The Shack

ShackoverAs I’ve mentioned before, I’ve never been big on reading Christian-based books. Not even just Christian but religious books in general. The fiction ones come off too cheesy most of the time and the non-fiction ones are just too dry. So when my mother begged me to read The Shack, I was a little reluctant. I’d heard quite a bit about the book especially now that there is a movie on it and it hadn’t really struck my fancy. But I thoroughly enjoy discussing books with my mom, so I gave it a shot.

I have never read a more emotionally exhausting book. And I don’t mean that in a negative way. I’ve never had a book break me apart and put me back together in new ways. It was exhilarating and saddening all at the same time.

The Shack tells the story of Mackenzie “Mack” Allen Phillips and his “Great Sadness”. Three years earlier, he took his kids camping for a weekend. The day they are to leave, his youngest daughter goes missing and can’t be found. Mack carries this sadness with him for years, his children suffer from the loss of their sister, and his wife is just trying to keep the family together. Until one day, Mack receives a note in the mailbox signed by “Papa”, the name his wife calls God, asking him to go back to where his sadness all began. Is this some cruel trick played by a neighbor? Or is God really asking Mack to face his past?

Ultimately, Mack decides to go back to the shack and find what awaits him there. By doing so, Mack opens himself up to a healing like no other and a learning experience many will never believe.

William P. Young writes a marvelous tale of sadness, anger, forgiveness, and finding out what love really means. The Shack forces you to reexamine your relationship with God, whether you have one or not, and question all the things you thought you knew about religion. I can’t recommend this book enough, but fair warning, be sure you have plenty of tissues handy.

Unlocked

22574100I grew up in a Christian home. My father is a preacher, my mother the daughter of a deacon. Religion has been a big part of my life. But as such, I’ve never been a big reader of Christian novels. However, I enjoy when someone loans me a book they think I’ll enjoy or just one they want to discuss with me.

My mother loaned me Unlocked by Karen Kingsbury. She’s big on Kingsbury books and has loaned me a few previously. While Kingsbury’s books offer heartwarming stories, her writing style seems like something written by a middle-schooler. Unlocked is no different.

Kingsbury spins a story about an autistic boy and his long-lost best friend. She depicts the trials of having an autistic child and the loss of friendships. We’re pulled into a story that is heart-wrenching yet filled with hope.

If a reader can look past the technicalities of Kingsbury’s writing, you’re sure to find an inspirational story.