The Shack

The Shack Study Guide

The Shack is a work of Christian fiction published by William Paul Young in 2007. The novel tells the story of Mack, a man whose daughter has been abducted by a serial killer, meeting God face to face and spending a weekend in a shack in the woods exploring grief and religion.

While the foreword and afterword of the book make it seem as if Young is recording a story told to him by a close friend, Young has called the story "a parable laden with metaphor. It is a true story, but not real" (

Young originally wrote The Shack for his family and close friends to show them his religious beliefs and struggles. After reading it, a few of Young's friends encouraged him to publish it. Young sent the book to over twenty publishers, but was rejected by all of them, so Young, Wayne Jacobsen, Brad Cummings, and Bobby Downes formed a publishing company called Windblown Media and used it to publish the book. The book was not immediately successful, but it became suddenly popular in 2008. The book shot to number one on the New York Times paperback fiction best seller list in June of 2008 and kept the spot until early 2010.

The book generated a mixed reception from Christian leaders and media figures. Some called the book heretical due to its representations of the Trinity, its criticism of the church, and its "silly" tone ("Stay Out of The Shack"). Others have supported Young's depictions of God and religion and even written companion pieces concerning how to use The Shack in religious and therapeutic settings.

The Shack has been published in foreign languages including Spanish, German, Croatian, and Polish. A film adaptation of The Shack was released in 2017, which has been popular with audiences but poorly-received by critics.