I don't want to say too much in case the rest of you haven't finished (or started) it yet. I did like the plot of the book: a man named Mack, whose youngest daughter was abducted and possibly murdered in an abandoned shack, receives a note purportedly from God inviting him to spend a weekend at that shack. What happens that weekend changes Mack forever.
It's a good storyline. My main problem with the book is theological. While I can understand the 'whys' behind some of the author's characterizations and the ways he presents some of the story, I disagree with parts of it. That's not to say that I found all of the book to be doctrinally false. There are parts that I do agree with from a theological standpoint.
What stands out to me the most is the idea that God never abandons us, even in our deepest, darkest moments of sorrow, pain, or hardship. He is always there; it remains for us to be able to recognize His presence and turn to Him for help. I think The Shack did a decent job of getting that point across. As I was in the midst of reading this book, I came across the text of an address given by Elder Jeffery R. Holland entitled Lessons from Liberty Jail. I think this address makes the same point as The Shack, but in a more concise and concrete way. Just a quick quote:
"...[Y]ou can have sacred, revelatory, profoundly instructive experience with the Lord in any situation you are in. Indeed, let me say that even a little stronger: You can have sacred, revelatory, profoundly instructive experience with the Lord in the most miserable experiences of your life—in the worst settings, while enduring the most painful injustices, when facing the most insurmountable odds and opposition you have ever faced."
For the entire text of the address, click here.
There is no question that Mack went through what for him was a "prison-temple" experience, similar in some ways to the experience of Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail as described by Elder Holland. I think that, for those people who may be unfamiliar with the idea of God being one who truly knows us as individuals and loves each of us immeasureably, this book can be eye-opening and truly moving.
I hope someone else has read it or is currently reading it. I'd be interested in discussing The Shack on a more in-depth level, and I'd love to know what the rest of you thought about it.