A few weeks ago, Don Miller sent me one of his last drafts for A Million Miles In A Thousand Years. He asked if I would read it through and provide some quick chapter notes, so I did. By this point, Thomas Nelson has already sent out galleys for the book, but Don told me not to read that version.
Apparently, there are some major differences between the galley copy and the final copy, which went to print last week. The galley copy was reviewed by The Oregonian columnist Steve Duin, who praised the book, but also referred to it as an "amiable mess". Another early review is more brutal, but closes by admitting the power of Million Miles' premise.
I thought I'd provide my thoughts on the book since I read a later copy (but not even the last version, which Don claims is even tighter).
But also, I have a unique perspective on the book. I was Don's roommate for most of the book's gestation, and discussed the concept of the books thesis with Don many, many times. Many of the stories in the book I've heard, and many of the people I've met. I'm even a recurring character. If this sounds like bragging, I apologize...but I am very proud to have been a part of the process.
So take that all under consideration when reading what I have to say about Million Miles. There's no possible way I can be objective, because this book feels like my niece.
All that said:
A Million Miles In A Thousand Years is the best book Don Miller has ever written.
The book ties most closely to Blue Like Jazz, and works almost as a sequel, written years later by a writer who is wiser, more mature, and has honed his craft. Writing-wise, Million Miles is quick-paced, and every moment matters. With great books, you never even realize you're reading, you just float along on the words. That's why people say they read Blue Like Jazz in one sitting, and that's what Million Miles achieves again.
Like those two reviews above mention, however, it's the thesis that will make Million Miles huge.
One of the reasons I think Blue Like Jazz became a bestseller and shifted Christianity had to do with how it tapped into the inarticulated thoughts of so many discontent Christians. What I heard over and over about that book, what I felt myself, was that it voiced what was so obvious.
That's what I'm hearing about Million Miles, not just from those reviews, but from others I've talked to who've read it. It's essential premise...that we should view our lives as a story...is so mind-blowingly simple. But as far as I can tell, no one has ever said it so clearly.
At one point, toward the end of the book, I was weeping like a baby.
I think Million Miles will be really, really big. Bigger-than-Blue Like Jazz big.
Really, though, I have no idea. I know that if The Secret is big, then A Million Miles in A Thousand Years should be big.
I'm sure that sounds like strange company, but Million Miles is, to my mind, a true self-help book. It doesn't promise security or money or sex or success or even happiness. The Bible doesn't promise those things, either. It just promises that, in the grand scheme, your life will be better.
Even if it doesn't change your life, at least you'll read a great book. It's a book Don should be proud to have written.