28 February 2013

The Shack - William P. Young

February's Old Duck's book was The Shack by William P. Young. I borrowed it from my local library.

This book was nothing short of profound.

I am so thankful that I read this book.

As I thought through the things I was thankful for with respect to this book, I realised that it all circled around one particular person. This person has unknowingly had a deep impact on my life. It was this person who told me about the playgroup I now attend through which I have, both directly and indirectly, met some of my closest friends, including MissyMoo3's (17 months) Godmothers. This person is also a part of the Old Ducks Bookclub, and suggested The Shack. I am thankful that she suggested it and for the journey it took me on.

The book is unapologetically spiritual. However, even if you're not into that, any person with a heart couldn't not be moved by this book in some way. Particularly if that person is a parent. Even more particularly if that person is a parent of a six-year-old daughter (like me). I read the first few chapters one night and cried myself to sleep. My heart was broken. I honestly did not know whether I would be able to carry on reading in the morning, how things could possibly improve from that low point at which I left the book. In some small way, I was taking on the protagonist's grief.

I am thankful that this same person and I had discussed the book earlier that day in the school car pick-up area. She had told me that, although parts were difficult, it was worth reading on and seeing it through to the end.

She was right. It was worth reading on.

At a "non-Jesus" level, it is a journey through grief towards a light at the end of the tunnel, towards a place where hope in life and healing might be found.

At a spiritual level, it was thought-provoking. As a Catholic whose faith is a constant ride of peaks and troughs, I identified with the doubts expressed throughout the book. What surprised me, though, was that I also felt it strengthening my faith, providing possible answers to some of my questions, and helping me to consider things from perspectives I have never encountered thus far in my life. It made sense.

The second day when I read through the rest of the book, I cried tears of joy. It was an emotional journey but one I am so thankful I was able to take.

So many people say "Things happen for a reason", but I have never truly believed that. I think that when things happen, you can learn from them, turn them into stepping-stones or "reasons", but that's something we do, not something which is done for us. I do believe that sometimes you find yourself in places or with people and you just know that it is exactly where you "should" be, but I don't believe that we are being led from one place to another all our lives - we just know when it's right. One of the things which really stood out for me was discussion of free will. I understood it and nodded in agreement at some of the things which were written. It helped me to see that not believing that things happen for a reason is not a sign of lack of faith ... which was comforting. At the same time, it reinforced to me that maybe I am where I "should" be.

There were so many ideas in there about relationships and how they all fit together, how they work in harmony, the things we do which strengthen our relationships with others and the things which can be destructive. In the last part of the book, it became exciting to see all the pieces and messages fitting together. It isn't just a story, it's a message. I know that if I read it over again in future, there will be so much more to get out of it.

If you're interested, have a read of it and/or check out the book's website: www.theshackbook.com.

I'll leave you with a quote from the book which I loved (p185): "Grace doesn't depend on suffering to exist, but where there is suffering you will find grace in many facets and colours."

Book: Paperback. Borrowed from my local library.
Rating: I've given this 5 stars on Goodreads.
One-liner: Amazing, moving, incredibly profound book.

Linking up for Thankful Thursday with Six by the Bay:


  1. I am parent of six yr old boys but it sounds interesting.

    1. Any parent would be affected, Trish.

  2. Gosh, sounds like it was exactly the right book for you to read at this moment in your life. That's something I really love about books - sometimes I feel as though they've sought me out just when I needed them! Will definitely put this on my substantial to-read list.

    1. It really was, Lara. The next book I read will be something light though!

  3. It sounds like you have a fabulous friend there! I absolutely love reading. I am always looking for new books to read. I also love spiritual, thought provoking books. I have to be in the right frame of mind to read a book such as this one though - where I'm taking on a journey through grief and healing etc. I am a very emotional person. I have read books like this before though and am grateful that I have. I have noted down the name of this book and will add it to my list of 'must reads'. Many thanks! Min xo

    1. You're right, Min, you absolutely have to be ready to read it as it's quite emotionally draining. Not the sort of thing you'd read on the train going to work, for example! I read it over a weekend when I had nowhere else to be and that worked well.

  4. My grandparents lent me this book to read and couldn't praise it enough - your post reminded me that I need to read it. thanks for sharing your thoughts! and I'll get on it : ) Sarita x


    1. Thanks for your comment :-)

      I've just checked out your blog and may I say I am extremely jealous of you living in Italy!

  5. Another book to add to the list, thanks for recommending! Before I get my hands on it, would you say it's suitable for someone to read who has just lost their mother (not me, a dear friend) or perhaps wait a little while?
    Cheers - Lou @ The Honesty Path

    1. I'd probably say wait a little while for your friend - while the the healing is great, the grief before you get there is full-on. If their emotions are still raw, it would be hard to read.

  6. I love good book recommendations. This sounds very interesting and Ill consider it after I get through my HUGE pile!!! Great to have you here again xxxxxx

  7. Thanks for this recommendation - I am going to see if I can get it out of the library.
    Have the best day !

  8. I know a lot of Christians were really against this book - God as a large black woman??! What the!!!! How disrespectful!!!

    Personally I enjoyed it. And, I know a couple of people who have been through dreadful things with their children, who were really blessed by it.


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