The Shack by Wm Paul Young (Julia’s reading project boo review)

The Shack

By:  Wm Paul Young

Published by:  Windblown Media

Remember the reading project I’m doing with my teenage munchkin?  We’re kind of getting behind…  with Springtime busyness.  Let’s face it, I’m not the most disciplined person in the world so why should my daughter be, right?  lol  FINALLY, after a few weeks, Munchkin finished her last book!  This one’s costing me 5 bucks and it’s 5 bucks I’m happy to pay because she LOVED it!

Here’s the description from the back cover:

“Mackenzie Allen Phillips’ 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 received a suspicious not apparently fro God, inviting him back to that shack for the weekend.

Against his better judgement he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare.  What he finds there will change Mack’s life forever.

In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant, The Shack wrestles with the timeless question, “Where is God in a world  so filled with unspeakable pain?”  The answer Mack gets will astound you and perhaps transform you as much as it did him.  You’ll want everyone you know to read this book!”

What was Julia’s take on this AMAZING story?  It made her THINK & FEEL.  She asked me if this was a true story.  I’d heard conflicting reports about the “truthfulness” of this story.  In the end, we “Googled” the question.  We found the authors site and read straight from the horses mouth that The Shack was indeed fiction based on an event in the authors life.  He says that he wrote the book for his own children and he’s leaving it up to the reader whether or not the “conversations” took place.  He leads us to believe they did actually happen and that he (the author) really IS Mack, the lead character in the book.

There are so many questions we, as adults, have about God.  Is He/She a disciplinary God or is He/She a loving God or maybe both?  Why does God let bad things happen to good people?  Naturally, a teenager has maybe even more questions than an adult has.  My daughter has faith that God exists and she really IS more spiritual than the average teenager, I think.  However, this book answered most of the questions she has.  The Shack just made sense out of God’s love for her.

Here’s what Julia says about The Shack:

“I believe Missy (Mack’s daughter) was murdered just so that Mack can see what God is really about.  Instead of God being his enemy, He became Mack’s closest confidant.  This was the BEST book I’ve ever read so far.  I took a lot of notes on pretty much everything that Papa (God) said.  My favorite quote was, “A part of you chooses not to see me.  You don’t need me at all to create your list of good and evil.  But you DO need me to stop such an insane lust for independence.”  It reminds me a lot of myself.  The Shack changed my perspective on God.  Now I see Him as a loving, caring and forgiving God, instead of only seeing God as a powerful, scary man who only exists to punish me for my sins.  Although I didn’t see Him as only mean, I just didn’t see Him capable or willing to be as nurturing of a God as the author portrayed in the book.

I wish the whole world would red this book!!!”

So you see, by Julia’s comments, she cared enough to not only READ the book, she also took notes!  Wow.  I didn’t know this until she gave me her book report.  This made me SO happy!  It’s a definite jackpot when she finishes a book, remembers what it talked about AND it sparks her imagination and makes her grow as an individual.  Now I have the hard job of trying to top this one for her!  lol

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Lincoln A Photobiography (by Russell Freedman)… Julia’s Reading Project

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about Julia’s reading project.  It’s been a while because we’ve been so overwhelmed and busy.  Too much to do and too little time.  SOMETHING had to give.  Sadly, it had to be her reading.  I hate to slack in this area because I feel like these reading projects that I give her are sometimes the only education she’s getting.  School just keeps getting more disappointing.  I’m STRONGLY considering taking her out of public high school and either placing her in the Catholic school system or home schooling her.  I feel terrible about even considering imposing such a change at this delicate age but she has to get an education from SOMEWHERE.  There are some days where the ONLY educators who show up to teach these kids are substitute teachers who don’t know their A$$ from a hole in the ground.  I guess that’s a subject for a different post.  TRUST me, that will be a rant that you might not want to read.

Back to the book.  A few months ago, while visiting Springfield Illinois, the hubby and I visited The Lincoln Museum and Library.  Abraham Lincoln is such a colorful personality in history and there’s just so much more to his story than his presidency and the way he died. I wanted Julia to learn about the man and what made him tick.  There are SO many books to read on this subject and I didn’t really know which one would be geared more toward a teenager.  I consulted a representative of the Lincoln Library and she recommended a Photobiography.  I’ll have to admit that I wasn’t sold on this as it seems like I would be helping to “dumb down the youth of America”! Lord knows that once we start resorting to picture books for our teenagers, we’ve given up hope on them ever being literate.  lol  Okay, I gave in because the lady had a good idea.  She told me that this particular book touches on all the subjects that interested me PLUS Julia would be able to see pictures that related to Lincoln’s life.  I think if they’re real photographs, that’s history too, right?  There was enough of the story here and I wanted Julia to be interested.  It worked!

Lincoln:A Photobiography

Lincoln A Photobiography by Russell Freedman

Clarion Books

A John Newberry Medal Winner

“As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master – This expresses my idea’s of democracy.  Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the differences, is no democracy.”

A. Lincoln

“Few, if any, of the many books written for children about Lincoln can compare with Freedman’s contribution… Well organized and well written, this is an outstanding example of what (juvenile) biography can be.  Like Lincoln himself, it stands head and shoulders above it’s competition.”

-School Library Journal

What impressed Julia most about this book?  She tells me that she felt like she actually knew the man.  She discovered what might have motivated Abe Lincoln to feel and act so strongly about certain topics, such as slavery.  Julia was also impressed with how likable a guy Mr. Lincoln was.  She learned that although his photos don’t portray him as a very handsome man, many people who knew him, reported that once they were in his presence, his “spirit” shined through his eyes and his smile and made him appear very handsome.  He was so charismatic and funny.  Julia was also impressed that Mr. Lincoln remained strong in his convictions even while being hated by Democrats and Republicans alike.  He won his last election very narrowly and ONLY because Sherman had torched Atlanta and FINALLY it looked as though the Union would win.  Before that, it seemed as if the war would carry on forever and before too much longer, most of the male population of America, would be wiped out.  Julia tells me that she was amazed to be reminded that Abraham Lincoln was a Republican.  In American contemporary issues, it seems like the Democratic party takes credit for being the party who stands up for the rights of African Americans.  In reality, the Democratic Party started out VERY against emancipation of the American slave.  To be fair, not many Republican’s were in favor of emancipation either.  Lincoln BARELY got the Emancipation Proclamation to pass and resorted to a little bit of “trickery” to sneak it past many legislators.  Julia tells me that the schools don’t really focus on the other causes of the Civil War.  Mostly, the kids are led to believe that slavery is the sole reason for the war, when in fact, she learned that slavery didn’t become an issue until after the war had already started.  Through this book, she was able to put faces to names and she learned so much more about this period of time, in history, than she did in school with her history book.

Did she like the book?  Yes and she says she’ll recommend it to anyone her age who needs to do a project on the life of Abraham Lincoln or the causes of the Civil War.  I have to say that even I learned more than I previously knew.  So the picture book thing?  Yeah, I like it!  lol  Julia earned $5 for this one.  However, she had to write 2 book reports because she tried to copy, word for word, part of the first one she turned into me.  So there’s the added lesson she learned about plagiarism!  lol  It’s never too soon to learn about that, right?