I was interested in reading The Shack the first time I heard of it early this year. But, at the time, I was in the midst of an obscure series called Harry Potter that I didn’t want to break away from, so I figured I’d get to it. As the months passed, I saw the hype around The Shack begin to build, and so did my skepticism. I guess I’m just enough of a cynic that I assume that the more people think something is good, the less likely I am to be interested in it.
But, I did read The Shack. And I liked it — enough to overshadow my primary critique. One thing many fiction writers say is that their best characters are unpredictable — they don’t often do what the writer expects, or wants, them to do. And in reading fiction, it seems like you can tell when the character has taken on their own life, rather than just done the bidding of the author.
Because of this, I am a skeptic of any sort of story that is meant solely to teach. Dialgoue becomes less believable when it is just used as a vehicle for the author to make a point. So my critique of The Shack is that some of the characters (some of the Most Important characters, if you know what I mean) come across a little too flat, because they serve only to make a point.
That said, the points they make are often beautiful and the story was moving. Few books have stirred so much emotion in me, and I’m thankful that this book was able to take me places that I didn’t intend, or want, to go.