Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Book Review: Don't Bother

So, by now, you know that I'm an avid reader and always looking for something new to start. After many (too many) people asking if I've read The Shack by William P. Young, I finally decided it was time to give the book a try. After all, it's a best-seller, widely circulated in many churches, and highly-endorsed by some close friends and family.

A few things: 1. I don't enjoy fiction. 2. I don't enjoy wordy, overly-descriptive, rambling, missing the point sentences. 3. I don't enjoy dialog that goes on and on and on... and on. It took less than seven minutes of flipping through the chapters in this book to realize it had three strikes against it before I even read it.

But, wanting to give it a fair read, I cracked it open and got comfy. I finished the book in two days. Not because it was so good I couldn't put it down. And, not because I had so much free time I didn't know what else to do. I finished it in two days because by mid-way through the book, I was doing some serious skimming just to get through it.

Try as I may, I couldn't give honest attention to a book that portrayed God as an African-American woman called Papa; Jesus as a Middle Eastern, middle-aged man with simple looks; and the Holy Spirit as a small Asian woman. And, on top of this, the Trinity is described as "in a circle of relationship, not a chain of command." (Ay-yi-yi...!)

The book has some moments of drama and some scenes of tender emotion. But the book also construes what Scripture says about revelation and authority and salvation and forgiveness, to name a few.

If I really believe that 2 Timothy 3:16-17 is true, that "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work," my immediate response is to raise the yellow flag.

Is this book good fiction? That's a matter of preference. Is this book entertaining? Again, a matter of preference. Is this book a guide for scriptural application? Nope. Is this book a useful resource for teaching the character of God and training the reader in God's design for love and forgiveness? Nope.

I'm not a great writer and I'm not a great book-reviewer. I've read a lot of reviews for this book and encourage you to take a look a the following:

Take it or leave it - that's up to you. But how you choose to handle God's name and his Truth - that's a different matter. Just sayin'.

(P.S. Bring it! I'm ready for the influx of emails.)


  1. I have actually heard very few GOOD things about this book. I hardly ever have a minute to read...don't think I will waste my time. Thanks for sharing your perspective!

  2. Way to throw it down, Sarah..I love how you invite the controversy...that is true conviction! Thanks for the post...I heartily agree!! Norm Geisler did a review on this book that Jay and I loved! Sorry you ended up wasting your time! :-) Have you ever read: Brokenness, Surrender, Holiness by Nancy Leigh Demoss? AWESOME!!!

  3. I am in total agreement with you thought on this book! When it came out I had the same reaction for lots of people, but after much research I found that it was not a book that I would ever endorse (not that the author asked for my endorsement on the cover anyway!)

    I love your willingness to stand for truth even if it may not be popular.

    Jess <><

  4. I absolutely hate not finishing a book, but after getting half way through this one it has been sitting on my night stand for 6 months. I just cannot get excited about picking it back up again...