Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Recommended Reading: The Shack

This is the book that helped me re-learn how to read.  Allow me to explain.

My three children are ages 5, 4, and 2.  That means that for the past five years of my life, I have only read books that have short sentences and illustrations on every page.  {Despite the fact that I was a bookworm growing up.}

On our walk home from school every afternoon, we like to stop and chat with a woman who lives up our street.  One Friday last fall, she told me about a paperback book exchange she had joined.  She asked me if I read, and I'm sure she could see the panic on my face.  I didn't want to tell this avid reader that I hadn't read a book made for grown-ups in at least five years!

She disappeared into her house and emerged with a copy of "The Shack." She then proceeded to tell me how everyone she knows has read this book in a day or two.  {No pressure.}  The book in my hand felt like a ticking time bomb as I felt the full weight of her expectation that I would read and return the book by the following week.

It just so happened that my husband was out of town on a business trip.  Since I don't sleep well when he's gone anyway, I decided to start reading the book after I got the kiddos to bed.  True to my overachieverness (it's a word), I stayed up very late that night and read every possible second that I could the next day.  I did finish the book that weekend.  But I didn't do it because I felt pressured.  I could not put this book down!

"The Shack" is about a father who takes his kids on vacation, and his youngest daughter is abducted.  The only evidence in her case is found in an old rundown shack in the middle of the woods.  The father later receives a note inviting him back to the shack, and the note is signed by God.  The remainder of the book follows this broken man's journey to get his questions answered and his wounds healed.  

This book spoke to me in a deeply personal way as I read it in the very month that marked four years since a dear friend of mine was brutally murdered.  That event triggered a very dark time for me, and I had so many unanswered questions for God.  I'm sure I'll talk more about that later, but let me just tell you that God walked beside me even when I was indescribably angry with him, and he has now brought me healing.  He answered some questions and gave me peace to accept the unanswered questions.

My tips and tidbits:
  • This book is fiction.  I read the Forward to the book (which I highly recommend you do, by the way), and I read the entire book thinking it was true.  What can I say?  I was a rookie reader.
  • There are no gory details about the daughter's abduction.  I read every page in fear of what was to come before she was abducted in the story.  But the author handled it so well.  He gave just enough information that you understand what happened, but there is nothing gross or frightening.
  • So many people I know shy away from this book because it seems like a creepy storyline.  My opinion is that this book is more about the relationship between the main character (the father) and God.
  • This book will absolutely apply to you if you have any questions about how God works, wonder why bad things happen to good people, or have felt deep pain in your own life.
  • I like to buy books from because I can find good prices. You could also look for this book at your local library and read it for free.
After I successfully read this grown-up book, I was so elated that I kept reading more books.  I'll talk about those in future posts.  I would love to hear from anyone else who has read this book!


  1. I'm so glad I finally read this! Now we just need to find some free time so we can talk about it! I am finishing a missionary book this week, then hoping to squeeze in Heaven is For Real before starting The Left Behind series. Any desire to read them? My mom has the whole series and sent the first two to Jason while he was deployed. He's hooked! And he claims to be a non-reader. He stays up for hours every night reading them. In bed (rule-breaker). I'll keep you posted on my readings. All the while I'm still SLOWLY reading, Bringing Up Girls - simultaneously with whatever else I have on my bedstand.

  2. Oh, I cannot wait to discuss it with you! Jared is almost finished with it too. You're impressive with all you're reading! I'm swamped with the Bible study reading, daily devotions, Sunday school lessons, and a gigantic Joyce Meyers book I'm slowly working through. I'm so glad you finally got Jason to break the rule. :) Bring on the Left Behind series.