Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Book: "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years" (Donald Miller)

TITLE: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
AUTHOR: Donald Miller
PUBLISHER: Thomas-Nelson, 2010.

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better StoryThe accolades and positive blurbs on the inside flaps of the book, look like movie trailers enticing any reader to read it. I am not disappointed. Packed with snippets of the author's supposedly 'boring' life, this book is a story of how the author re-writes his life by 'story-ing' it. The book begins with a bleak overview of the downturn in the author's personal life, and ends with a remarkable glimmer of hope. Using many story-writing tips and movie making insights (learned from his friends Ben and Steve), Miller finds himself encouraged, as he 'edits' his life.

I love the way he puts what he learned into practice. As a result, Miller manages to create a living story of his past. The pages are filled with honesty, themselves illuminated with sparkling thoughts about the most mundane things in life. Readers will be encouraged, even charged up to write their own stories. This book is not exactly a memoir. It looks more like Miller teaching himself that life is not a matter of positive or negative moments. It is about going through it with a hope that at the end, real meaning will be discovered, with God shining His torch to light the way. I find myself motivated to write my own story. More significantly, the underlying message is that we can live a meaningful life. We just need to learn to story our lives, with help from others, and God.

If there is any critique I have, it will be the classification of 'Spirituality' that tends to throw the prospective buyer off. It is more a memoir, quite close to what Anne Lamott's writings do.  This is more evident toward the end of Miller's book. The chapters while sequenced in a purposeful manner, contains lots of events, thoughts, and emotions that do not seem to fall appropriately under the stated category.  Thus it makes one suspect if the events, like square pegs have been squeezed into round holes. It does make me curious as to how 'real' the history is.

Overall, this book is certainly a good book for prospective writers to read. It should be one of the key primers for anyone desiring to tell stories, especially good stories.


Here's a link to one of Don Miller video promotionals on the book (Mar 7th, 2011)

What story are you telling? from Rhetorik Creative on Vimeo.

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