On rare occasion you read a book and it speaks directly to your soul. Father Fiction by Donald Miller is one such book for me. I was connected from the opening words of this book. I could relate to the very first thing he proposed. In my own experience, my dad was gone when I was six but I have never been comfortable talking about it. That is how Miller starts the book, his struggle to talk about fatherlessness without feeling weak. That is him and that is me. I have never read a book so fast without missing a single word of it. If you fit into that camp of people, who grew up dreading the next father-son event, please read this book. It could prove extremely valuable in your life and spiritual growth.
Donald Miller is well known for his book Blue Like Jazz which was extremely popular due to its personable style and content which most appeals to twenty-something and thirty-something young adults in the emerging church movement. I am not in that category but I still love his writing. Too often Christian books all sound the same. I find his writing refreshing in that he seems to open new doors of discussion in the pursuit of loving Jesus.
This book is different from his previous works in that Father Fiction seems to specifically target young men who, like Donald Miller, lacked a strong father figure in their youth. Miller writes of his own journey about not knowing his dad. His wit and insight quickly disarms the reader in preparation for the subsequent insight that is both clear and profound. Miller’s approach to issues that young men and women face every day are both surprisingly simple and refreshingly realistic. His examples are powerful and his words are inspiring.
Miller’s breakdown of the metaphor of God as a father-figure and Miller’s discussions of forgiveness, wisdom, and patience were especially poignant.
The book reminds me of John Elbridge’s Wild at Heart. However, I think Miller has discovered something everyone else has missed on the topic of manhood. He reinforces a simple truth. For all of us struggling to find our way in the quest to be men, and at times feeling excluded from the club, the male identity is already in us by creation. There is nothing else to do … just be what we are …. men. He seems to deal with the identity issue in a compelling and inspiring way that convinces you that you are included. The book is worth reading just for that pep talk for those who need it.
Miller, Donald. Father Fiction: Chapters for a Fatherless Generation. Howard Books, 2010.