The Shack by WIlliam Young

Williams Young’s modern adventure novel “The Shack,” quickly grabbed my attention as I rushed through the first few chapters. Mack is a father of five and decides to take his kids on a camping trip that turns into a nightmare. His youngest daughter gets abducted and then murdered by a serial killer, and Mack is left to wonder about God and his life on earth. On a cold winter day he receives a mysterious note inviting him back to the old abandoned shack where all his nightmares began. He goes and his life will never be the same since. The book was well written, and puts a modern twist on our view of God.

The author’s style of writing is unique and he does a great job of transitioning between scenes. The book starts three years before when Mack “could feel The Great Sadness slowly tighten around his chest and heart, like crushing coils of a constrictor. William Young goes into great detail to explain the tragic tail of his life, not necessarily in chronological order. Young then goes to explain about his adventure to the shack and his life is changed forever. The ending of the book is perhaps the most perplexing part, but provides the most insight into the story final result.

The characters are carefully thought up, and Young explains why he chose them. He portrays God as an old black lady, instead of what you would normally think. Young then describes Jesus as a migrant worker, and the Holy Spirit as an Asian lady. These are all different perceptions of the Trinity and Young tells us that “Who wants to worship a God who can be fully comprehended, eh? Not much mystery in that” (101). The characters help Mack to not only look at God physically, but as a much greater spirit.

The Shack takes place in the deep Oregon wilderness. A bulk of the book takes place in an abandoned shack in the woods. At first it is nothing more than a dilapidated wooden building, but it is magically transformed into a modern house when Mack arrives. Later in the book, no record is found of Mack visiting the shack and God tells him that imagination is, “Such a powerful ability, the imagination! That power alone makes you so like us." The cave is also a key fact in connecting all the books parts together. The only thing Mack truly remembers about his adventures in the shack is that the cave is where Missies body is located. He is unable to explain how he knows, but leads investigators to the scene of the crime.

This book puts a very different view on religion as we know it, Young does an excellent job of making the reader believe Jesus was really talking to Mack, Jesus says that “Who said anything about being a Christian? I’m not a Christian” (182). These clever quotes make the reader think beyond there current knowledge, and open up to a new view of the trinity. This book made me realize why some bad things happen in the world and that “Light and Good actually exist. So, removing yourself from me will result in evil because apart from me (136).”

I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who is interested. It provided many different viewpoints and made me realize things about God I never would have thought. Young does an excellent job relating religion and real life together. His novel is not only suspenseful, but provides a much needed insight into religion as we know it.





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