Customer Reviews for

The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

86 out of 90 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 60 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 February 9, 2009

    Not what one expects

    While the opening is engrossing, once the reader learns of "The Great Sadness" the novel seems to lose its impact. The writing becomes rambling, moving from one scenerio to another without much transition. The religious/theology lessons are not clearly discussed and leave the reader thinking, "well...OK." Portrayals of God as a large black woman also known as Papa, Jesus as a wandering hippie farmer, and the Holy Ghost as Sarayu the mystical presenence is not what one expects. Perhaps that is the point, but the characters are not fully believeable or well developed. What I thought would take a week or two to read (248 pages) turned into a grueling three months. There were times I just could not pick up the novel and instead, read another book in between. It is not the worst book written, but it is far from one of the best and most inspiring.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Hope

    This book was thought provoking, and very disturbing at the same time. I almost wanted to put it down 3/4's of the way through the book. It hits on a tough subject....the death of a child by a sick man. There is a hard lesson here, that God loves the killer as much as he loves the child. This is hard for me to accept as truth, but it is. As a Christian myself, I like to believe that God will protect us. He will protect as when we cross to the finish line! Christians suffer. This is a hard cold fact. We are not excempt from suffering. With Jesus, there is hope. There was hope when Mack leads the authorities to the place where his daughter's body rests. There is earthly justice when the killer is found and put away. How many suffered until then? This was a tough read, though the messages are true.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2010

    It may affect you.

    I have heard either amazing comments about this book or very bad comments. I personally don't think it is that bad, but it can be boring. This book is a very slow read and is extremely descriptive. I was never really drawn into the book at any point. I wouldn't recommend this book to just anyone, only a specific bunch. I would recommend this book to people who have just lost someone in their life and don't know why God took that person from them and also people who are searching for a relationship with God. Throughout the book, the Trinity talks to Mack and the book gives very useful and meaningful words of wisdom and truth. If the book didn't have the religious aspect of it, I wouldn't have finished it, but I learned or renewed knowledge throughout the book and you will learn something also. You will either enjoy this book or really dislike it. If I were you, just read it and give it a couple chapters because it will teach you something, even if it isn't the best book people have read. The Shack was written for a reason, and you may need to read it to be affected by it.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    not impressed after all the hype.

    This is a great story with some fascinating theological theories that really make the reader stop and think. However, I did not like Young's writing style. I also thought the story was just a little too wholesome and sweet. Not for me.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Read for fiction not fact

    Do not read this book if you're looking for a new understanding of Christianity. Theologically and biblically it's a mess and inaccurate. However if you're looking for some entertaining fiction that will get you to think a little then it's okay- but either way you're much better off picking up a CS Lewis novel- he has stronger writing and stronger concepts.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2008

    Brilliantly flawed

    Young writes a controversal novel aimed at killing the stereotype that God is a white man with a long beard, big stick and cruel heart-ready to beat anyone who crosses Him. Despite some obvious theological flaws and some bogged down writing especially within the first few chapters, Young accomplishes his goal at making God approachable, amiable and pesdestrian. Some believe that he has gone too far and label it heresy. I say that it is FICTION-one man's imagination captured brilliantly as he grapples with his own painful shack.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 8, 2012

    renew your personal faith

    My inner faith is strong but my external faith was suppressed. This book helped me find my way back to being comfortable with God and confident in my faith.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 28, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Weird but Cool!

    I am not really into religious books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Very disturbing...

    This book was very disturbing and over my head.It was desturbing because this a work of fiction and everyone who seems to be reading this is taking this to be the new bible. People all over the world are changing their perceptions of God and the Trinity because of this book. One does not necessarily have to be religious to read this book, but they have to have an open mind, a mind open to anything and everything. The story is about Mackenzie Allen Phillips. He had hard life until he met his wife Nan. The story starts to pick up when they go on a camping trip and everything goes awry. You have to read this book that he claims is fiction

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 2, 2009

    Discerning Readers Attention!

    What has been lauded as one of the best religious books of the year, has disappointed on all levels. The author has little respect and even less knowledge of the majesty of the God-Head. To degrade the Trinity as jean-wearing, slang-using, housemates shows a distain as well as a contempt for theological truth. Biblical doctrine is in error, cover to cover. There will be readers in deep emotional pain from similarly atrocious tragedies, searching for guiding answers. What a missed opportunity to truly comfort on a deeply sustaining level. Conversely, the author has attempted comforting without truth....an impossible goal.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2009

    Not For Gift Giving

    Please be mindful of the people you are giving this book as a gift. This gift is not for all victims. It works quite well for someone who blamed God for a tragic accident or one-time abuse/rape. This is not for those of us who are still living with our perpetrators. Several of us have felt that this book actually allows the perpetrator to feel that HE/SHE will never have to answer for his/her actions. If this is a parent that tortured their own children (beat, raped), the message they will get from this book is "God says do anything you want", "God will forgive me for everything I have done."

    With the current rate of abducted, raped and tortured children (these types of crimes are running rampant in U.S.), the perpetrator will only feel they can continue they ways. Perpetrators like parents, priests, school teachers, those in any type of power influence in a child's life will take away from this book that "everything will be ok in the end", "God allowed me to have Will Power and He will forgive me for my ways."

    The Foreword before chapter one threw me off a little because this book is under FICTION, yet the Foreword leads you to believe that this is a True Story. So it's confusing to know if its suppose to be true or not.

    For some, this book is a 5 star.
    For others, this book is detrimental.

    I gave it a 3 star to be in the middle of the pack.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    "The Shack" by Wm. Paul Young

    Though I found this book compelling at first, by the time I was finished I was more disturbed than pleased. I know that many books and movies have used a characterization of God. Many of these I love--some scripturally accurate, some inaccurate. But because "The Shack" became a treatise on who God was, and much of it was totally opposed to scripture, I cannot recommend this book.<BR/><BR/>I am well aware that "The Shack" is a story, a work of fiction, and that by its very nature not meant to be true. However, if a story was written that used the character of Mickey Mantle, the reader would expect the writer to get the facts straight. Shouldn't we expect the same thing from someone who writes about the character of God?<BR/><BR/>Since the author chose to use a forward instead of a prologue for the front material of the book, I feel the author deliberately misled people into believing that this book was based on a true story. I cannot in good conscience support a book that is both deceptive and inaccurate.

    1 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 8, 2009

    The shack: A good book

    The shack was a good book. It kept my attention and made me think about people.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2008

    Best Read without a Critical Eye

    If William Paul Young¿s novel, The Shack, was being read for solely its entertainment content, then the book would receive outstanding marks as it did on the New York Times Best Seller List. If the novel is read more critically however, many theological inaccuracies will be found within its pages. Although many readers would find this book uplifting and inspirational, I was unable to focus on these positive aspects of The Shack entirely because I was too distracted by the underlying errors in the text.<BR/>The Shack did have some positive elements to it, including the character depictions, the general story line, and the story¿s inspirational characteristics. The characters were very dimensional and relatable. Their responses to the obstacles they faced were very realistic and each character had a definite personality and their own mannerisms to go along with it. The Christian protagonist, Mack, for example was faced with a devastating predicament and responded by becoming infuriated with God and everyone around him. The typical Christian character would have thought that God created this challenge for a specific reason and would try to understand what good was made by the situation regardless of how hard this was to see. Mack responded in a way genuine to his emotions, which made his character seem more life-like.<BR/>The storyline of the novel was equally as intriguing. It started out with a prologue that captured the reader, and from that point on the unpredictable plot never lost your interest. Although some of the scenes could be hard for a reader outside the Christian religion to relate to or believe, it can¿t be argued that they weren¿t entertaining.<BR/>Although there are many positive attributes of this book, there were countless theological errors that made it hard for me to enjoy this read. The errors that Young made while trying to depict the Christian religion were extremely detracting from the plot line and that many of the messages conveyed in regards to theology were completely inaccurate. One of the many possible examples that exemplify these errors would be when Sarayu, the name given to Jesus in the novel, said, ¿Both evil and darkness can only be understood in relation to Light and Good; they do not have any actual existence . . . Light and Good actually exist.¿ Although this line appears to be uplifting, when looked at with discernment for religious accuracy in the Christian faith, it disagrees with the Bible. It is believed by Christians that evil and darkness do actually exist in the form of Satan. This inaccuracy may be looked over by the majority of readers, but it was very distracting to me when complied with all of the rest of the theological fallacies.<BR/>In my honest opinion, if you are looking for an entertaining read and are not bothered by inaccurate depictions of the Christian religion, then The Shack would be a great choice for you. Although the book remained a good read, this distracting aspect of the book could cause many of its possible readers to turn away.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 30, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Unbelievable

    I was excited to win this extended edgy metaphor in a giveaway because there has been so much buzz about it. I started it reading, and then put it aside after only two chapters when some other titles caught my eye. Finally, I picked it back up and began reading it from the beginning. Although it's not a lengthy book--only 246 pages--it is wordy. I found it dragged a bit. It is a book of fantasy.<BR/><BR/>The most important thing about Christian Fiction is that it be biblically correct. This book isn't. For example, the protagonist is having a conversation with the Trinity about which of them is the greater. Jesus speaks:<BR/><BR/>"Does that make sense to you, Abba? Frankly, I haven't a clue what this man is talking about?"<BR/><BR/>[God answers]"... Nope, I have been trying to make head or tail out of it, but sorry, he's got me lost." (p 121-22)<BR/><BR/>God doesn't understand what man is asking? That's not in the Bible I read!<BR/><BR/>Again on page 182, Jesus waffles when asked if all roads lead to Him and responds, "... I will travel any road to find you."<BR/><BR/>In John 14:6, "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." It couldn't be any clearer than that.<BR/><BR/>If you think that you can read this like you might read a Harry Potter book, then it might be the book for you. But that's all it is--a work of fantasy--not a work of Christian Fiction.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2013

       

       

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2013

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    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 20, 2013

    This story was really hard for me to read having two young girls

    This story was really hard for me to read having two young girls of my own. I think this is more allegory than the typical Christian fiction. The scenes at the shack remind me of Passport to Life City—a modern version of Pilgrim's Progress.




    Mack took his kids on a camping trip while his wife was away over a holiday weekend. On the last day as Mack was packing up to head home, two of his children asked to take one last canoe ride. With many cautions including the promise of life jackets, he allowed them while the youngest sat at a nearby picnic table coloring. When one child waved from the canoe, it tipped, Mack dove in to save his children; while in the commotion the youngest was kidnapped.




    A few years later Mack returns to the shack—the site of the last evidence of his daughter Missy. While there he encounters God. The main concern I've heard and read is that God is depicted as a black woman—yest young explains this depiction to my satisfaction. In some ways it reminded me of the movie Contact.




    I'm not sure what to think of the discussion on responsibilities and expectations. Personally I felt the Festival of Friends was unnecessary and too speculative. Then the way the rest of the story was wrapped up was too tidy for me.




    All in all, the conversations at the shack were interesting and did cause me to think. I really had to consider various religious traditions and what is truly Biblically sound.

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  • Posted April 17, 2013

    Could have been better. Writing burdened this book down. 

    Could have been better. Writing burdened this book down. 

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2013

    Started off well and then got preachy. Don't like the preachy Ch

    Started off well and then got preachy. Don't like the preachy Christian books.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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