quot; boils the argument down to this: Bad things happen because Adam and Eve, after given free will, chose independence. War, crime, murder, poverty, etc. are all results of that choice. Humanity can end suffering by turning back toward God. You should be OK with suffering even if you don't understand why and are a good person anyway, so long as you have faith.

    As for events not under human control - natural disasters, diseases, etc. - that's all part of a grand plan that the book compares to a mismanaged garden or a fractal. You should be OK with random, awful events because they have a beauty and purpose all their own that can't be comprehended by anything other than the divine.

    These arguments were the same ones I wasn't satisfied with in the first place going into &quot;The Shack.&quot; There's not much new here, only an original approach to the run-of-the-mill &quot;person has frank conversation with God&quot; genre. I don't feel I got any further after reading this story.

    If you want to take a bolder look at &quot;Problem of Evil&quot; questions, Christopher Hitchens offers better perspectives on possible answers - and he's arguing from an atheistic position. Or if you're afraid Hitchens' books will light on fire, give C.S. Lewis's &quot;The Problem of Pain&quot; a try instead. 

    Two stars because I don't feel this book accomplished its mission.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2014

    Strange fantasy...

    To weird for me to think deep thoughts about the meaning that the writer was going for. Dissssapointment.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2014

    Okay.

    When my parents suggested that i read this book i thought that it was going to be exciting. I was wrong. The shack is super boring except for the beggining. I was dissapointed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2013

    I really wanted to like this book. And after reading some of the

    I really wanted to like this book. And after reading some of the reviews, I can see that most people did, so that is good for the author but honestly, I was kind of bored. The first few chapters were really interesting and I thought I was going to love this book! But it quickly got boring and that's why I'm only giving it two stars. I wish I would have liked it though. Maybe I'll try reading it again in a while. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2012

    I could not fully connect with this book

    I really could not connect with this book. I don't believe God would project Himself as anything other than what He truly is. I just cannot bring myself to recommend this book. It has a really difficult plot and since it is not based on a true event, I think this author allows his imagination to get carried away in a wromg direction.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2012

    Not impressed

    I just couldn't finish it. I always finish a book. Always! I couldn't finish this one. It just seemed to drag...

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2012

    Not what i thought

    I thought i would get more out of the book....but the character descriptions in the shack dwelling were very confusing....it almost made me wonder if the writer was trying to be racially fair in the role he gave God...

    I can hear him now...."make God a white dude and african americans wil be mad...make God a black dude and women will be mad....so lets make God ..an african american woman that can cook....and don't forget the other ethnic groups...

    The story just wasn't one that pulled me in...i think the ladybug killer mystery would have been what i would have stuck with as a writer and used the religious matter in a different approach...not mixing the both...

    I see this book as a read for someone who does not have deep rooted religious convictions......but can see how this would seriously offend some groups...

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2012

    A book by a Christian, for Christians

    I should preface my review by stating that I am neither a Christian, nor an adherent to any other particular theology, however, I do enjoy discussions of theology and philosophy

    I bought this book because it purported to be an inspirational treatise on the nature of faith in the face of tragedy, but upon reading it, I discovered that not only was its viewpoint undeniably Christian, but denominationally specific, as well

    This left me feeling rather lukewarm about it, especially in the middle when it dives into the particulars of the trinity, and other details that Christians don't even agree on amongst themselves

    It is, in my opinion, a bold choice for an author to make God one of his main characters, because then he puts himself in the highly untenable position of speaking for God, which I find highly arrogant and presumptuous

    All in all, it wasn't a bad book, but it gets rather slow and plodding towards the middle, the end is fairly predictable, and it it shamelessly excludes all those readers who don't already share the author's religious viewpoints

    I had to force myself to finish, which is not generally a good sign in a novel

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2012

    I did not care for this book

    My mom and a couple of friends recommended this book. Maybe it was too upsetting for me since my children are still young.
    I liked how the main character meets god. It was an unique view on god. I found that part very creative.
    I had to skip major parts of the book. It was too much for me.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2011

    Not very good

    The beging was good. Then is got super boring.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2011

    Dissapointing.......

    All the claims in this book that all people go to heaven are what ruined it for me. This may be a fiction book, but dont put speculation in there and call it fact.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 14, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Sort of a let down...

    It's a story that really didn't have a punch to it. Yes, nice allagories of the holy spirit and God wanting friendship with us but I needed something more intense.

    It's nothing like the new memior by Stephen Biro called Hellucination. Now that backs the punch I was searching for in the Shack.

    I'm off to buy 23 minutes in Hell but I have a feeling that one is going to let me down as well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2011

    Interesting premise but poorly written

    Although some of the ideas made me stop to think, most of the book was excessively wordy. Toward the middle through the end of the book I ended up skimming over a lot. Would not really recommend it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 30, 2011

    Misleading

    I agree with the person who said it was misleading to new Christians. I have been a born again (yes, it's biblical) for 31 years and I study the bible. I was offended often while reading this book. Although it tells of a God that loves unconditionally and depicts the triune Godhead, there was so much in there that was just not true. Gpd should never be portrayed as feminine. It left me with a bad feeling. God is all that He says He is and the bible is truth from cover to cover. I really dislike the word religious. I am not religious. I am a follower of my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ. It is not about religion but all about HIM!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 27, 2011

    Not what I expected...

    I heard such wonderful things about this book that I couldn't wait to read it. I tried so hard but I just could not get into this book. I wanted to love it but I guess it just wasn't for me.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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