Friday, July 31, 2009

Shackup, Shackdown

The Shack is reported on its cover to "have the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress did for his. It's that good."

No it's not. And I've never read Pilgrim's Progress. It was well-enough written, but that's about it. My book club, the Wasatch Women's Club Page-Turners group voted it a three out of ten. Then we gave it a one-point-five out of five. It's easy to say that several of the group are usually fairly unhappy with books, but this one's "thumbs down" was justified. How did it ever find its way to the New York Times Bestseller list, let alone spot #1?

It started out fine then it took a strange turn. A pretty horrendous crime (the fine part) and then a giant segue into a religious experience the likes of which they only had during the sixties on special medication. Let's not even discuss who gets to represent God. Let's just get on with things.

The story takes place largely in and near the shack where the crime initially took place. Some pretty decent religious doctrinal ideas were presented about the nature of God, but they were presented in the most bizarre and out-of-the-way scenarios ever. It was just too strange -- and that's saying something.

Should you read it? I'd say no unless you'd like a kind of feel-good, contrived religious experience. It won't teach a whole lot to anyone who has been to Church every so often and listened up a bit.

And then if your book club chooses it, I guess you have no choice. But there are better options.