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'The Shack' by William P. Young - Book Review

About.com Rating 3 Star Rating
User Rating 4 Star Rating (9 Reviews)


'The Shack' by William P. Young

'The Shack'

Windblown Media

The Bottom Line

The Shack by William P. Young has become a phenomenon. This book -- originally written by Young for his kids -- was rejected by mainstream and Christian publishers alike. Young and friends started their own publishing house to produce it, and now there are more than one million copies in print and it has topped bestsellers charts for weeks.

The Shack does not have amazing character depth, and the dialogue sometimes seems forced; however, it is a thought-provoking book that is a worth reading as an entry into thinking about suffering and God's role in the world.


  • 'The Shack' delves into some of life's biggest questions
  • 'The Shack' is easy to read
  • 'The Shack' provides an artistic avenue for understanding Christian truths


  • The dialogue is forced & some parts are cheesy - This isn't great literature
  • There are some theological holes


  • 'The Shack' is published by Windblown Media.
  • Published: May 2007
  • 253 pages

Guide Review - 'The Shack' by William P. Young - Book Review

The Shack by William P. Young is a story about Mack, a man whose daughter is kidnapped and brutally murdered. A few years after her murder, Mack receives an invitation from God to meet Him at the shack where they found his daughter's bloody clothes. Mack goes and works through the meaning of suffering as he spends the weekend with the Trinity, uniquely portrayed (God the Father is a large black woman, for instance).

Why is The Shack so popular? Is it actually a "must read?" To the first question, I can only say that I think The Shack is asking some of the most important questions people can ask, and exploring the answers in a way that is very accessible. While reading, I understood its appeal -- these are the very questions that I wrestle with in my heart, and Young works through them in a very comforting way.

As to whether The Shack is a "must read," I'd say, "that depends." It sort of reminds me of the words, "I love you." There is nothing especially unique about them, and they are extremely overused. From certain people or in certain situations, you are likely to dismiss or even be infuriated by hearing them uttered. Of course, from the right person, hearing them can be one of the most powerful experiences of your life. So with The Shack. This is a decidedly Christian answer in a somewhat shallow story with forced dialogue. It's not the best writing in the world, but I can easily see how if you read The Shack at the right moment, it has the power to change your life. I know I'm still thinking about it, and I received enough gems from the novel to recommend it to others.

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User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 5 out of 5
You have no idea....., Member chamberfamily

I cant tell you the painful life I have lived. The tradgety of my own fathers death, the close yet distant relationship I had with God. I have been a christian for so many years, searching different denominations, watching and waiting for my time of closeness with the Lord- yet I just couldnt grab ahold of his love for me. I dont know if it was timing, but ""the shack"" has been put in my hands several times, only to collect dust- three days ago, I finally gave it another try- Something very ""religious"" and theological had to die within me before I could comprehend this book in a life changing way. You cannot fully embrace the power in this mans testimony to what he saw- (WHICH I BELIEVE with my whole heart - HE DID see... it matches a few things I have seen in the spirit- things that cant be made up my mortal man...) unless you humble yourself like a child- curl up into ""Papas"" arms and let him walk you through this mans journeys- as I did this- every page of that book- reflected my own heart- my own turmoil inside- my ""messy garden"" in my soul- I went into this not really understanding fully what I was about to see and feel, went through moments of weeping, joy and even moments of laughter- most of all I came out with hand in hand with my ""papa""- understanding the FAther, the son and the holy spirit- and a whole new outlook on what life is really about... I even see people differently- Its only a novel- just like the bible is only words- unless you come- as a child- release all your textbook teaching, philosophy, theology- pre-expectations... When you listen to Jesus- his word backs up everything that is said in this book- I had to read a few things twice, put the book down and ask ""papa"" if this were true and he would bring me straight to a verse where HE would show himself clearly- Anyone who is desperate for healing, for reconciliation with loved one who is at home with the Lord, or even reconciliation with God The Father, needs to read this book. The weakest and most humble in spirit will find treasures and riches beyond their imagination... in every page.

19 out of 22 people found this helpful.

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