Friday, August 08, 2008

Book Review

Synopsis: This is what the back of the book reads. I don't want to risk ruining any of the plot points. "Mack Phillips' youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later, in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend."
Without ruining too much, I do just want to add that the main point in the novel is that terrible things happen because we live in a fallen world, not because God wills them to happen, and he will pursue his purposes through our fallen world and through unspeakable tragedies despite our inability to see his greatest good.
Readability: Easily written and therefore easily readable, but the topics covered in this novel (that's right, it's a work of FICTION--please bear that in mind) are so heavy that I frequently found myself needing to take a break.
Predictability: I suspected the ending, but I was pleasantly surprised by it nonetheless.
Couldn't Put it Down Factor: Like I said, I wanted to keep reading, but needed to digest this one frequently.
Recommend it?: YES. Yes, YESSS! Please go buy this book. Though I have some problems with the theology presented here, it really challenges my views on God and the way he loves us and the way he loves the trinity. I have never read something that makes me see God as such a loving friend as he is presented in this text. The basics of God's love are represented here, and because of that, I am willing to overlook some theological weirdness and a sometimes irreverent treatment of God, and would wholeheartedly recommend this read to anyone. ANYONE. Please be warned, however, that the first quarter of the book does indeed deal with the kidnapping of a little girl, which is hard to stomach, but the pain and agony of losing a child is such a small portion of this novel that it is survivable (just like it is for Mack!).
Overall Rating: Four stars. Minus one for the theology, and I have to admit that something JUST doesn't sit quite right with me on this one. I don't know what or why, though.
Special note: I am aware that this book is surrounded by controversy. I have spent a significant amount of time reading other people's reviews, and have determined that what you think about this one is up to you (just like your relationship with God). It challenged me in the way I see God, and I appreciate it for that fact. If you have read, are reading or want to read this book and want to talk about it, I am REALLY interested in other people's opinions about this one. Please contact me!


Kathaleend said...

Your review sums things up really well. There are some flaws in the theology and there are some things that just made me say nuh-uh. But the overall impact of the book, in making me think about my relationship to God is worth the read. Sometimes it takes something like this or a movie to make us delve deeper into who God is and what he expects from us.

Since I can't seem to get Charles and Mc reading on this one, I will read it to them on our road trip this weekend.

Let the discussion begin!

Cara said...

Hmmm... This actually sounds like a book that this non-reader might enjoy reading. Can I borrow it?