Book Review: The Shack by William P Young

The Shack is a parable written for Christians who have been disappointed by God. If everything in your Christian life is peachy and things have gone exactly like you expected them to – do not read this book because it may make you huffy, like some of the reviewers on Amazon.  If your Christian Experience has not gone perfectly – The Shack will get you over the ‘great sadness’.

The bigger things have not gone as expected, the more important it is that you read this book. The Shack is is a place where your daughter has been brutally murdered. Then God sends you an invitation to meet Him at the very same place.

God is totally not what you would expect. He is three people – Pappa, Jesus, and this flighty girl who is the Holy Spirit. You get to walk on water with Jesus, served breakfast by Pappa, and be teased by Sarayu (the Holy Spirit). For good measure, a beautiful lady judge, that represents Wisdom lectures you on judging. By the time the book is over, you have a renewed understanding of God’s immense love for you and a better understanding on why unexpected and bad things have happened to you. It replaces lies that you might believe with God’s truth.

It is also a very entertaining book. I agree with the blurb, by Eugene Peterson, on the cover that The Shack could do to this generation what Pilgrim’s Progress did for his – (but Pilgrim’s Progress is a little over-rated).



Filed under books, Christianity, Religion

3 responses to “Book Review: The Shack by William P Young

  1. I just bought The Shack…can’t wait to read it this week!!!

  2. Laura

    If you loved The Shack, you should really check out Gita Nazareth’s Forgiving Ararat, as this book too explores themes of judgment and forgiveness in the face of violence. As a fan and publicist for this book, I’m interested to see what parallels are drawn between the two. You can read the first two chapters at

  3. Steph

    I agree with your thoughts.
    This book needs to be seen as a parable – A story that can reveal ideas and truths, not a statement of facts. Jesus himself uses this literary device a great deal. William P Young is not suggesting that God the Father, for example, is literally an elderly Negro woman. Rather he used unusual character types to help break the straight-jacket that our theology is sometimes encased in. The Pharisees of Jesus day were offended by His parables in the same way – Parables designed to shake up and dislodge the crusted-on misconceptions of the Father and His Kingdom.

    And to Laura,
    I have read Forgiving Ararat, and also Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold; both of which were compared heatedly to The Shack. And I find the three to make good companion in raising religious discussion, especially in reading groups.

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