Review: “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years” by Donald Miller

millionA Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story by Donald Miller. Thomas Nelson, 2009. 257 pages.

A couple of weeks ago, the University library asked me to put together  a list of five books that I would recommend to students. One of those books was Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. With the exception of maybe C. S. Lewis, I have never read a Christian author with a more fresh, honest approach toward their view of life. Listing Blue like I did, I couldn’t help but look through Amazon to see what other books Donald Miller had out there. That’s when I came across this book. Miller always writes in memoir form, telling a realistic story in first person. This book is no exception.

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years is basically the story of what Donald Miller’s life was like after the huge success of Blue Like Jazz, and the subsequent disappointment of the books to follow. Miller found his life becoming too easy, too boring, too depressing, moving into a condo, sleeping all day or watching hour after hour of television. Then he was approached by two men who were interested in making Blue Like Jazz into a movie. Miller signed a contract and they moved in with him, spending the next few months creating a script for the film. As Miller takes a trip to Los Angeles with a friend and sits in a 36-hour seminar by Robert McKee on the Story concept, and comes to the conclusion that life is actually a story that we make up. If we find ourselves in a sad or bad story, it is our responsibility to write ourselves a better story.

Miller once again has the ability to use humor and very readable prose to communicate deep and meaningful insights into Christianity and daily life. He includes the stories of many of the people he comes across as he first agrees to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Pichu, then kayak Puget Sound and finally ride a bicycle across the United States. He learns the value of sacrifice and what it takes to make a relationship successful.

The book was an easy, quick read: I completed it in five hours. After reading quite a bit of fiction, it was refreshing to read something both entertaining and meaningful.

I give it five out of five stars.