Yes, I’ll admit it. I didn’t like The Shack. Among those I know who’ve read it, this makes me unusual. The book literally swept Suburbia, Bible Belt town that it is. Adventure Guy loved it and couldn’t wait for me to read it. Our minister just finished a three-sermon series on it. Another Sunday school class is doing an extended study.
I still wasn’t totally sold on taking up the novel when it was named as our most recent book club selection. Typically I need to be “ready” to read something along these lines, and I wasn’t feeling led. But, I’m nothing if not susceptible to taking on the challenge of an official assignment.
So read I did. Very slowly. Some of my friends reported being disturbed by the circumstances that set up the main character’s need for God–the murder of his young daughter. Though I’m sure it should have, that part did not bother me, perhaps because I didn’t feel much connection to the characters in the novel. Lack of real character development continued through throughout.
Except, of course, for the three true main characters–the holy Trinity of Christianity. Truthfully, those characters are better developed than any of the humans that populate the book. And I did appreciate the author’s take on God and his limitless nature.
In fact, none of what typically seems to have bothered people about the book bothered me at all, namely the non-traditional representation of God, the statement that God does not judge or condemn people, the acknowledgement that God does not stop bad things from happening but also doesn’t cause them as some sort of punishment, and the idea that there are multiple paths to God outside of Christianity. Perhaps the book would have made more of an impact on me if it didn’t so closely align to beliefs I’ve held for quite some time. There was little shock value in it for me.
In the end, I’m glad I read The Shack, if only to understand what all the buzz was about. I have to wonder, though, am I really alone in recognizing its shortcomings?