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The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity Paperback – July 1, 2007

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Editorial Reviews


When the imagination of a writer and the passion of a theologian cross-fertilize the result is a novel on the order of "The Shack." This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress" did for his. It's that good! --Eugene Peterson, Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology, Regent College, Vancouver, B.C.

Finally! A guy-meets-God Novel that has literary integrity and spiritual daring. "The Shack" cuts through the cliches of both religion and bad writing to reveal something compelling and beautiful about life's integral dance with the Divine. This story reads like a prayer--like the best kind of prayer, filled with sweat and wonder and transparency and surprise. When I read it, I felt like I was fellowshipping with God. If you read one work of fiction this year, let this be it. --Mike Morrell,

"The Shack" is a one of a kind invitation to journey to the very heart of God. Through my tears and cheers, I have been indeed transformed by the tender mercy with which William Paul Young opened the veil that too often separated me from God and from myself. With every page, the complicated do's and don't that distort a relationship into a religion were washed away as I understood Father, Son and Holy Spirit for the first time in my life. --Patrick M. Roddy, ABC News Emmy Award winning producer

About the Author

Wm. Paul Young was born a Canadian and raised among a Stone Age tribe by his missionary parents in the highlands of former New Guinea. He suffered great loss as a child and young adult and now enjoys the "wastefulness of grace" with his family in the Pacific Northwest.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Windblown Media; 1st edition (July 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0964729237
  • ISBN-13: 978-0964729230
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9,937 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

"I thought the way I grew up was 'normal' but I think most would probably agree that my history and journey have been a bit unusual."

We live in a world where 'normal' does not truly exist except as a concept or wishful thought. For each of us, where and how we grew up plays a foundational role in our sense of 'normal', and only when we begin to experience the 'bigness and diversity' of the world are we tempted to evaluate our roots.

I thought the way I grew up was 'normal' but most would probably agree that my history and journey have been a bit unusual. The eldest of four, born May 11th, 1955, in Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada, the majority of my first decade was lived with my missionary parents in the highlands of Netherlands New Guinea (West Papua), among the Dani, a technologically stone age tribal people. These became my family and as the first white child and outsider who ever spoke their language, I was granted unusual access into their culture and community. Although at times a fierce warring people, steeped in the worship of spirits and even occasionally practicing ritualistic cannibalism, they also provided a deep sense of identity that remains an indelible element of my character and person.

By the time I was flown away to boarding school at age 6, I was in most respects a white Dani. In the middle of a school year, my family unexpectedly returned to the West. My father worked as a Pastor for a number of small churches in Western Canada and by the time I graduated, I had already attended thirteen different schools. I paid my way through Bible College working as a radio disc jockey, lifeguard and even a stint in the oil fields of northern Alberta. I spent one summer in the Philippines and another touring with a drama troupe before working in Washington D.C. at Fellowship House, an international guesthouse. Completing my undergraduate degree in Religion, I graduated summa cum laude from Warner Pacific College in Portland, Oregon.

The following year, I met and married Kim Warren and for a time worked on staff at a large suburban church while attending seminary. I have owned businesses and worked for others in diverse industries, from insurance to construction, venture capital companies to telecom, contract work to food processing; whatever was needed to help feed and house our growing family. I have always been a writer, whether songs, poetry, short stories or newsletters; never for public consumption but for friends and family. While I have extensively written for business, creating web content, business plans, white papers etc., The Shack was a story written for my six children, with no thought or intention to publish. No one is more surprised that I am now considered an 'author'. The truth is, I am a rather simple guy; I have one wife, six kids, two daughter-in-laws, a son-in-law and six grandkids, and incredible friends and extended family surround us. New friends, like you, are part of our expanding world and adventure.

These are some of the facts of my life, but they don't begin to tell the real story. That would take much more room than is available here. The journey has been both incredible and unbearable, a desperate grasping after grace and wholeness. These facts don't tell you about the pain of trying to adjust to different cultures, of life losses that were almost too staggering to bear, of walking down railroad tracks at night in the middle of winter screaming into the windstorm, of living with an underlying volume of shame so deep and loud that it constantly threatened any sense of sanity, of dreams not only destroyed but obliterated by personal failure, of hope so tenuous that only the trigger seemed to offer a solution. These few facts also do not speak to the potency of love and forgiveness, the arduous road of reconciliation, the surprises of grace and community, of transformational healing and the unexpected emergence of joy.

The data of history might help you understand where a person has been, but often hide who they actually are. The Shack and Cross Roads will tell you much more about me than a few facts ever could, but a writer is always more, intentionally illusive behind the curtain of words. For me as a human being, everything is about Jesus and Father and Holy Spirit, about relationships, and to live is to participate in an adventure of faith which can only be experienced inside one day's worth of grace at a time. Aspirations of success, visions of significance and dreams of grandeur all died a long time ago and I have absolutely no interest in resurrecting them. I have finally figured out that I have nothing to lose by living a life of faith and trust. I know more joy every minute of every day than seems appropriate, but I love the wastefulness of my Papa's grace and presence.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1,012 of 1,090 people found the following review helpful By Lou on October 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
I read The Shack as a book discussion group assignment (said group consisting of theologically conservative pastors), and I can understand why the book is upsetting to many--whether because of the subject matter (the murder of a child) or because of some of the book's theological implications.

However, I think many are missing the point that the book is a parable, not a doctrinal treatise. I found reading the book to be an incredibly moving experience, and have (cautiously) recommended it to those in my circle of acquaintance whom I think would be able to digest its message.

I do find it interesting that so many evangelical Christians have had such a negative visceral reaction to this novel. This is especially remarkable in light of the fact that, by and large, evangelical Christianity has embraced C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia--this despite the fact that Lewis wove animism, Greek philosophy, and Roman mythology into his parabolic communication of Christian truth. Not to put too fine a point on it, but is it any more offensive to present God in the form of an African-American woman who cooks scones, than it is to present God's Son as an animal which imparts blessing to children by licking them in the face? (Incidentally, I thoroughly enjoyed the Narnian Chronicles as well.)

My recommendation: If you want theology, read the works of theologians. (Watch out for Sproul and other 5-pointers, though.) If you want an emotionally moving parable which hammers home the importance of a personal relationship with God, then buy and read--and be touched by--The Shack.
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2,344 of 2,727 people found the following review helpful By Eric Wilson on January 27, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In the book world, it's hard to explain "the buzz." What causes word of mouth to start spreading? What turns an unknown author and novel into a surprise bestseller? Even more inexplicable for the book snobs is when a story fails to meet their literary standards and yet touches the masses in an undeniable way.

"The Shack" is the buzz book of the past few months. I hadn't even heard of it in November, but by the end of December I'd had relatives, friends, and online pals from across the country telling me I "had" to read this one. I've been burned by such recommendations in the past, particularly in relation to spiritually oriented titles. (Can anyone say "The Prayer of Jabez" and "Left Behind"?), but I was willing to give it a shot.

William P. Young's book has an intriguing premise. Years ago, a father name MacKenzie Phillips took his children camping and lost one of them to a man who has kidnapped and killed others. Mack has grieved since then. His marriage has struggled. Understandably, his relationship with God has suffered. Then, one wintry day, he receives a note in his mailbox inviting him back to the woods, to the shack in which his daughter's dress and bloodstains were found. The note, it would seem, is from God.

From this simple yet effective premise, Young leads Mack Phillips back to his point of despair and anger. The encounters he then has with God there in "The Shack" serve as thought-provoking moments for both Mack and the reader. This is not the God of stodgy Sunday school classes. This is not a flannel-graph Jesus. This is not limited to a fluttering dove of the Holy Spirit. The descriptions here are startling, while remaining true to the nature of God's love and grace as portrayed through Scripture.
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855 of 997 people found the following review helpful By The Time Keeper on January 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is probably the most profound and best book I have ever read in my entire life. It has brought me totally back to God. I have never felt better. I totally identified with Mack and the Great Sadness which has been in my life also.

I am a Viet Nam combat vet. In Viet Nam I had forsaken God. I could not believe that God would permit such things to happen on Earth. But as I learned more about WWII and Korea and other World events my lack of disbelieve just strengthened. Until about six and one half years ago I felt a need to come back and test the waters. My oldest son was in 9-11 as a paramedic (he went in on his day off) and I was so proud of him, but I felt a need to find my faith, because he had found it. He was a block away from the second tower when it collapsed. He went on to fulfill his lifelong ambition to become a New York Fire Fighter and actually entered into the prestigious Squad One. But oh, what a price for him and his family to pay. So much death to witness, and all of those funerals to attend. I wished I could have protected him from that, but I could not. I failed. I hold myself accountable for this lack of ability to successfully fulfill my mission in life as a father, just like I do the men I sent to their deaths in Viet Nam and the hundreds of people I have killed. I have lived with Viet Nam inside me for over 35 years until recently. These are only some of the crosses I bear. This book has brought me full circle. It has helped me to restore my faith. I have helped several people to purchase this book and I will continue. But I now know what is important and what is not so important.
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