I work at a bookstore, and several months ago a woman came up to the counter with several copies of this book. Making polite small talk, I commented on how popular it was and that I was looking forward to reading it. Immediately she asked, "Oh, are you a Christian?" and proceeded to pummel me with questions about my faith. So I was surprised, when I finally read it, to find it not all laced up with contemporary dogma, as the particular fan I spoke with seemed to believe. That is certainly a blessing.
Yet, I was disappointed with the book. The premise is good, the theology is interesting and inclusive, and I like how the main character, Mack, is very human in that he does not give up easily his pain and anger. But I still found myself reading and wishing it was better. Part of it is that I grew up in a time of popculturized religion and JesusFreak "rock" bands and WWJD bracelets, so the idea of God being a sassy black woman, and Jesus being some really cool guy I just love SO much wears on me a little. I don't think that there's any surprise to the book that would warrant a spoiler alert; to me, The Shack is a book you can talk about in depth with someone who hasn't read it, which means that something about the story is sadly stale.