'The Shack' by William P. Young - Book Review

'The Shack' by William P. Young
'The Shack'. Windblown Media

The Bottom Line

The Shack by William P. Young has become a phenomenon. This book -- originally written by Young for his kids -- was rejected by mainstream and Christian publishers alike. Young and friends started their own publishing house to produce it, and now there are more than one million copies in print and it has topped bestsellers charts for weeks.

The Shack does not have amazing character depth, and the dialogue sometimes seems forced; however, it is a thought-provoking book that is a worth reading as an entry into thinking about suffering and God's role in the world.


  • 'The Shack' delves into some of life's biggest questions
  • 'The Shack' is easy to read
  • 'The Shack' provides an artistic avenue for understanding Christian truths


  • The dialogue is forced & some parts are cheesy - This isn't great literature
  • There are some theological holes


  • 'The Shack' is published by Windblown Media.
  • Published: May 2007
  • 253 pages

Guide Review - 'The Shack' by William P. Young - Book Review

The Shack by William P. Young is a story about Mack, a man whose daughter is kidnapped and brutally murdered. A few years after her murder, Mack receives an invitation from God to meet Him at the shack where they found his daughter's bloody clothes. Mack goes and works through the meaning of suffering as he spends the weekend with the Trinity, uniquely portrayed (God the Father is a large black woman, for instance).

Why is The Shack so popular? Is it actually a "must read?" To the first question, I can only say that I think The Shack is asking some of the most important questions people can ask, and exploring the answers in a way that is very accessible. While reading, I understood its appeal -- these are the very questions that I wrestle with in my heart, and Young works through them in a very comforting way.

As to whether The Shack is a "must read," I'd say, "that depends." It sort of reminds me of the words, "I love you." There is nothing especially unique about them, and they are extremely overused. From certain people or in certain situations, you are likely to dismiss or even be infuriated by hearing them uttered. Of course, from the right person, hearing them can be one of the most powerful experiences of your life. So with The Shack. This is a decidedly Christian answer in a somewhat shallow story with forced dialogue. It's not the best writing in the world, but I can easily see how if you read The Shack at the right moment, it has the power to change your life. I know I'm still thinking about it, and I received enough gems from the novel to recommend it to others.


mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Miller, Erin Collazo. "'The Shack' by William P. Young - Book Review." ThoughtCo, Aug. 25, 2020, thoughtco.com/the-shack-by-william-p-young-book-review-362334. Miller, Erin Collazo. (2020, August 25). 'The Shack' by William P. Young - Book Review. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/the-shack-by-william-p-young-book-review-362334 Miller, Erin Collazo. "'The Shack' by William P. Young - Book Review." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/the-shack-by-william-p-young-book-review-362334 (accessed January 24, 2021).