Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Shack

Following on from Harry Potter, the da Vinci Code and the Malcolm Gladwell canon I've succumbed to the pressure not to be the only person in the Christian world who hasn't read The Shack.

For those who haven't noticed, it is a best-seller. The story is of a family who have a daughter disappear. There is evidence of murder but no body. Some years later her father receives an invitation in the post to go back to the shack where the evidence was found. In this context the author - William P. Young - discusses the nature of God and evil.

It is a Dan Brown type page turner but as badly written. It has some unsplit infinitives. It grinds the creationist axe, talking of a lake 'formed, some say, by glaciers nine million years ago.' It contains the sum total of all the glib evangelical pratitudes (not a misprint) on the nature of evil without ever getting to grips with nature red in tooth and bloody in claw. The ending sucks. According to the web-site it has helped millions.

Where tragedy confronts eternity, apparently. I don't want my three hours back. I'm glad I read it. We should talk about it. I can't start here without plot-spoiling so I think I'll allow plot-spoiling in the comments box. If you haven't read it, don't read the comments.


Marcella said...

I agree - I found it clunky, preachy and very American - but unputdownable. And I'm not ashamed to say that I cried. I shouted at it too, but I cried..

Doug Chaplin said...

I haven't read it, but was seriously put off by a colleague who seemed to think the most important thing about the book was whether it had happened or not. A sad indictment of the Christian mindless.

Mike Peatman said...

Debs read it, and found a lot to talk about within it. She was less scathing than you, although she did comment that you have to get past the Americanist style.

PS I am that last person in Christendom not to have read it.

Mr Gnome said...

What fun, this forum for coming out as a non-reader of The Shack.

While I am here, I would also like to fess up to never having read:

War and Peace
The Silmarillion
The Imitation of Christ
The Selfish Gene
The Golden Notebook
Anna Karenina
The God Delusion
The Idiot
Catch 22
To Kill a Mockingbird
Anything by Marcel Proust
Any of the Harry Potters after the Bloomsbury editors became too scared to say: 'This book is too long!'

I'm feeling better already....

ClaireT said...

Out of four of us who read The Shack, I loved it and everyone else hated it - very Marmite!

But the reason for enjoying it was that it gave me an easier way of looking at the Trinity. My background is high Anglican (and I know this might sound like a cop-out), but reading this book, it was just a relief to think differently about relationship with God the Father.

Didn't agree with everything, but it has started conversations - not bad for a crime novel, perhaps?

Caroline Too said...

Mr Gnome,

Can I encourage you to read "To Kill a Mockingbird"

... no?

oh sorry,

too late I guess...

Mr Gnome said...

Thank you, Caroline

One is very ASHAMED not to have got to TKAMB.

I promise to read it before the year is out!

Kerron said...

Apologies in advance for this...