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The Shack [Paperback]

William P. Young
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (163 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 1 2008
Mackenzie Allen Phillips's youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation, and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later, in this midst of his great sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change his life forever.

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'Brilliant! One of the most faith-enhancing books I have ever read' Bear Grylls 'Clearly the book is speaking loud and clear to a lot of people' The Independent Bunyanesque ... bold, imaginative, humane and funny. Church Times This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress did for his. It's that good! Eugene Peterson 'This is the most heart-warming, inspirational story I have read in decades. If you only read one book in the next THE SHACK' J.John 'By far the most captivating, deliciously written and theologically refreshing page turner of a novel I have ever read.' Gerald Coates, Pioneer 'Dangerous, dangerous way to do off-the-hook theology, I love it! It's not just what happens when a theologian becomes storyteller: this is what happens when a survivor who has experienced God decides to tell a story. This should be required reading in spirituality/theodicy classes everywhere. The Shack will quickly become a modern classic, and it will inspire imitators. But very few will match the competence of this work.' Siku THE SHACK is the most absorbing work of fiction I've read in many years. My wife and I laughed, cried and repented of our own lack of faith along the way. THE SHACK will leave you craving for the presence of God. Michael W. Smith, Recording Artist This story reads like a prayer - like the best kind of prayer, filled with sweat and wonder and transparency and surprise. If you read one work of fiction this year, let this be it. Mike Morrell, Reading THE SHACK during a very difficult transition in my life, this story has blown the door wide open to my soul. Wynonna Judd, Recording Artist --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Wm. Paul Young was born a Canadian and raised among a Stone Age tribe by his missionary parents in the highlands of former New Guinea. He suffered great loss as a child and young adult and now enjoys the "wastefulness of grace" with his family in the Pacific Northwest.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
142 of 159 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am one of the people who dislikes religious organisations, rarely goes to church, and have been unsure where a loving God fits into the dreadful things that go on in the world. I picked up this book by mistake, and read it with the intention of writing a harsh review advising others to save their money. It turns out that I was wrong. This is a very readable book, which addresses questions such as "Why did God let this happen?" and "Does God really have an interest in what goes on in the world?" without being preachy or pious. I was delighted by the humour contained within the pages, which made the sadness in the story bearable. Buy a copy for yourself and a friend! I'm not going to tell you what happens - you'll have to read it yourself.
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40 of 46 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not too Bad, Not Life Changing Feb. 11 2009
The Shack is clearly an influential book, and judging by its prodigious sales a lot of people are reading it. As well I noticed that it has (especially in Canada) received a lot of controversial reviews. There are those who love it, and those who hate it passionately. It seems that a lot of this depends on the reader's theology. I would like to critique this view not based on its theology, but on its inspirational value as a work of fiction

First I would like to start by arguing that this is a work of fiction and that fiction is not the same as nonfiction theology (which some reviews seem to claim). The purpose of a nonfiction theological work is to teach through instruction and argument. Fiction, such as The Shack, however is meant to inspire the imagination through the use of vivid and attention-grabbing tales; fiction strives to rouse our emotions and this allows us to consider issues in a different way. For this reason- and I hope this is already clear- The Shack is not a conclusive theological thesis, but a pointer towards a new way of thinking which can then be either validated or invalidated by looking more into the thoughts and feelings we derive from reading it. It is like listening to Silent Night on Christmas Eve as opposed to listening to a university theology lecture. It is what it is. What is important about this book is how it makes us feel and think.

It is within this context that I would like review The Shack. I do not really care whether it mirrors my theology or not, I care about how the book was written and whether it evokes emotion and personal reflection.
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50 of 58 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Allegory May 2 2008
By Peter Cantelon TOP 500 REVIEWER
The book tells the story of one man's intense tragedy, years of ensuing "great sadness" and his meeting with God one day which leads to some profound changes in his life spiritually and emotionally. It is a story profound compassion, forgiveness and healing that also manages to weave some pretty deep theology into the mix.

Eugene Peterson, the translator of The Message paraphrase of the Bible as well as the author of several books on pastoral theology says "This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress did for his. It's that good!"

Like Pilgrim's Progress, The Shack is heavy on matephorical/allegorical imagery. This is a book I would call an exercise in stretching. Whether you perceive yourself as conservative or liberal, orthodox or unorthodox, modern or post-modern, evangelical or emergent this book will stretch you at some point in your theology. Sometimes stretching can lead to breaking but with The Shack I think the stretching is actually a good and potentially beneficial exercise.

At its most helpful The Shack offers a refreshing interpretation of the Trinity and what forgiveness and a healing journey with God might look like. At its most controversial (stretching) it offers some strong words about institutionalized religion/Christianity and a strong affirmation of the orthodox understanding of creation.

Scattered with quotes from a variety of people including A.W. Tozer, Dostoevsky, C.S. Lewis and Bruce Cockburn I believe The Shack will become an excellent resource in grief counseling and I highly recommend it - especially for book clubs and/or study groups.
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67 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, you will be impacted for life! Nov. 4 2007
I have read and reread The Shack several times and have given over 30 copies away. I laughed and cried my way through this amazing story and although it is fiction it will touch every person who reads it in a unique and special way, depending on their life story. No matter if you belive there is a God or not, there are truths about life in this book that will cause you to examine reactions to life and situations and will give you an overwhelming sense of peace. Every conversation between Mack and his 'friends' needs to be mulled over and examined and amazing things will happen in your life as you let these words bring light to dark areas of your life. Thousands of people all over the world have read it and to each one that has responded, it is unique to them and yet as a whole brings healing and understanding of life events (the ugly ones). You will not be able to NOT share this book with everyone you know, we all have our own 'great sadness' this book addresses each one as if it were written just for you. An absolute must read!!
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing story
This was an intense read! Heartbreaking, but couldn't put it down. Was very interested in reading every word of his experience with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit!
Published 20 days ago by Tara
2.0 out of 5 stars The Shack
Did not like the book did not like the story of this book it is not a book that i could believe and concentrate.
Published 28 days ago by fatima
5.0 out of 5 stars The Shack
What s great book! Tells of a man that dies and goes to hell. A real eye opener. Shakes you up
Published 1 month ago by C. Schlachta
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Experience from start to finish!
This book will forever be life changing for me. It truly opened my eyes to a new way to live and reflect on God and others. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Rebecca
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! What a read!
This is the first book in years, yes years, that didn't bore me after the first 20 pages. I can't remember the last time I read an entire book but this one was done in 24 hours! Read more
Published 2 months ago by Darlis
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't Believe Everything You Read On The Internet, or likewise.
I heard about this book and took a chance on it. I'm not a devout Christian although I do believe there has to be 'something' greater than us out 'there'. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Derek Finnik
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect book to buy for a birthday or special gift.
Excellent message ,down to earth and good for either male or female to read!! A must read! Excellent book for teenagers, middle adults and seniors. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Par C McM
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelivable
Still blown away by this novel, it has me thinking every day about it. Not sure where to go with my thinking
Published 3 months ago by Debbie Moyneux
5.0 out of 5 stars cannot put this book down
excellent book, will probably finish it tonight. Very moving, goes deep and perfect for today's energy and most importantly hope. FAST delivery, I love it :):)
Published 3 months ago by Leanne Bazinet
5.0 out of 5 stars A source of Challenge, Confusion and Hope all in one place
This book challenges the ideas that we hold close to us about God the Father,
Jesus, the son and the Holy Spirit while stirring up some
confusion as to what the truth... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Susan Robertson
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