Sunday, May 17, 2009


Author: William P. Young
Copyright 2007
Windblown Media
Hatchette Book Group
ISBN-10: 0-964-7292-3-7
ISBN-13: 978-0-9647292-3-0
Paperback $14.99
256 pages

There are few books that become best-sellers because of the story has a strong message. It’s so unusual that when it does happen, the book almost has a life of its own. I heard about THE SHACK from my minister who insisted that I read it. After hearing his suggestion, I was shocked at the number of requests for this book at libraries across the country and the number of people on Amazon who have recommended this book. What makes this book to special? What message is this book telling?

When reading THE SHACK, the “Foreward” is necessary reading to fully understand the story. The personal voice of the narrator is the driving force and connects with every parent, at some level. This is a story of loss, grief, pain, and finding an understanding of life.

Mackenzie Allen Phillips has some personal baggage from his childhood. His father was an abusive drunk. For the most part he has overcome this and now is content with his life. He has his career, wife, and five children who are growing up quickly.

He decides to take the three youngest children on a short camping trip before their school begins for the year. Two of the children are out on a lake alone, canoeing. Mackenzie is able to watch them while sitting with the youngest child, Missy, who is content with coloring. Katie accidentally lifts her oar and the canoe capsizes. Mackenzie sees that Katie has surfaced, but her brother has not. Naturally, he dives in to rescue his son who was tangled in the boat under the water. Unfortunately, when he returns to the picnic table, Missy is gone. Missing. At first, it is believed that she wandered off with a friend. Soon though, it is apparent that she didn’t wander off and that someone snatched her. When it is concluded that she was taken by a person who is believed to kill young girls, the search continues. Finally, though, with no body found, the family has to move on with their lives. Unfortunately for many members of this family, the guilt brings a Great Sadness into their life. How does anyone recover from the loss of a child?

Four years later, Mackenzie receives a strange note in his mailbox. It appears to be from God. It asks him to return to the shack that was in the area when Missy disappeared. Mackenzie decides not to tell his wife about it since she will be gone for the weekend. His curiosity is luring him to the shack. He borrows his friend’s jeep to discover what this is all about. This weekend will change his life forever.

William P. Young wrote this story for his children. He didn’t plan on writing a book or ever having it published. It just happened. Perhaps that is what makes this book so special.

There are things that we, as humans, just can’t explain. There are things that we carry with us that we need to unload and things we need to pick up and carry. For those times when each of us has a Great Sorrow or those times when we have a Great Happiness, all of us need to focus on what should be apparent to each of us.


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