Bert and Susan Cook of Evergreen recently loaned me an outstanding book that some of you have probably already read, “The Shack” by William P. Young.
I say that some of you have probably already read this immensely popular book because it has sold over a million copies and was the No. 1 trade paperback book on The New York Times best-seller list from June 2008 to early 2010, that is, for almost two years.
For those of you who haven’t read the book, it centers on a young girl named Missy, who is kidnapped during a family camping trip and is later murdered by a serial killer in an isolated cabin in the Pacific Northwest. Police find her bloody clothes in an old, deserted shack in the middle of nowhere, but aren’t able to find her body. Some readers will find portions of this novel disturbing. I know I did.
However, the redeeming thing that makes this book so great is that most of the book involves how the girl’s father, Mack, and his family deal with the loss of Missy. Mack is drawn to the shack where police found evidence of Missy’s murder by a mysterious letter that he finds in his mailbox. Thinking that the letter may have been sent as a taunt from Missy’s killer, Mack enters the shack and literally meets God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit in the form of an old woman, a young carpenter and a younger woman.
Mack proceeds to learn a number of valuable lessons about the nature of life and death, and, in the process, so does the reader.
I remember first hearing about this book during its remarkable run on the best-seller lists, but I didn’t have the desire to read it at the time for whatever reason. That changed though when I read a Writers Digest article that mentioned a very interesting fact about “The Shack” – it was self-published.
According to the article, Young wrote the book as a Christmas gift for his children and never intended to publish it for the general public. After his family and a few friends read it, they encouraged him to submit it for publication. With the help of several colleagues, Young, a former hotel night clerk from Canada, packaged the book for publication only to have it turned down by major publishing houses, including those that publish traditional religious books.
Young and his friends formed their own publishing house, Wind Blown Media, and self-published the book in May 2007. It didn’t sell well at first, but thanks to word of mouth and a Web site, the book would eventually end up on the top of the best-seller lists, sell over a million copies and make them a ton of money in the process.
In the end, I really enjoyed this book, and I appreciate the Cooks for letting me borrow their copy. How many of you have had the chance to read “The Shack”? What did you think about it? Did you like it or dislike it? Why? Let us know in the comments section below.
For more information about the book, visit www.theshackbook.com.