If you are a dreamer, come in,
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer...
If you're a pretender, come sit by my fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin.
Come in!
Come in!

- Shel Silverstein, Where the Sidewalk Ends

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Shack by Wm. Paul Young

Recouping from the flu has one (and only one) benefit; the perfect excuse to snuggle in with a book and read an entire day away. Friday evening, when I purchased The Shack by Wm. Paul Young, I had an urge to purchase a second novel. Somehow, I new I would devour this paperback long before I had a chance to get back to the book store. Unfortunately, I resisted the urge for an additional purchase; and now I sit on a rainy Sunday morning, coffee mug full, reading glasses on, and nothing but a few parenting magazines to lose myself in today. Booo.

From the moment my darling friend, with whom I often trade books, discouraged me from reading this heart wrenching story; I gravitated toward The Shack every time I recently stepped into a book shop. Although my friend could not force herself to complete this read, I could not put the book down. Other than food and potty breaks, my Saturday was spent solely consuming this literary collision of faith and fiction.

Young quickly grabbed my attention in the Forward with his descriptions of “Mack”, the voice of the story. Young obviously loves this character, maybe even reveals a bit of himself within the painfully joyous expedition we endure with Mack. As a mother of a beautiful blonde-haired, blued-eyed six year old, my heart ached through the tragedy that triggers Mack’s explosion of frustration and resentment towards God. Young’s descriptions of a parent’s worst nightmares coming to fruition in Mack’s life is so tangible, so “real” it was difficult to remind myself, this is fiction. Convinced this must have been where my friend stopped reading, great was the temptation to not allow my mind to be engulfed by the agony Mack endures as a grieving parent, and put the book down. (At this point, my husband is looking at me like I am a crazy person, tears pouring from my eyes.) But, the story would not release me from its grips; I dove in head first not surfacing for air until I had devoured every word.

At this point, allow me to stress just how NOT religious I am. Although my conversations with god are plentiful (as are all of my conversations with anyone within ear shot,) I do not subscribe to or restrict myself to any specific theology. Certain my spiritual life will become a recurring theme in this blog, we shall discuss this at a later date; but I will encourage anyone who questions their faith (admit it, we all question and you’re lying to yourself if you think otherwise) to read this book. It’s a beautifully tragic story that will break your heart and heal your soul.

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