William P. Young
Mackenzie Allen Phillips is struck with grief as a stranger abducts his youngest daughter during a vacation. In spite of the evidence of her brutal murder in the Oregon wilderness, Mack uncovers a note from God inviting him back to the Shack, uncovering a startling truth about his daughter’s death.
Those who praise the novel admire Young’s ability to break through religious clichés, offering an honest and hard look at how spiritually applies to one’s own personal life. Although written in a fictional narrative, the novel is a prayerful reflection on how humanity fellowships with God. Young helps separate the veil between God and man, by moving past flannel-graph representations of Jesus in Sunday schools.
Critics of the novel are concerned about implication of Philip’s theological liberties. Some go so far as to compare the work to heresy. Some say the novel attempts to humanize God in an ultimately harmful and insulting way.
Overall, the book offers an emotionally involved way to explore one’s own faith and spirituality. It inspires the opportunity for reflection about theology and the existence of God. The book is not intended to recreate thousands of years of religious development. It is an attempt to inspire the reader’s own ongoing dialogue with the unknown through a riveting narrative. The reader will certainly not be left untouched by this incredible story.