Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Shack

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Title: The Shack/La Cabaña
Author: William P. Young
Pages:266
Genre: fiction, faith
Yearly Count: 2

The Shack is a fiction story that, after a devastating event, takes Mack, the main character into a fantasy-like dream place where he meets God, (or "Papa") the Holy Spirit (or "Sarayu" and Jesus. There he heals, learns from them about the way the world should be and about how he should see the things that happen to him. It is filled with theology, mostly about how to live and his attitudes towards what comes his way.

I went back and forth between listening to this in Spanish and reading it in English. In Spanish it is called La Cabaña. I wish I could say strongly one way or another if I loved or hated it, but to me this book really wasn't either so good I am thrilled by it, or so horrid I want to rag on it. There are some things in it that are a little strange, and for my tastes there was way too much debatage between the characters on different theologies and such. I enjoyed the beginning, the mystery and such, but once he went into the fantasy land...it was just not the same stuff for me.

I didn't think the book was written particularly well, but I decided I would forgive that if it made an earth shattering impact on me. As much as I did learn things from the book, it was not earth shattering enough to move away from the just average writing.

I will say that this book has caused more than its fair share of controversy in my own life, and even the mention of the title can strike up a conversation. I have had two people call me up afterwards apologizing for their drastic/harsh opinions on it (mostly because they were rude in their approach) so I know that it is controversial. The funny thing is that those who haven't read it seem to have the strongest opinions. As in what I was yelled at the first time I mentioned it: " AHHH, that is not a christian book!!!! It contains 13 or 14 counts of HERESY!!!" Seriously, when was the last time you heard the word heresy!?!? yuk. Okay, and that dweeb hadn't even read it, he said that he gathered his information from "snippets" that he saw online. Seriously? ya.

Because of all the strife I have endured for it....I don't think I will try to bring it up in a group of friends, at least not my most opinionated friends until the topic settles a bit. I guess if you are one of those who claims it is heresy, but won't read it, all I can say is that really you should give it a read first. It isn't claiming to be a new add-on to the Bible, or that it is divinely inspired, so chill folks. I think dooming some book and therefore neglecting the little good morsels it contains is really sad, and this book certainly does have some good. Having said that...I still have yet to determine if it is good enough to merit the several hours it takes to read. It was just blah for me.

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What did you think about The Shack? Always remember that if you have reviewed it and would like me to link to your review comment a link to me on this post and I will :)




12 comments:

Corinne said...

So, I've never heard of it and have no idea of what it's about. Tell me.

Scobberlotcher said...

Hey Bethany,

I had a lukewarm feeling about The Shack, too. I came to the conclusion that it wouldn't win over believers, but it might reinforce some of the beliefs that believers already have. I read this several months ago and what I remember about it most is the way in which the authors portrayed God's love as similar and infinite in the way a parent loves a child - and loves each of her children completely and differently. That's an idea I can relate too.

In the end, I think the movie version of this has the potential to be more dramatic than the book (in the same way Bridges of Madison County was a better film than novel to me.)

bethany said...

corinne- sorry...I edited a description into the review, I added this:

The Shack is a fiction story that, after a devastating event, takes Mack, the main character into a fantasy-like dream place where he meets God, (or "Papa") the Holy Spirit (or "Sarayu" and Jesus. There he heals, learns from them about the way the world should be and about how he should see the things that happen to him. It is filled with theology, mostly about how to live and his attitudes towards what comes his way.

Does that help!?!

Michele at Reader's Respite said...

Oh good heavens, I had no idea it was supposed to be "controversial." I gave it to my church-going Grandma for Christmas. Geez, no wonder she hasn't spoken to me since.

*off to go mend fences now*

bethany said...

scobberlotcher- that was a good part for sure. I really can (and need to) embrace the part where they talk about circumstances and how we should not see them as good or bad, but sort of like a piggyback on which we can step to get closer to God...and therefore all circumstances contain much good.

there were good things in it for sure!

bethany said...

michele at readers respite-
Oh, I have heard of tons of older people loving it....it is more the young guys that can't stand to think of God having female qualities that flip...you may be okay.

Corinne said...

Thanks Bethany! Now I'm in the loop - it doesn't particularly sound like my cup of tea, but at least now I know :)

bermudaonion said...

When I stood in line to vote last November, a woman a few people in front of me was reading The Shack. A woman behind me started in on her about it. I thought there was going to be a throw down in the line to vote! My mother in law felt that same way as you. She said she thinks the controversy not the content is driving up sales.

Alyce said...

I don't plan on reading it because I have so many other awesome books I want to read. I do have a friend who said that it changed her life - which I thought was surprising. She is very passionate about the book. Most reviews I have read though are similar to yours.

Lori said...

I heard about The Shack and the controversy surrounding it, and decided not to read it at this time. Perhaps I'll read it some day in the future. I have so many other books I want to read that eliminating this one was not a hardship.

Ronda's Rants said...

I loved the book...not his writing style but the whole concept of it!
I think people are silly sometimes really...with getting angry with a work of fiction!
This book caused me to think about the Holy Spirit and forgivness and my ideas of it.I like to think about things long after the book is put away!
Jesus taught in Parables...this is simply a fictional story told to inspire and make you think!

Lissa said...

Like Ronda stated above-this book made me also think about forgiveness & the Holy Spirit. My favorite part was on "judgement" I have loved & lost. I realized that I was a lot like Mack in terms of my grief.