Cover of "The Shack"
Cover of The Shack

One of my oft repeated phrases is: “Better late than never.”  The sad fact is that I have all too many chances to utter it.  I bring this up because it seems a perfect application to this review.  Those bloggers who are organized and on top of things tend to offer reviews when a topic, book, or author is in the news and/or the hot topic of conversation.

While The Shack is still the topic of conversation around the country and around the world, the story is by now well know and thoroughly debated. (See this New York Times article for a flavor)

I first read the book back when it was much more a burgeoning phenomenon but never got around to putting my thoughts and reactions down in pixels.  But when my church’s Sunday School class offered this as one of its book discussions I decided to go back and resist it.

For those of you unfamiliar with the book here is a brief description:

Mackenzie Allen Philips’ 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 the 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 a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack’s world forever.

After a second reading, I found that while its literary merit left a lot to be desired, and its theology was shaky in parts, as a whole it was a thought provoking and worthwhile read.

Below I will look at the book’s literary, theological, and philosophical implications. I’m not sure this matters at this point, but there will be “spoilers” involved.