If ever you needed convincing that bad press sells books then this is it!
I have read plenty of negative stuff about this book from the very conservative critics and I have also heard some very positive reviews from friends who have read the book, so I decided it was time to spend the $$ and make my own judgment.
I will confess to being something of a snob when it comes to literature and anything less than quality prose does tend to leave me cold. So we weren’t off to a brilliant start here… The Shack is a fair piece of writing, but not compelling.
I found it hard getting thru the first 60 pages mainly because the subject matter was so gut wrenching – a dad losing his daughter while camping and then discovering she has been murdered by a serial killer. I guess its every parent’s nightmare to see one of their kids die or suffer and I couldn’t help sitting in his place.
I am past that bit now and at ‘the shack’ where Mack meets God. God (the father) turns out to be a big black woman, Jesus is an average looking middle eastern man and th Holy Spirit is of Asian extraction. The author has been setting the scene for the conversations that will develop between Mack & ‘God’ and so far it is somewhat interesting, but probably not my cup of tea.
While it masquerades as a novel it is unquestionably a theological work because it does present God in a specific light and (I am led to believe) will go on to look at church, salvation and other theological themes.
I didn’t struggle with God as a black woman – in fact I found it quite a helpful way of getting past the ‘gandalphian grandfather’ that many of us have in our heads. I don’t think that is heretical in any way – just a clever device for making us reconsider how we have imagined God.
I have found the descriptions of relationships and conversations between the 3 (F, S & HS) a bit cheesy, however I accept that my own grasp of these relationships has been heavily shaped by an evangelical heritage that doesn’t involve a lot of laughter and frivolity.
As with ‘Sweet’, I will offer my reflections as we go and I’d be interested in yours back.