Last week I finished reading, The Shack by William Paul Young. I’ve been a little busy so please excuse this late post on the book. The gist of it…the book is beautiful. The story is about Mack, a father of five, who loses his youngest daughter in a horrible violent crime. Understandably, Mack gets stuck in his grief and loses his faith. One day, God personally writes Mack a letter asking him to go back to the scene of the crime; the shack. And that’s all I’ll say since I don’t wish to spoil the rest for you.
I know plenty of religious zealots are enraged by the fact that the author took many creative liberties in pretty much discrediting the bible and Christianity as a whole. But hey, my only job here is to critique the book. I’ll leave the other bit to the theologians. What I do have to say in the matter is that even though the book was painfully trite and predicatable, it was still beautifully written. Parts of this book made me cry; no, more like sob. The funny part is that I didn’t cry while reading the parts that most people assume would naturally incite tears such as during moments in which someone is experiencing excrutiating emotional pain (and trust me…there was plenty of opportunity for that throughout the book). No, I sobbed in those parts of the book in which the simplest of actions or words held so much more meaning to me than the crux of the entire novel.
In particular, there was a casual interaction between Mack and Jesus in which Jesus tells him, “Let’s go out on the dock and look at the stars. C’mon, I know you enjoy looking at stars! Want to?” The thought of Jesus asking Mack, Mack who had just been through the last three most difficult years of his entire existence, whether he was willing to indulge in something as wholesome and ordinary as stargazing made me lose it! The floodgates were opened. The tears streamed uncontrollably down my cheeks. Bunched up humid tissues all over my clean comforter. All Jesus wanted to do was simply be there for Mack, in silence, under the majesty of God’s universal canvas. I couldn’t contain the flury of emotions in my chest. It was the smallest edict of love brimming with such a profound message; “I see you. I know you. Let me sit with you in your pain.” Jesus was letting Mack know that He always observed and accompanied him whenever he went out into the stygian night to admire the stars. Jesus in a way in which only Jesus could be, is the culmination of intentional observation, thoughtfulness, love and kindness.
There were a few more parts in the book that were like the one mentioned above. But this review would be insanely long if I got into each one. Besides, no one wants to read endless paragraphs about someone sobbing over a religious novel or any novel for that matter. It’s indelicate and tacky. Lol
In case you’re wondering why I chose the book with the original book cover instead of the newly updated book cover with the movie’s theme on it, it’s because I dislike book jackets that promote the movie version. Another reason is that, most of the time, I prefer to make-up the appearance of the characters for myself. As an adult we rarely get the chance to use our imagination. A book cover with actors prominently displayed on the cover robs us of that small indulgence.
Speaking of the movie, I went to see it on Friday. It was equally enthrawling. I actually enjoyed the cave sequence in the movie more than I did in the book. As a silly side note, I was seriously distracted with Sam Worthington’s hair. I couldn’t figure out whether it was a hair piece or not; there is sooooo much of it that it’s distracting! But I will say that the casting director did a phenomenal job of selecting the right actors for their roles. Octavia Spencer has the warmest and most inviting smile and kindest eyes one could ask for “God”. Tim McGraw has such a silent, gentle and compassionate strength about him. I recommend reading the book before watching the movie. The book has a much better ending. Take a travel size packet of tissues with you to the theater! That’s all I’ll say! Lol Let me know whether you get a chance to read the book or simply opt to just watch the movie. Enjoy!!