Tuesday, May 05, 2009
weekly book review: the shack, by william p. young
Sometimes it's really just too easy to tear a thing apart, so rather than explain why The Shack is a terrible, terrible book (which it is), I am instead attempting to focus on its positive attributes. To list:

1. It was given to me by one of my school's secretaries - a woman who is really quite lovely and who, for whatever reason, thought I might enjoy reading this book as much as she did, and sometimes it's just nice to be thought of nicely.

2. It's about building a personal relationship with God, healing, and forgiveness, which are all very nice things.

3. It is short and easy to read.

4. I suppose there could have been more unnecessary exclamation marks.

5. I didn't see so much as one spelling error in the entire novel.

6. There's a handy dandy table of contents in the front of the book. (You know, in case you want to re-read Chapter Eleven, titled "Here Come Da Judge" but can't be bothered to flip through 200+ pages of big fonted text to find it.)

7. According to her quoted testimonial on the back cover, this book blew "the door wide open" to Wynonna Judd's soul.

8. In it, Jesus calls the institutions of religion, politics and economics the "man-created trinity of terrors," which is awesome in that I can imagine a mass of Evangelical Christian readers' heads collectively exploding at the perceived sacrilege.

9. It was only slightly anti-Semitic.

10. It almost certainly means well.

And that's about the best I can do, folks. In all honesty, The Shack contains some lovely ideas but is far too heavy-handed for me to take any of them seriously. Furthermore, it's horribly written with clunky dialogue, absurd imagery and awkward attempts at humor. Nonetheless, it's attracted a fiercely loyal following (I've heard of some people buying up ten copies at a time to pass out to strangers on airplanes and subways and such), either despite the poor literary elements or rather because not everyone cares about those things as much as I do.

But in all honesty, there's definitely something quite comforting in Young's version of God; however, could I, in good faith, recommend this book to you?

.....No. No I could not.

William Paul Young
2007, 248 pages (Paperback)

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Blogger R. Louis Tessier said...


Blogger Mary said...

Thanks for the review. My husband's entire familiy is reading it and half of them have told me they're going to give it to me when they're done.

Blogger Gregg said...

I've paged through this book a time or two in the store, and thought it might make for an interesting read.

But I sorta totally respect your book reviews, (although TV shows not so much, cuz c'mon...Two and a Half Men? funny!! :O) and plan to move this way way down on my To Read list, or maybe off of it completely.

Enjoyed the review, Mrs. White.

Blogger Mrs. White said...

Gregg and Mary (and anyone else who may be considering reading this book), I just want to make it clear that this is a tricky book to review. Droves of people LOVE this book, and so trashing it (especially since it's a very nice book about God) makes me feel a bit low and sort of blasphemous.

I imagine that The Shack's popularity stems from the fact that Young's version of God is such a warm and lovely one, and so it's no wonder that so many people respond positively to it. However, I am a person who cannot divorce the writing from the ideas, so I'd feel remiss if I didn't let folks know that The Shack is HORRIBLY written. If you are someone who can ignore that, then this book could very well bring you comfort.

If not, well, consider yourself warned. ;)

Blogger 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.


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