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The Shack (book review)

10 May 2016
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The ShackThe Shack by Wm. Paul Young
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

There was quite a lot of discussion of this book on the Internet when it first came out, and a lot of people seemed to think it was marvellous, and a great contribution to Christian literature. I never saw it in book shops, but wondered what it was about.

Then Val brought a copy home from the library, read about 20 pages and gave up. She said it was twee, especially the bits that referred to God as “Papa”and it reminded her of the pink and purple “Christian” books with script titles one sometimes sees on the sale tables of bookshops.

After finishing another novel I was reading, and still plodding my way through Proust’s magnum opus, I thought I would have a look at it.

The beginning seemed a bit Enid Blytonish, especially the description of the preparations for the camping trip, and the actual travels, and the first few days at the camp site. The initial drama of the missing person search perked up my interest, as did the return to the shack where the missing child had been held. And then “God” appeared, and I couldn’t go on, and skipped to the final couple of chapters, just to see what happened in the end.

In its structure it resembles The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis, but the difference is that The Shack strikes me as utterly cringeworthy. I don’t usually skip bits when reading books, especially not a relatively short one (this is under 250 pages), but I simply could not go on reading the middle bits. I found its entirely anthropomorphic conception of God was a bit too much. Even The Satanic Verses didn’t go that far.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. 10 May 2016 7:52 pm

    Would agree entirely with Val and yourself regarding The Shack. I got as far as the anthropomorphic appearance and simply couldn’t continue. It was hard enough getting to that point.

    Cringeworthy, twee, Blytonish, yup.

  2. Irulan permalink
    11 May 2016 8:26 am

    I did not venture beyond the first third or so, but wonder if it wasn’t worth engaging a little more with God’s anthropomorphic-ness. Is he too human? Too American?

    • 11 May 2016 10:38 am

      Too twee, I think. It makes we want to read The Great Divorce again to see why I quite liked it (though it’s not my favourite C.S. Lewis book) and why I skipped such a large chunk of this one.

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