By Donald Miller
Donald Miller didn’t get married until his forties:
“I spent years isolated and alone, working up words to tell people who I was—or more accurately, who I wanted to be.”
Scary Close tells of how Mr. Miller has begun to move from trying to impress a lot of people to developing intimacy with a few important people—co workers, friends, family, and particularly his new wife.
If this book can be described in one word, it’s honesty. Mr. Miller is possibly the most honest author I’ve read. He reveals himself, messy contradictions and all, until even the reader feels a bit uncomfortable. But, he reminds us time and again, “Honesty is the key to intimacy…we don’t have to be perfect and, moreover, we don’t have to pretend to be perfect.” Pretending to be perfect, he says, is the perfect way to not develop a relationship. People can’t connect with perfect friends, a perfect spouse, or perfect parents. People need to be “free to be human and honest and true, no matter how dark the truth is.”
Scary Close is labeled as a Christian marriage book, but I’m not sure how well that describes it. It is a story of two Christians who meet, get engaged, and get married in the end. But it is not the typical “this is what a biblical marriage is supposed to look like” book. The story ends with Miller’s wedding, so he doesn’t have much experience to speak from. But he does share the wisdom that his friends passed to him, along with some things he’s learned from his own journey, about relationships in general.
Miller also makes us think. Several times while reading I’d put the Kindle down and think about how true his words are, in my life anyway. I may not share all of the author’s views or beliefs, but he makes me take a deeper look at what I do believe. And while reading the book, I’ve been thinking about my own relationships, about my own unwillingness to be open and known, and about the changes I need to make.
Readers have mixed feelings about Miller, but most agree that he is a great writer. And when a deep thinker turns out great writing, it’s worth reading. That’s certainly true here. I enjoyed every bit of Scary Close. But more than that, I learned a lot from a man who doesn’t pretend to have anything to teach. Instead, he just takes off his mask and tells his story.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.