Since the release of Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality, author Donald Miller has become a household name among many Evangelicals. He is certainly one of the best writers in the Christian market whose writing has gripped the attention of millions of readers. Recently, Miller re-released a previous with updated material under a new title. The book is called Father Fiction: Chapters for a Fatherless Generation and is a book primarily for those who are or have grown up without their father.
What makes Miller so powerful is his ability to tells stories. Most of his books read more like memoirs than the traditional "Christian living" books that make up so much of Christian bookstores. Miller seeks to draw the reader in through the medium of story, not propositions. Many have pointed out that the culture is beginning to favor stories over propositions and Miller has capitalized on that trend.
Miller reminds me of Randy Pausch, the author of the hugely successful The Last Lecture. Like Pausch's book, Miller draws his reader in through the medium of story. This is a powerful device becomeing more popular in our world today. Certainly Jesus understood the importance and power of story as well as anyone as his mulitple parables prove.
But there is one problem with Miller's writing. At times it is hard to tell what the point of it all is. This is why I say that Miller's books are almost more like memoir's then actual books written to people in particular situations. Those who did not know their father will be able to relate with Miller, but will be left asking what next? It is one thing to relate, it is another thing to know how to respond.
Miller shows the reader the importance of godly male figures in a young boy's life, but by shying away from propositions, Miller leaves the door of mystery wide open. Grant it, my father never left and is still a big part of my life, but as a minister, I understand what it is like to grow up without a father. For the entire book, I was left asking myself if I would recommend this to a young person struggling with the absense of his father. My answer: I don't know.
If I want a young person to read a book they can relate too, then yeah, I would recommend this book. But if I want a young person to read a book to better understand what it means to be a man regardless of their upbringing or lack of father in the home, then I probably wouldn't. There are better books out there.
I was fortunate enough to receive a free audio copy of the book via www.christianaudio.com. The quality and production of the book was professional and the narrator was well received. I have listened to some audio books before that were hard to listen to. This narrator was pleasant to listen to and I hope to hear him on future books.