So, I read The Shack right before I saw the movie (you can’t see the movie first!) and I fell in love. It was not my usual type of book. And honestly, I was a bit scared to read it with all that’s going on in my life; however, the reality of the book was much different and has forever changed my life.
If I am being honest, I wrote this post a while ago, but I couldn’t bring myself to post it. It hit a spot I wasn’t ready to share. I edited it, and now I’m ready for this 5 star book to be shared with all.
Book: The Shack
Author: William Paul Young
Rating: 5/5 ⭐
Initial Reaction: What am I reading this for? Is my Grama right, is it going to change me? Ha! I’m only reading this because of the movie.
(Great initial reaction for a 5 star book.)
During Reaction: What!? How is this author guy so smart? I’ve been super faithful my entire life and not a person in my family could describe something this well. “How on Earth!? Or I guess not Earth.” (~actual quote from me while reading)
Reflected Reaction: Wow! I’m changed. I can’t even. Wow. How could–. Then I went into the entire changed stage where every time I thought of my current situation, I thought that book. That darn book made me think about this differently. How can this one book change the way I feel about a horrid time?
But it did. I’ve only finished it a little while ago and swear I’m never going to not think about it or go back to thinking the way I was before the book.
Mack enters a Great Sadness, as he calls it, after tragedy strikes his family one summer. The tragedy affects his children and wife causing them distress, but he’s in an almost “broken” state. He can’t be happy. His daughter is a mess. His son is keeping secrets. His wife takes everyone’s pain on top of her own. The family can’t take anymore. Mack gets invited to the shack, the same shack that caused his pain three years earlier. Nan, Mack’s wife, has a nickname for God (Papa), and supposedly Papa sent Mack a letter to meet Papa at the shack. Mack’s wife and children go to visit family and to get his daughter Kate help. Mack goes to the shack completely unaware of what’s going to happen. His adventures there change him. His adventures there changed me. The story is unbelievable yet believable at the same time.
Spoiler Free Review:
First of all: Wow!
Second: Read the book if you haven’t. Even for not religious people it can help and change your life.
They say tragedy affects everyone, and they are not wrong, but what they don’t tell you is that tragedy leaves you in a little ball of distress. A place where you feel you keep going down and there is no way back up, no way to get further. Mack is at that point in his life when the book begins. He has no hope in him. No happiness. Nothing that cheers him. He blames himself. He thinks he was wrong like he should’ve known. No one knows. You can’t know, not until it’s over or happening. It’s not like you planned it.
Mack never had a good relationship with God. Mack had a hidden hate for God since childhood. He felt like God should’ve fixed it. Like God should’ve have prevented everything. He feels as though God should have let anything happen to him but especially his family. Mack wonders why God lets bad things happen to his “children” or if people really are God’s children. What Mack learns at the shack proves that God didn’t plan the bad things, but God can’t prevent them either. God can, however, have his children learn great things from the bad experiences.
I really want to say more, but spoilers! And I can’t do that to y’all in a spoiler free section.
I’m warning you.
Go away if you don’t want spoilers.
I was not expecting it. I honestly wasn’t expecting the book to be that good. I half thought he’s going to be on his knees in a shack yelling at God, not talking to God and God being right there directly answering.
I know we, as readers, ball when a character dies, but since I knew about Missy, I knew that it wouldn’t be too hard to handle. However, when I read about the police finding the bloodstained dress and Mack needing to identify. I cried so hard that I thought I was going to die from breathing loss. I knew, although unwritten, that since the murderer took her dress that he did more to that little girl. That was something that hit me hard. Killing is one thing, but that is another. Sorry, depressing I know. Happier note: I was so happy and relieved to find out later that Missy was joyful and not devastated over what happened to her (if that makes any sort of sense).
When Mack had arrived at the shack, it was like there is so many more pages. If this author wrote 200 pages on Mack yelling, I might yell. I find out a little further that I was way wrong in thinking. HE MET GOD AS THE THREE PERSONS. Wow. I was thinking I’m an idiot. So much was explained by Mr. Young and I kept thinking how if I could explain my faith this well, well, I don’t know what I’d do. I loved how Papa was female and that explained how God isn’t one gender he is everyone.
Now, my favorite part: Sunday. When Mack awoke to Papa as a fatherly figure I had tears. He needed a father-figure that day. The whole day from starting to forgive that jerk (I mean guy who made a mistake… Forgiveness, right…) to finding Missy’s body to burring her in Mack’s mess of a garden/life.
When reading that Kate thought Missy’s death was her fault I was devastated. Kate did nothing wrong. She was being silly on a boat and fell. An accident. Kate saying she let Missy get killed was like a knife to the gut. I kept thinking how that isn’t a far off idea even for real life. When tragedy strikes, everyone puts themselves at fault. Like what a bad person did was their fault.
The ending was perfect. A great ending to a great book. When Mack had awoke on Friday, I knew it showed that God worked on different hours. I smiled thinking that God had a weird way of showing his love, but it was definitely there. When Mack told Nan about his adventures and she said “I believe you”, I smiled so brightly with tears in my eyes. His Great Sadness was gone and Kate knew that it wasn’t her fault (found out earlier) the readers knew everything was going to be alright. The worst of it was past, the Phillips had to just make it to tomorrow.
On a separate note, I know at least one person will either read the book or the review and think that the murder or what happened and people’s feelings are far from the truth. How wrong that is. I know personally that when something bad happened everyone blames themselves and goes into a depressed state and feels like they should’ve known.
I hope you enjoy(ed) this as much as I did!
Lastly, I’m sorry my thoughts are so scattered!