The Shack – William Paul Young (2007)


The Shack by William Paul Young is a Christian allegory, wherein a man loses his faith, but by spending time with the personification of the Holy Trinity, he finds peace. Mackenzie Allen Philips is a man wracked by guilt and depression following the random kidnap and murder of his youngest daughter while on a family camping trip. Unable to move forward, and unable to help his family, he blames God and himself for allowing his baby girl to be killed. A series of fantastical events ensue, and Mack ends up spending the weekend in the company of God, Jesus and Sarayu (the Holy Spirit), leading him to question his beliefs. I had trouble with the book’s argument that independence is a bad thing, and that human laws are unnecessary, should we choose to allow God to make our decisions for us, and that all choices are predetermined. While typically biblical, and along the lines of It’s A Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol, in the sense that a miserable man is visited by a personification of God in order to find his happiness and peace, The Shack is unusual in the fact that it is decidedly against certain religious dogmas. The idea that church is unnecessary, and that those who choose not to follow God are still beloved by Him, goes against many Conservative Christian doctrines. I found the book to be simple and pleasant, if somewhat convoluted. This book would be most appropriate for Christians, obviously, and those looking for a pleasant, feel-good story. 

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