Published by Hodder & Stoughton in 2008
Challenges - 100+ and A to Z Author
Who wouldn't be skeptical when a man claims to have spent an entire weekend with God, in a shack no less?
I had no idea what this book was about until I started reading it. I was convinced it was a thriller and boy, was I in for a shock. I am not sure whether I would have chosen to read it if I had been aware of the subject matter as I do not have a religious background and find it a difficult subject to read.
This is the story of Mackenzie, whose youngest daughter, Missy was abducted during a family holiday a few years before the story is set. It was believed that she had been brutally murdered as evidence is revealed in an abandoned shack in Oregon, yet her body was never found.
The story begins four years after the abduction, when Mackenzie receives a very suspicious note which appears to be from God. The note invites Mackenzie to return to the shack. Mackenzie decides to return to the shack to see who is playing jokes on him. When he returns he finds that his world is about to change for ever. He meets God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
On the back of the book there is the following statement, which I believe best describes this book.
'In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant The Shack wrestles with the timeless question, 'Where is God in a a world so filled with unspeakable pain?' The answers you get will astound you and perhaps transform you as much as it did him.'
I found this a tough book to read, as I am more of a ' If there is a God' rather than 'Where is God.' type of person. I wish I had the beliefs of others and I hate to be cynical, but unfortunately this is me and I can't change. I watch the news, I watch how people suffer and I struggle to see how anything that could possibly stop it, would let it go on. However, I am aware, that a lot of book bloggers have strong beliefs and I respect them for that and they probably have personal evidence that supports their faith.
I think this book is trying to make God hip, to make people try and see God as a fallible being rather than infallible as we all perceive him to be. The book gives the impression that he alone is not responsible for actions of the human race as they no longer listen to him. He has no real control over anyone, he can only be there to shield the suffering a little. That really is only my perception of what this book is about, so if anyone else has other ideas about what the book is trying to say, then I would love to hear them.
I struggled to read about the abduction of Missy. I normally will avoid books like this and I do believe that is because of having children myself. Mackenzie suffers from an immense amount of guilt as he felt if he had not concentrated on his other children by saving their lives, he would have been able to save Missy. I felt very deeply for him and how he suffered and was pleased to read that what he saw and felt helped him to overcome his Great Sadness and move on with his life.
I was under the impression from the way the book was written that it was actually a true story, yet there was no mention in the book that it was. Did anyone else have this feeling?
If you have strong belief in God, then this book will reaffirm your beliefs. I enjoyed it, but probably came away with more questions than answers about my own beliefs. Definitely worth a read if you have questioned your faith.