I first read a review of The Shack several months ago, praising its courage in subject matter. Unfortunately, I can’t agree — the book doesn’t live up to the effusive praise most have given it. It’s just too poorly written.

I am always interested in books that explore practical spirituality. When I went online to the library catalog, I found out that A LOT of others must be, too. I landed about number 300 on the waiting list (Yikes!). However, my number came up this week and, because it looked like a fast read, I started and finished it in less than a day, putting the biography of Walt Whitman and his brothers’ lives during the civil war, Now the Drum of War, that I had been reading on hold.

I imagine that those who have heaped praise on the book have done so mostly because there are not a lot of well-written books of this type available for them. I’m certain the publishing industry has noticed this lack in the genre by now. The Shack was originally self-published and ostensibly intended only as a gift for the author’s family. It was shopped to publishers and rejected by several (again, I believe it was rejected because of the writing quality – not the subject matter).

The author does make some interesting points, unfortunately, those salient points are glossed over too quickly: that god doesn’t speak directly to anyone anymore (as god did in ancient times), but relies exclusively on the “guilt-edged bible” to do his communication for him [sic], that god is a Euro-white male “papa” image that limits divinity; Jesus’ humanity, or own attachment to the simple dualities of good and bad. The parable’s basic plot line and theme have potential and surely resonates with people — how can a loving god allow such a terrible crime to happen to an innocent child? I just wish the author had been more skilled when he attempted to give us the answer.