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What turns an unknown author and novel into a surprise bestseller? Even more inexplicable for the book snobs is when a story fails to meet their literary standards and yet touches the masses in an undeniable way. This is one of the most profound books I have ever read.
William P. Young's book has an intriguing premise. Years ago, a father name MacKenzie Phillips took his children camping and lost one of them to a man who has kidnapped and killed others. Mack has grieved since then. His marriage has struggled. Understandably, his relationship with God has suffered. Then, one wintry day, he receives a note in his mailbox inviting him back to the woods, to the shack in which his daughter's dress and bloodstains were found. The note, it would seem, is from God.
From this simple yet effective premise, Young leads Mack Phillips back to his point of despair and anger. The encounters he then has with God there in "The Shack" serve as thought-provoking moments for both Mack and the reader. This is not the God of stodgy Sunday school classes. This is not a flannel-graph Jesus. This is not limited to a fluttering dove of the Holy Spirit. The descriptions here are startling, while remaining true to the nature of God's love and grace as portrayed through Scripture. Not only are they startling, they're wise and moving and beautiful.
Some might argue that "The Shack" has little theology or accuracy to it, but the very argument is what Young is trying to melt away. Do I agree with every line of the book? Not necessarily. Yet, while never sounding like trite religion (because they're not and never should be!), the words spoken by God in this book are full of vibrancy and life.
Young has breathed wonder and wisdom into a story that will continue to buzz around for years to come. One more thing, take your time reading this book. Take time to smell the roses. If you cannot, then read it again. Live one day at a time and live in the moment. It is the only thing that is real. Enjoy your life!!