rating: 2 out of 5 chocolates
Religious literature isn't normally a genre that I go for, my preferences bend towards fantasy, historical and general fiction. However this title was one of those that kept popping up now and then when I was working at Borders. I thought it would be a good idea to read the back of it, in case I had to talk to customers about it. What I read intrigued me, and so I decided to pick up a copy.
The story begins four years after Mackenzie's youngest daughter was abducted and murdered during a family vacation. On a stormy winter's day, Mack receives a note, apparently from God, inviting him for a weekend at the shack where his daughter was believed to be murdered. Angered, he decides to go to the shack and find out exactly who the note is from. What he finds there on that weekend will shake the very foundation of everything that he has ever believed in.
I found Young's writing gripping at the beginning, especially the part that unveils Missy's disappearance and the events that unfold shortly after. The author paints such a vivid description of Mack's pain, so much so that you can feel it as your own. However, as Mack comes face to face with what brings him to the shack, and for the whole duration of his time there, Young's writing becomes extremely repetitive, in the guise of allowing the reader to further understand what is being explained. There were a few reasons that I could think of for this, none of them unfortunately favours the author. First, Young had to draw it out that way otherwise the book would be incredibly short. Second, he actually could not explain things in a concise manner. Lastly, he assumed that his readers would be a little slow on the uptake. Whatever his reasons were, the explanations behind several of his key points could have been shortened immensely.
Furthermore, I found chapter 15 specifically to be superfluous. It did not add anything to the narration at all. If its sole purpose was for Mack to reconcile with his past, then that chapter failed as it lacked the emotional force needed. And if it was purely to add mysticism, then it was absolutely unnecessary as the whole story itself is already improbable.
A few of Young's points go against the grain of what the church stands for, as well as what has been taught about Christianity. Personally, I thought this quite bold and at the same time I found it refreshing. However I can see it upsetting staunchly religious believers. Definitely not recommended for your hard-core devoted grandparents.
What I appreciated about this book is that it offers acceptable and logical explanations about how God is not to blame for all of the bad things that happen in life, and that evil stems from human independence. Young also gives a very humbling insight with regards to judging others.
I must admit, I found this quite a difficult book to review, for a newbie such as myself. It doesn't help that religion can be a prickly subject to discuss. So please forgive me if my personal bias accidentally seeped through. This was not my intention at all.
And before I go, many thanks to Buzz_B, Candice, A. F. Stewart, Megan and Melissa for your comments on my review for Miss Peregrine. Much appreciated. :)