Wm. Paul Young
Publisher: Windblown Media
You can read the Goodreads summary here.
The Shack is very easy to read with no big words, a plot that is neither too complex nor too simple, and a very deep main character who is struggling in his life to reconcile why God would allow such tragedy to befall him, his family, and most especially, his youngest daughter, Missy.
Mack was on a camping trip with some of his family when his youngest daughter, Missy, was abducted. A few days later they learn that she had been killed and Mack takes on what he considers to be "The Great Sadness." Not only is he devastated by his daughter's loss, but he blames himself and, previously a religious man, he cannot figure out what God would let this happen. It's a classic, why does God let bad things happen to good people, kind of story. But what's great about The Shack, is that the reader actually gets some answers to these age old questions.
The only part of the novel that I didn't enjoy, and caused my rating to be dropped a star, was the middle section. I really enjoyed the way Mack met God and the Holy Trinity in the woods and they way they interacted with him, but what I didn't care for were the massive conversations that went on for pages in several chapters, in which he discusses with them some deep religious philosophical issues. I got some good things out of those conversations, but overall they really dragged on.
There's two ways to look at this book, which is classified on its back cover as "fiction," not "Christian fiction." You can either look at it like a fiction novel that just happens to have God as a main character, or you can look at it as a piece of Christian fiction. If I was going to rate it as Christian fiction, it would be getting three stars because some of the middle chapters that really dealt with some religious philosophy dragged on quite a bit. Instead I started reading this novel as if it were just fiction wherein the main character meets the personification of God. Looking at it that way, it gets four stars, because of the way God is personified and the journey God takes Mack on.