Monday, March 30

Scary Close by Donald Miller

I’ve enjoyed reading Donald Miller’s books ever since I first picked up Blue Like Jazz (something which I’m sure many of his fans have also experienced). When I heard he had a new book out, I was eager to pick it up. Scary Close is certainly different that his earlier books, but it was still a great read. Whereas his earlier books were more based around spirituality or spiritual themes, this one focused more on relationships. That isn’t to say he ignored his faith at all, but rather that it wasn’t the focus of the book.

After many failed attempts at relationships, Donald Miller began to see past the drama in his past to understand why he had a hard time connecting with people. What he found startled him. He spent so much of his time trying to impress people, and had a strange balance of trying to be a private person while yearning for close relationships with other people. The problem was that he was hiding himself behind a false persona. So he decided to drop the act and just be himself.

In a culture that cares so much about ‘image,’ this can be a hard thing to do. Social media has made it easier to know people superficially while making it harder to develop close and deep bonds with each other. Miller writes candidly about his attempts to just be himself, and his relationship with his wife is a large focus of the book. I don’t know of many people that could write as openly about his life, but Miller does it extremely well. I never felt like he was trying to gain sympathy point, but rather he tells it like it is. Balanced against this is his usual wit and humor, as well as the occasional illustrations from his friends.

When I enjoy a book like this, it’s always hard to pick out the most memorable parts, but one chapter that really stuck out to me was the chapter on manipulators. Miller takes a look at several different ways that people act manipulatively and how it can be harmful to a relationship. Even further, he admits the types of manipulations that he had used on other people and explained how he learned, with the help of mentors, to stop. It’s a strong section that almost felt like it could have been its own book, but Miller writes it concisely without making me feel like I’m missing out on any of the information.

If you’re a fan of Donald Miller’s books, there’s an excellent chance you’ll fly through this one as well. While it’s thematically a little different than his earlier work, it’s still a great read.

5/5 Stars
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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