In just a few weeks, The Shack book becomes the The Shack movie. The new movie is one of a few reasons I think we’ll be talking about The Shack for years to come.
I read the book a long time ago. I remembered there was a shack. But not much else. The upcoming movie inspired me to give the book another look, with older, certainly wiser, eyes.
An Overview of The Shack by William P. Young
Mackenzie Allen Phillips is a haunted man. Still coping with the abduction and suspected murder of his youngest daughter, Missy, Mack is on edge when he discovers a suspicious note in his mailbox. The note, purportedly from God, invites Mack back to the shack, the scene of his daughter’s suspected murder. Little does Mack know that a journey into his greatest fears and deepest hurts awaits him.
Will Mack find out what really happened to his daughter?
Will he find redemption for his troubled soul?
Will things ever be normal again?
What I Liked About The Shack
The organization of the book is effective. This is not one of those books where you can skip the Foreword (not that I ever do that, wink, wink). It’s in the Foreword that we learn about Mack’s troubled childhood, personality flaws and get a taste of the Phillips’ family turmoil. The mysterious note appears fairly early on, and then we’re off to the races.
I found the main character, Mackenzie Allen Phillips, interesting and complex. He is described as both completely average, while at the same time quirky and extraordinary.
The Shack was subtly suspenseful. As expected there are no car chases or fight scenes. But the cryptic dialogue kept me wondering what was going to happen next.
Even as I neared the end of the book, I couldn’t guess how they would wrap it up. Well, I did guess, and I only got it partially right.
The use of rich, colorful language made it fun to imagine each scene. I wonder if what I have in my head will be anything like the movie.
What Would Have Made Me Like The Shack Better
There were moments when the scene descriptions were excruciatingly detailed. Personal preference perhaps, but at some point, I knew so much about the Wallowa Lake mentioned in The Shack, that I could have been a tour guide.
In that same vein, The Shack contains long, winding, chunks of dialogue. It can be a challenge to follow if you don’t stay sharp. Not surprisingly, The Shack book started out as a stack of legal pads filled with dialogue. Author William P. Young says that he started with conversations, and later created characters and situations to accompany those conversations.
Sex, Language and Violence in The Shack Book
I don’t recall any sex scenes in The Shack book.
With regard to language, there were a few h— and I believe there were also a few d—.
Violence is not a major part of the story in that there are no gruesome descriptions of violence in the book. There are references to mistreatment of children and women.
NOTE: I believe the book is potentially triggering for people who have had a loved one go missing or who have dealt with domestic abuse.
Will the Shack Book be on par with The Shack Movie?
The Shack movie hits theaters in March. Only time will tell if the film version is on par with the book. What I am curious to see is how the movie depicts “the festival of colors,” as well as the other dynamic scenes described in the book.
If you don’t read the book, you’ll lose the opportunity to say, “the book was better.”