Book Club Beat - The Shack by William Paul Young

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Welcome to Book Club Beat, where book clubs share about their discussions. Today I have a special guest, Nora St. Laurent. In addition to running two "live" book clubs, Nora also coordinates the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) on-line book club, plus The Book Club Network, an on-line community for book club leaders, book club members, and authors (

Welcome, Nora! Please tell us about your book club meeting.

Book club name and/or location: Finding Hope book club, which meets in a bookstore in Georgia.

Title and Author: The Shack by William Paul Young.

What it’s about:

Mackenzie Allen Philips' 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. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack's world forever.

Were discussion questions available? Were they helpful?

Yes, there are questions in the back of the book. However, since we had a visit by the author, we listened to him speak, and then he took questions from the audience.

What we liked about the book:

My group loved the book. After listening to the author explain parts of the book and why he wrote them, we loved it even more.

Anything we would change about the book?

To be honest not many of us liked the cover of the book. It was a book that I never would have picked up because of the cover.

Fun connections (did the story inspire food, decorations, etc.? Did you have an author visit or phone call?):

Several people brought fun food but none was inspired by the book.

We did have a visit by the author. He first came to the store and did a book signing. The line wrapped around the store and every person got his full attention. I delighted to watch people share what the book meant to them. When he was done signing, he gave each person a hug.

Word got out that William Paul Young would be speaking at our book club that evening, so we had to find another location to seat the larger crowd.

When he came to speak, he shared his amazing journey. His wife bugged him about writing a story to his children that they could keep. He decided to write a book about the important things in life he wanted to share with his kids. He wrote on a train to and from work, then went to Kinko’s and made booklets for his kids. His kids gave it to their friends, and someone said he should publish it as a book.

Deep connections (this story made us think about the following discussion topics):

This story sparked lots of discussion. People cried when they shared parts that deeply touched them.

Do you recommend this book for other book clubs?

Yes, there will be lively discussion. But there has been a lot of controversy about this book. People have asked me what I thought of William Paul Young. I thought he was sincere. It was amazing to see how many people were touched by his book. So, yes, I recommend it, but beware of the wide variety of reactions.

Thanks, Nora, for sharing about your book club meeting with us! Sounds very interesting.

If you belong to a book club and would like your group to be featured on this blog, let me know! Pictures of the book club can be included if you'd like. Christian or "clean secular" fiction/nonfiction only please. The questionnaire is short, and I'll obtain the book cover and story blurb.

If you're looking for a book club, check out the Book Club Network at , an on-line meeting place for Christian book club members and authors. Over 900 members and it's only a few months old! Join the fun!

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