I just finished reading Donald Miller’s newest book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life. It is a book about story, as Miller tries to live a good story while making a good story for the upcoming film based on his book Blue Like Jazz. I loved Blue Like Jazz in fact I would say I enjoyed reading it more than any other book I have ever read. I was pretty disappointed with Searching For God Knows What a book which he admits was terrible, but I liked Blue (as Miller shortens it) so much that it caused me to go ahead and give him another shot with his latest book. Unfortunately, Miller didn’t redeem himself with his latest effort.
Miller does a number of great things in A Million Miles. I think he finds the same reflective voice that made Blue such an enjoyable read, he almost forces it in the early chapters, where he tries too hard, but it smoothes out through the course of the book, which ends up being pretty readable. He also manages to not attack those who disagree with his politics in this book, which is a nice reprieve from Searching For God Knows What.
I think the reasons I didn’t fully enjoy A Million Miles boil down into two categories. First, the damage done by Searching for God Knows What, and some of his media exposure, just makes him much less likeable to me. I’m really sad about that. I want to enjoy his writing like I used to, but I don’t. The second category has to do with Miller’s spirituality. I’m not particularly offended by his drinking or smoking, I am just not that impressed by the major cathartic moments in the book coming from hiking to Machu Pichu and riding his bicycle across the country. There is more to life, and Miller knows it. In fact he tried to make us all feel guilty about how we knew it in his last book.
If you’d like to read it, come and borrow it.