The Shack is a riveting, fictional, Christian novel, about a father meeting the Holy Trinity in person after suffering a traumatic loss, and losing all faith.
I’ve got to say, after personally being forced to read this book after my own personal trauma, this book makes you question trauma, spirituality, and the perception that we as people have with interpretation of the Bible across different viewpoints. While this is theological fiction, it’s interesting to see how a lot of the experiences of the main character are true elaborations of every day experiences of every day people and every day interpretations of people who are not wholly religious in the sense of reading scripture, and studying verses, etc.
I first read this book my junior year almost a year after my mother passed so I really was NOT trying to get into the whole “loss” thing in my religion course. So when we read it and dissected it as a class I was just not present ever, if at all.
But as time progressed I was decided to read it again, and recently I gave it another read through, and with each read I uncover something new.
The Shack is from the point of view of Mack, a father, who is living in a horrible dark space after his daughter, Missy, is abducted by a notorious serial killer during a family vacation. Mack feels guilty about the abduction because it happened as he is saving his other two children from drowning in the lake. Though her body was never found, police found evidence in an abandoned shack that proved she was brutally murdered. As he is living in his “Great Sadness” that many would see as depression, he receives a note from God inviting him to return to this shack for time together, and the story begins.
While William Young covers a wide variety of theological topics relevant to the characters suffering, the most courageous question I feel the book is asking and answering is, “Where is God, in the midst of all your trouble and your trauma and sadness?”.
It’s a question a lot of us struggle with on the daily and though this is a work of fiction, this book really was comforting in allowing my imagination to explore that. If you’re looking for a great read and to really challenge the way you look at how God is there for you in grief, trauma, and hard times, this is DEFINITELY a great book to read.