The Shack by William P. Young

October 2, 2009
By John Zong BRONZE, Plano, Texas
John Zong BRONZE, Plano, Texas
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

The Shack Review

The fictional work, The Shack by William P. Young, is a very compelling piece that makes the reader pause in thought as the main character Mack travels to the unknown. This unknown is none other than the, all fearing, god and death. This book is highly spiritual and to those that read it, they must embrace it with a religious tolerance to Christianity. The story line of The Shack is very intriguing as the reader explore a new rendition of the Holy Trinity, However the book’s written style is boring and, for lack of a better phrase, grocery listing. All in all, the story is one of pure genius, but the way it was conveyed is elementary.

The story of The Shack is of a man named Mack, who initially was a married and happy man. However, his life is then dramatized when his daughter, Maggie, gets kidnapped. In effort to resolve the mystery, Mack then goes to the shack, where Maggie’s clothes were found, after he has received a letter from god. The meat of the book is Mack’s encounter with The Holy Trinity. At this part of the story, it becomes very religious as Mack is talking to God. It’s very interesting how the Holy Trinity is portrayed in this story. God in this story is a “large beaming African American woman” named papa, Jesus is a middle aged Jewish descent, and the Holy Spirit is a ”small distinctly Asian woman” named Sarayu (95). In this part of the book, Young makes various references to the Bible. For instance in the Bible, Jesus bends down and washes the feet of his disciples. However in the book, “Jesus went straight to Papa and, kneeling at her feet, began to wipe off the front of her clothes. He worked down to her feet and gently lifted one foot at a time, which he directed into the basin where he cleaned and massaged it”(Young 96). Also in the book, Mack talks to god free and fearless manor and “Papa” retorts his questions in the plain and simple voice of an African woman. In conversation about god’s mystery, “Papa” comes out with, “Who wants to worship a God who can be fully comprehended, eh? Not much mystery in that” (101). This new twist of “god” makes reader question his own traditional belief of the Holy Trinity.

However new and controversial the story and plot might be, Young’s style of portraying the story is very basic. His first couple of chapters was testament to this because it had many awkward sentences such as, “One can almost hear a unified sigh rise from the nearby city and surrounding countryside where Nature has intervened to give respite to the weary humans slogging it out within her purview”(46). Later in the book, the progression of Mack is like a grocery list. First he got a letter from god then he went to the shack then he talked to god. Through this the reader can clearly understand what is happening but then it loses the intellectual value. Books are held to high esteem because the level of depth and twist in plot progression to keep the reader guessing of what’s going to happen next. But with this book there’s not much mystery in plot because Young flat out tells the reader what’s going to happen. Another flaw in his writing is that in his dialogue he mentions the name of the person to whom another character is speaking to. This makes the dialogue very annoying and frustrating but at least at the end of the day you know the character’s names.

The Shack is not known for the writing but for the fascinating story. The content and lessons is the true treasure embedded in the book. This book is a very valuable read for all religions and backgrounds of the reader. The writing can use touch ups but in the end no one is going to remember the writing only the story.

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This article has 3 comments.

knightly2 said...
on Oct. 15 2009 at 9:44 am
This book sounds like a long book but seems interesting. I'll check it out.

crazygirl379 said...
on Oct. 15 2009 at 9:17 am
My mom has also read this book and she has been saying that i should read it because of how good it was.

on Oct. 13 2009 at 9:52 am
My mom read this book and said it was amazing I really want to read it.


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