Tuesday, August 19, 2008

the shack

last night, the cosi girls' book club discussed the shack by someone or other. weeks on the new york times bestseller list, it was one of those books that leaves the Writer in me shaking my head. this? i wonder to myself. people like this?

i guess they do.

lest i sound bitter, let me assure the reader i am simply puzzled. i just don't understand the appeal of such a story. the Event that frames the story - the murder (sacrifice?) of a pre-pubescent girl (even a fledgling feminist like myself can see all sorts of interesting cultural and societal Truth being revealed unbeknownst to the author) is simply so horrific that i - as the mother of four young women - found it hard to wrap my mind around. the way in which the characters dealt with it simply didn't ring true for me. and the way this Event is used - as a literary device - in such a horrific way - in the world of the shack, such an Event (such a sacrifice) is required for God to make manifest in the world - simply chills my soul to the bone.

it tries to explain why God (who requires Sacrifice) lets bad things happen to good people, said one of the women.

i guess that's the piece that speaks to most people.

it offers an awfully narrow answer, i said. if the author is going to present God in a story as a character, i would expect that author to be a bit more universal in his presentation. there's other answers than the one in this book.

like what, challenged another woman. why on earth would god let something like this murder happen to this poor girl in the story?

maybe her Soul choose that fate, i said. as a lesson, as a challenge, as some form of karma. maybe she was the person who murdered anne frank.

oh, said the lady. i never thought of it that way.

neither has the author, obviously, because he spends a very earnest 300 odd pages attempting to explain and justify in excrutiating detail why a Good God - though why a god who requires sacrifice in order to manifest in the world is construed as a Good God is beyond me - allows Bad Things. The whole book reminded me of the movie Contact with jodie foster, that i saw with my friend, lorraine.

people really believe heaven is UP? i whispered in the theatre.

i remember how she looked at me, as if surprised. yeah, anne, she answered. they do.

i wonder if these are the same people.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

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