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Sunday, July 06, 2008

The Shack Review

Well, after writing about this book, and my hesitance to complete it, in my last post, I wanted to do a quick review. I did finish it!

There are so many blogs out there reviewing this book, especially on it's theological merit. I would direct you to Scott Daniel's review to get the down low on all that.

Not being a theologian, I'll just give you a quick over view of what I thought from a "story" point of view.

What I liked:
  1. I liked how Young handled the tragedy in this book. As I mentioned before, it deals with the abduction and brutal murder of a little girl, a topic that could easily become melodramatic or sensational, especially written from the perspective of the little girl's father. My hat's off to Mr. Young for managing to navigate these emotions in a way that was believable and not off putting. This tragedy set the stage for the impending revelation, and made the rest of the narrative much more gripping.
  2. I don't think it will spoil anything to tell you that much of the narrative is a conversation between the narrator and God. Again very tricky material to deal with. How does one characterize God? I believe that Young did so successfully. I came at it a bit sceptically but I gotta tell you I really liked that God was neither a single person, nor male, nor white. I found this refreshing!
  3. As I mentioned above, this book has sparked so much debate in the theological realm. I'm not sure I can keep my head in that conversation, but from an average person's point of view, I really enjoyed how Young addressed our misconceptions. I appreciated the perspective he has on how a loving God can coexist in a world where there is so much hurt and suffering. In other words, it made sense to me.
What I thought could have been better:
  1. In terms of craft, the writing is readable and engaging, but not particularly brilliant in anyway. There are a few pleseant turns of phrase, and a couple places where the figurative language is good, but to be honest, I didn't feel that I was reading groundbreaking stuff in terms of literature. What is ground breaking about this book is that it addresses apologetics in a creative way.
  2. There is an awful lot of dialogue and explaining in the book. Especially on the part of God. I found myself skimming a few passages, because my brain was just getting overloaded with too much exposition. A little bit of scene sprinkled into these parts would have helped, but with that said, over all the book was a page turner. There was enough action to keep me going.
Overall rating:

I'll do what Josh Jackson does on his blog; give it a number rating. Taking into consideration the critiques listed above, and the pure enjoyment of the book and satisfaction by the time I was done reading, I'd give The Shack a 7/10.

I would say it's worth picking up.


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