This book had been sitting on my mental "to be read" list for a long time now. I knew the plot from a friend of mine and I also knew I would have a hard time getting through it. I wasn't expecting it to have so much religion in it, but by the end of it I was very grateful and learned a lot about myself and my own beliefs.
The Shack is about a father, Mackenzie (Mack) Phillips of five kids. His youngest daughter, Missy is abducted during a family vacation. Although Missy's body was never recovered they did find evidence in an abandoned shack that she was brutally murdered by a notorious serial killer nicknamed The Little Ladykiller. This man preyed on young girls around the age of 5 and always left a ladybug pin behind.
The book takes place four years after Missy's death. Mack receives a note from "Papa" that invites him back to the shack. Papa is the name Mack's wife, Nan refers to God as. Mack doesn't know if this is a joke, but decides he has to go to find out.
He arrives at the scene of Missy's death and has a weekend long encounter with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. God is portrayed as an African-American woman, although this is only the anthropomorphism of God she chose to possess in order to communicate with Mack. Jesus is a Middle Eastern man and the Holy Spirit is a small woman of Asian descent named Sarayu.
The Shack covers many theological topics although the main theme is Mack's inability to trust God since Missy's death and his anger towards him for allowing such pain to happen to his youngest daughter.
With each chapter was another topic that would send me deep in thought. Some of these topics included forgiveness, judgement, the Trinity, submission, free will and salvation. Even though it is only 250 pages long, it took me over a week to finish. There were many chapters that brought tears to my eyes, and many times I had to stop reading.
I would definitely recommend this book if you have ever asked the question, "why?" when bad things happen to innocent people.