The Shack

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Today's book was suggested by Melio. Thanks Melio (and I'm going to throw in some bullet points just for you because I know you like them).

Today's book, "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. In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant "The Shack" wrestles with the timeless question, "Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?"

I have very mixed feelings about today's book. On the one hand I thought the basic story was a good one, but on the other hand I'm kind of irritated by the author's half-hearted attempts to convince the readers that the story really happened. Maybe I'm just cold and cynical but I don't believe the story happened, just like I don't believe the author of Conversations with God really has conversations with God. But I can still appreciate the message the book is attempting to convey, and there were parts of the book that I found kind of moving in a Hallmark movie sort of way. All in all, I think it was a good book.

Even while reading a book like this I still had shallow thoughts (would you expect anything less from me dear readers?):

  • My first shallow thought came rather early in the book when the author was describing an ice storm that brought regular activity to a standstill. Or as the author describes it, "He was becoming inexorably trapped as an ice-prisoner in his own home - much to his delight. There is something joyful about storms that interrupt routine." - I love getting snowed in (or I guess in this case it would be iced in), there's something so cozy about it, it's like being in an old movie. And you get to know the people you're stuck there with so much better than you ever would have, you get to find out who are the people who sit around whining when things get difficult and who are the people who figure out how to make s'mores on the grill. One of the years when I was in high school we got snowed in so many times that my sister and I began to write our own version of the Little House book The Long Winter - our version was called The Long Weekend. It was a harrowing tale of people who were trapped in their house for so many days that they ran out of good snack food and had to break down and start eating the low-fat Ritz crackers (which don't taste anything like the originally no matter what the commercial says).

  • My second shallow thought came not long after that, when the main character of the book was explaining God to his daughter. It provided an unfortunate reminder of how badly I used mangle those same discussions back in my Mary Poppins days. Usually my response to all complicated questions from children involves me rambling like an idiot for ten minutes until the child in question puts us both out of our misery by responding with, "You don't know the answer to my question do you?" In my defense dear readers, I was being asked complicated questions like: Why does God let toys break?

I'm kind of amazed - and dare I say, just a little bit proud - that I was able to pull a few shallow thoughts out of book that was intended to be deep and heartfelt. I think this blog has stopped being about "Can she read a book every day for a year" and become "Can she find something shallow to say about every book, no matter how deep and meaningful it's supposed to be." I'm pretty sure I can manage it every time, but it you'd like to test me on that one then go ahead dear readers, throw me a challenge.

Tune in tomorrow dear readers (I have no idea why I keep talking like this is a TV show) to find out what happened during my challenging blogging day in which I attempt to read the book and help my Dad at his store with the Memorial Day rush. Normally working and reading isn't too difficult, I have the hang of that, but this will be a situation where I can't fit reading into my day so I'm going to have to get all of my reading done before and after (and I'm already feeling nervous about it). So wish me luck dear readers.