I have had this for a while; and I am sorry I did not read it sooner!
I will definitely have some thorough feedback and a review; but if you are religious in any manner, you need to read this!
Book two in The Generations series was everything I hoped for, and so much more!
This story picks up the story of Noah, starting before his birth to give you a great setting of what was going on. This is an accurate story about the book of Genesis, and what Noah and his wife, sons, and daughters-in-law went through to build this massive ship. For no other reason than they were told by God to do so, to save their family.
This story goes between what is happening on Earth, and what is happening in Heaven with God. They are intertwined, always, and helps you understand why those of us on Earth would have to experience hardship and struggles.
Caryl sets an environment for her stories that have you feeling like you are sitting in the middle of all of the activity; seeing what they see, hearing what they hear, and tasting what they eat.
As this book is not yet officially “published”, I prefer to not give too much away. But I have to say, if you enjoy religious stories, especially ones that give you even more than you will read in Scripture, you certainly want to see what she is writing.
Giving glory to God, Caryl helps make the connection for those who may be sitting on the fence about their religion.
Some of the best books I have read are ones I stumbled upon, and this one is no exception. I actually came across this book on a free ebook site, and due to the quality of this story, I am hoping (and going to suggest) that the author get this book somewhere where it can make the money it justly deserves to.
This story takes you on a 2000 year journey that begins with one person trying to obtain the 3 iron nails, and the wooden cross, that were used to crucify Jesus Christ. One man’s journey turns into a journey through the ages, with people hired for the entirety of their lives to track the history of one young girl who experienced stigmata when she was near the holy relics. They were tasked with tracking her family lineage, and passing on that duty to others that could be trusted, and it was made clear that this was a job that would never end. And it did not end. They knew this family’s bloodline would be one that could likely find these relics, no matter how much time may pass.
The iron nails were melted down and used to make a scimitar. The cross was cut down and made into three Glory Boxes, or what we would in today’s time call a Hope Chest. This scimitar enables the owner certain supernatural powers. Currently hid in the desert, it is being tracked both for the right, and wrong, reasons. Dependent on who it is that is searching for it.
This is one story where I do not want to give too much away, and certainly no spoilers. But I assure you, if you enjoy religious based stories, religious historical ideas, and mystery and intrigue, this is a story you will want to read. It is less than 160 pages, and I promise you will not want to put it down once you begin reading it!
Mary C. Neal, a highly skilled Orthopedic surgeon, drowned in a kayak accident. A trip down a waterfall found her pinned underwater, unable to be rescued by her companions before she drowned. This trip led to another profound trip that would change her life forever.
Mary wasn’t raised in what some may consider an overly-religious environment. She knew who God and Jesus were, but her family’s religious activities did not move beyond attending church on Sunday. The divorce of her parents at a time when divorce was still uncommon, 1971, filled Mary with embarrassment and an overpowering desire to drive away any man who was interested in her mother.
Allowing her life to spin out of control, drugs and alcohol became a part of her teenage life until an automobile accident would change her life. A missionary trip to Mexico would put her on the path to her future medical career.
As an adult, Mary had the ideal family life; the white picket fence with all the extras. After the kayaking accident, her brief trip to heaven had her feeling joy and love that she still finds difficult to describe. She was saddened when she was told it was not her time, and she had to return to Earth, and her body.
This was the beginning of a very difficult, very intense healing process for Mary, both physically and emotionally. Like others who have had this experience, Mary did not want to be on Earth, she wanted to be in her heavenly home. It was not that she did not love her family, it was due to the profound feelings she experienced while in heaven.
A premonition from her son that he would not reach his 18th birthday indeed came true, and brings another aspect to this story of how her experience helped her accept and handle such a devastating situation.
This book is one of several detailing life-after-death experiences. It does have a fairly strong religious overtone to it, but it is certainly not bashing you over the head telling you to “repent and be saved!” I do have a strong faith, but have also had others who are not religious read this book and tell me they thoroughly enjoyed it.
A difficult read emotionally, but one you can’t put down. I questioned myself as to whether or not I really wanted to read it, once I was told what the story was about. As a parent, it is like reading your most terrible fear come to life.
This has turned into one of those books that book clubs are raving about; there are even versions with the questions in the back that you can use for book clubs. Is that a bad thing? Not at all. I just tend to feel that books that do this are promoting themselves for the wrong reason (this is just my personal opinion).
As sad and heartbreaking as this story is, I have read it 4 times now. It is one of those stories that reminds me of what my faith is supposed to do in my life, and how no matter what I am doing every day of the week as far as my religion is concerned, I can still be closer to God.
If you haven’t read or heard about this story, the premise is as follows: a loving family strong in faith suffers the unthinkable when their child is kidnapped, and murdered. A young 6 year old girl, innocent to all the evils in the world, and the fact that bad things really do happen to good people. (As a mother to 4 girls, the youngest who was 6 when I first read this, that was why I hesitated to read it).
The rest of the story deals with a father’s anger, guilt, and faith, and a weekend spent with God, in various forms. As a religious person whom still sometimes struggles with understanding the Triune God, this story presents this in a way that brings it home to me, making it make sense. Does that make sense?
Mack, the father, suffers in a deep depression, while functioning on the outside, for four years. Receiving a note in the mail that is suspicious at best, Mack spends a weekend in the shack where his daughter’s life ended, and comes to terms with not only her murder, but so much more. Nan, his wife, had a strong faith that did not seem to waver as Mack struggled to get through each day. This weekend would also help him understand how Nan kept a strong faith through the most difficult part of their lives.
How would you like having breakfast with Jesus, or growing a garden with His help? Would you even know how to approach him? From the story:
What should you do when you come to the door of a house, or cabin in this case, where God might be? Should you knock? Presumably God already knew that Mack was there. Maybe he ought to simply walk in and introduce himself, but that seemed equally absurd. And how should he address him? Should he call him “Father,” or “Almighty One,” or perhaps “Mr. God,” and would it be best if he fell down and worshipped? Not that he was really in the mood (Young, Wm. Paul, 2007, pg. 84).
How does Mack first see God? As a large, African-American woman, embracing him as someone whom finally sees a long-lost friend after many, many years. Smelling of his mother’s perfume, Mack fights to stop the tears that start to flow in front of this “stranger.” Next a small Asian woman approached him, a collector of tears is what she told Mack she was, and shimmered in a way that made it difficult for him to look at her. The third person to join them in the shack is a man of Middle Eastern descent, an obvious laborer with his tool belt full of tools. Confused, Mack asks all of them, “Are there more of you?”
“No Mackenzie.” The black woman chuckled. “We is all that you get, and believe me, we’re more than enough” (pg. 87).
So Mack has his three companions for the weekend, each with a specific purpose to help him deal with his grief, his faith, and his anger. They break down his walls, the barriers in his heart, and show him that in order to be free from his guilt and grief, he absolutely must forgive his enemy; the man who murdered his child.
This story is full of emotion, sadness, and even hope as Mack goes on this journey to reveal what is truly in his heart, and learns how to be healed of the emotional pain that has consumed his life, and in turn his family’s life, for the past four years.
Whatever your beliefs may be, or not be, this is a story to be read by everyone, whether you have Faith or not. It makes points that seem generic to humankind in general, without trying to force someone else’s beliefs on you. You understand the story, and the lessons it seems to present without ever really trying.
This is definitely a book I will pick up for the 5th time, and likely even more than that.
The Shack. 2007. William Paul Young. Windblown Media: Newbury Park, California.