While Mackenzie Philips is camping with his children at Wallowa State Park in Oregon, his youngest daughter, Missy, is abducted by a serial killer. Horrified and brokenhearted, Mac works with the police only to reach a dead end at an abandoned shack in the Oregon Wilderness. There the trail ends cold with no hope of ever finding Missy’s body or the killer.
Years pass and one day Mac gets a note inviting him to the shack for the weekend. It’s signed “Papa,” which is Mac’s wife’s term for God. Mac figures the note is from God, the killer, or he’s gone crazy. Either way, he can’t ignore it and packs up for a long drive to the shack where he discovers answers he never knew he was looking for.
The Shack is a very controversial book. From glancing over the hundreds of reviews online, Christians are pretty much divided. My recommendation: If you read this book knowing that it’s a fiction novel, that it’s one man’s understanding of God, and that it’s not necessarily Biblical truth, it is worth the read. Mr. Young offers an intriguing perspective on God’s loving nature. And through Mac’s discussions with God, many difficult concepts are explored, like “forgiving the unforgivable,” “why bad things happen,” and “how we get to heaven.” This is a great book to get you thinking about the wonders of God and gives you plenty of material to discuss God with others. Be sure to go to your Bible to check the facts and ask your pastor or youth pastor if you come up with questions you can’t answer. Recommended with caution for teens 16 and up.