Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Book Review: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

I just finished reading Donald Miller’s book A Million Miles in A Thousand Years and it was fantastic. The back of the book says this: “After writing a successful memoir, Donald Miller’s life stalled. During what should have been the height of his success, he found himself unwilling to get out of bed, avoiding responsibility, even questioning the meaning of life. But when two movie producers proposed turning his memoir into a movie, he found himself launched into a new story filled with risk, possibility, beauty, and meaning.” That pretty much sums it up. Miller talks about how his life stalled out after the success of his book Blue Like Jazz. Then Steve and Ben, two movie producers, contacted Miller and wanted to turn his book into a movie. As they are starting to write the screen play, they are essentially re-writing Don’s life, making it a “better story”. Miller starts to wonder, if I can write a better story, how can I live a better story? I really like how Don digs into what it means to live a better story and how we can live a better story too. He boils it down to a simple definition: A story is about a character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it, that is the basic structure of a good story. He goes on to unpack the different parts of this definition and how God is calling us to play a role in His story too! One chapter called, A Tree in a Story about a Forest, really made the clear for me. Don talks about the book of Job in the Bible. It is supposedly the oldest book in the Bible and it is a book about suffering. Don says, “it reads as though God is saying to the world, ‘Before we get started, there’s this one thing I have to tell you. Things are going to get bad’” Several things bad happen to Job and in the end God basically tells Job, “I know what I am doing, and this whole thing isn’t about you.” It is as though we are trees in a story about a forest, and the story of the tree is good but the story of the forest is better. Miller also talks about how a good story is memorable. Our lives are filled with stories that we aren’t going to remember. Miller challenges the read to start planning to make our stories memorable. It is going to take effort, we won’t remember sitting on the couch and watching the news or a sitcom, but we may remember watching a sunset with our spouse. Miller then talks about some very memorable stories in his life. All in all, I really enjoyed this book. I think Donald Miller is a great story teller and he has inspired me to start making my life a better story. This was a great read and a fast read, I would highly recommend it!

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