Thursday, October 1, 2009

Could've Been Better

I finished the book “The Shack” by Wm. Paul Young. I don’t think that this was a well-written book. I like the philosophy behind the personality of God in the book: God’s relationship with us is one of love, care, and compassion. It’s the story that I didn’t like. There actually wasn’t much plotline, and instead it had these lengthy dissertations by the three God characters. The writing wasn’t that compelling and I often found myself questioning the emotions stated for the characters. The text would say that Mack was comfortable with the God characters and loved the way they talked with each other and interacted, but then didn’t convince me of that feeling by actually detailing the comfort-inducing conversation. So, instead of being engrossed by the story and not wanting to put the book down, I found it easy to stop reading each night because the story rarely left in a state where I just had to get to the next page.

I also greatly dislike the fantasy encounter of it and the bitterness it might make others feel who have undergone similar loss. Why hasn’t God invited me out to the Shack yet and had a personal, read encounter with me? This is where I greatly dislike the Foreword and Afterward of the book, in which the writer attempts to convince the reader that this is a true story. These two parts of the book should have been omitted because it completely soured the novel for me. Why even pretend it’s a real story? Then I went to the website and realized that the author’s life is remarkably similar to Mack’s life situation...many kids, lives near Portland, experienced unbearable tragedy. This frustrates me. My understanding of the book now is that it is his advice to others about the style of God he found when dealing with his grief. Yet he wrote it as a novel instead of a nonfiction inspirational/spiritual book. It isn’t that I dislike the image of God that he found and is sharing with others, I just chafe at the method he chose for this distribution.

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