This is longer-than-my-usual-blogs and comes complete with flashbacks and links!
After much avoidance, I read The Shack by William P. Young this past week. I truly enjoyed the book and have all kinds of things to discuss with someone…(make yourselves known). However, about this time last year, I was not receptive to the book at all. (I think mostly because, from the descriptions and reviews, I knew that it would make me feel old grief that I had neatly tucked away…) So, when discussing book options at a Bluestocking Babes (my bookclub) gathering, I was pretty vocal about the fact that I had not read The Shack and didn’t really want to. Shortly after that gathering, my friend Candi posted a beautiful excerpt from the book in this BLOG ENTRY.
I subsequently wrote the following email to The Bluestockings:
Subject: The Shack
From: betsy@wildthyme (dot) com
Date: August 1, 2008 8:30:38 AM CDT
To: The Bluestocking Babes
I’m sending you a link to my friend Candi’s blog. (It was her nephew that was killed in a playground accident a couple of weeks ago.) Her latest blog includes excerpts from The Shack. She is on the long list of people who have encouraged me to read the book. (She also knows me well enough to say, “just remember you weren’t going to drive a mini van or an SUV.”)
I’m not sure why I get so dead set against “Christian fiction”. I think maybe because in my heart I don’t believe in the concept. Be a writer. Be a Christian. Be a writer who happens to be a Christian. But creating a new genre??? I’m not sure that I believe the genre should exist. (Okay, I won’t get on this soapbox today…) But thought you guys might like to read the excerpts – the language is very creative and at times really beautiful. I think that the way Candi has used the passages matches perfectly the tenor of the book; and her usage strikes more than one theme.
Maybe this will help you decide about the book. Maybe you’ve joined the bandwagon of readers already. I just wanted to clear the record because I had been snubbing my nose at the book and I didn’t want to be the reason that you guys set against it. It’s been sitting on my desk all summer, so I’m going to break it open. Finally. Candi told me that I would either consume it in one large gulp or savor slowly with a pen in hand. I’ll let you know.
Almost a year to the day later, I sat out in the sun, listened to the ocean and read the book all in one sitting.
I laughed and a couple of times I cried. I even fell in love again… I suspect my fellow sun-bathers wondered what was up 5 chairs to the right of the gate. I also, got so caught up in the reading I had a sunscreen fail of epic proportions!
As I sit here and type, I am peeling away the last vestiges of the sunburn from the aforementioned session. I have a book full of underlines, a head full of questions and a cracked open heart.
I’ve journaled (some. art pages to come) and will happily discuss with any of you, not only my changed opinion but my changed self.