To be honest, I was skeptical about the hype surrounding new author William P. Young's The Shack. I've read rave reviews for it and seen high recommendations from all kinds of people of many different walks of life. Even people around me were talking about how good it was. At this point, it seemed like I was the only one who didn't read and I wondered what I was missing out on. I was missing out on something enjoyable and original, that's what I was missing out on.
The plot develops slowly, describing a certain man's family life: how he and his wife are the perfect couple and how they have many children. But the story really focuses on their youngest child: Missy, who was kidnapped by a serial killer at a young age. Bearing all this, the man is invited by God to return to the very shack where she was murdered and meet Him there. The back of the book reads "and what he finds there changes his life forever".
I was skeptical about this line because it's been so overused. But I was truly surprised about what he found in the shack. It is truly original. It brings up an issue and a concept that I had never thought of before, but it is one that is all too true.
The only problem I found with it was Young's inability to cut the bait near the end of the book. In my opinion, he should have let the readers find the bait themselves, but this is really inconsequential, especially if you don't care about plot structure. However, this minor detail keeps this book off the Elite List.
The other thing that keeps the book off the Elite List is the boring second half. It mostly consists of philosophical conversations. Also, the characters aren't too wowing.
However, William P. Young has showed us all two things: it doesn't take a fancy, "professional" writer to write an original book, and, originality is better when not forced.