Back to the book-learnin', ya'll.
The Shack by William P. Young is a book I picked up mainly because it was on the NY Times Best Seller list. I browse their lists from time to time when looking for something new to read. I ordered it from Paperbackswap.com. As I was waiting for it to arrive, a friend of mine posted on her blog that she was SO not interested in this book, that she never finished it.
Dismay! She and I usually agree on books (except for the Woman in White).
This book is the story about a loving family man who loses one of his daughter one day while on a weekend camping trip, to a serial murderer. His daughter's clothes and blood are found in a desolate shack, her body never is.
Four years have passed and Mack is still feeling The Great Sadness. He and his family strive to move forward, but he is SO ANGRY with God, who his wife affectionately calls "Papa," as her relationship with Him is so very close. One afternoon, Mack gets a letter in the mailbox, from "Papa," asking him to meet Him at the shack where his daughter was murdered.
The book deals a lot with spirituality, the trinity, divinity. People have complained about it; he's got it all wrong; he's heretical.; God is not a black Southern woman.
People. It's a book. Take from it what you will, leave the rest. I'm pretty sure the God-as-a-Black Woman thing is a metaphor for the comfort Mack needed at the time. A female nurturer. Later we see God as a man, when Mack needs strength. The Holy Spirit is an Asian woman, Jesus is a carpenter from the middle-east. Mack interacts with all three, who are really one.
The book goes through a lot of themes and explanations about the trinity that I did not understand. The writing was a touch trite (says the lady who has never written a novel, I know!) and the writing very contemporary. And yet, I found myself crying through Mack's painful journey, dealing with not only the loss of his daughter but the abuse of his father whom he left at age 15.
I remember when the "Harry Potter" books came out and religious leaders were up in arms. "It has magic and wizards, it is evil!" I don't understand that line of thinking. It's a book and I know that I am not feeble-minded and think it's real.
"The Shack" is not a Bible, not grand literature, but the story was compelling to me. You take from it what you will, leave the rest.