As initially written in an email.
Without having the book here, these are my initial memories of it – I’m currently on Chapter 23, I think. And I realize that I wasn’t thrilled with Blue Like Jazz the first time around either, but I don’t remember actively disliking it, or trudging through it like I am this book. Blue Like Jazz also had parts where while I may have been bored with what he was saying, he said things in a way that I liked. I liked the way he used words.
AMMIATY, which is the acronym I get with this book, doesn’t have that. It’s boring. I keep waiting for it to get good and it hasn’t yet. He’s also not using words well or in a way that makes me want to keep reading – he’s using them in a way that makes me feel like I’ve five. “Story” no longer feels like a real word because I swear he used in ten times within one page. It is like he is talking and talking and not saying anything. THIS IS A BAD STORY AND YOU SHOULD FEEL BAD. I think the idea is an interesting one, and the expectations I had going into this book were high, but it just feels cheap and poorly handled. It’s like he’s trying too hard. I haven’t read Rob Bell’s latest book for a similar reason – the margins are huge and the sentences are short and choppy and it’s patronizing. You’re better than that. And the more books that these people write, the less and less they have to say and the more books they write.
There was ONE sentence that I thought was beautiful – and let me point out, I am on chapter TWENTY-THREE. There has been one. It was something about his friend who had kids and Donald Miller had been daydreaming about dream!kids… although, now that I think about it, I can’t remember the sentence and if the sentence was beautiful in and of itself. I thought it was good because it made me think of ANOTHER sentence I read once that talked about the “staying-home hours of late evening” and rainstorms and fall and the thunder of non-existant children running down the stairs, and it made me feel all autumn and glowy and golden reflected in shiny dark windows (and this is from another book, but I can’t remember which or whose) and Bebo Norman music and living on Main Street in Cedarville (and speaking of sentences, this one is an example of synaesthesia gone wild) and I felt completely consumed with a wonderful sad feeling that I haven’t felt since living on Main Street in Cedarville, and it was once so much a part of me and now it’s gone and then I got sad because I missed it, because it has been a part of my life for twenty-four years, feeling golden and fall and sad and staying-home.
Improper use of nouns as adjectives, my argument against Donald Miller is invalid.
But that was the one beautiful sentence. And overall, it does feel like an ad for Blue Like Jazz, which I don’t care how you spin it, Donald Miller, it’s indulgent and tacky. And being self-deprecating about being self-deprecating doesn’t make you less self-deprecating, it makes you a fractal.
Also, the book is depressing, which is a big part of why I don’t like it. So far I am coming away with: you will not remember anything ever, and daydreaming people should be sad, YOUR LIFE IS INVALID.
Oh Donald Miller.
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