Number one New York Times bestseller, Waterstones and W H Smith bestseller,cult classic….. yes The Shack by Wm Paul Young,where tragedy confronts eternity. This is a book thousands of Christians are raving about- but can a fictional take on God and the Trinity have all the answers? The Shack is the story of Mack’s ‘great sadness’, following the abduction of his young daughter, Missy, and how he walks back into his darkest nightmare symbolised by an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness following a mysterious invitation from God. The book wrestles with the terrible question, “Where is God in a world fulled with unspeakable pain”, and the book’s blurb tantilisingly pulls us in with the phrase, “The answers Mack gets will astound you and perhaps transform you as much as it did him. You”ll want everyone you know to read this book!” The only thing was I didn’t! The problem I had is that its answers stretched my imagination a little too far in an attempt to present almost a caricature of the Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Of course it’s a work of fiction and I had to remind myself to cut the author plenty of slack, but I still found some of the writing simplistic and over sentimentalised, although in parts quite moving. Everyone I know that has read this book has loved it so what did I miss? Is my spiritual imagination too stagnant to be moved by this fictionalised expression of God’s forgiveness, mercy and tenderness? Maybe it was too unconventional? Was it over hyped to the extent that my expectations were too high? Am I simply not capable of losing myself in a book like this on its own terms? I’m not sure, but what I do know is that Ididn’t find it the work of encouragement, healing and cleansing that others have. I found myself wondering in the Hollywood adaptation that will inevitably follow who would play the various manifestations of God- Queen Latifa, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Anniston, Steve Martin? I decided to re-read it tonight and found my answer in the foreword in the form of a disclaimer. The author writes; “If you happen upon this story and hate it. he says ‘Sorry …but it wasn’t primarily written for you’.Then again maybe it was.” Let’s see…..
For more on the shack go to http://theshackbook.com/