To Own a Dragon, by Donald Miller

June 3, 2012 at 18:46 (Biography, Book Reviews, Comedy, Highly Rated Books, Theology) (, , , , )


Is…that a moustache? It looks like a wheat field, but…no, that’s definitely a moustache. As uncomfortably close as anyone might wish to get to a stranger’s moustache, but a moustache nonetheless. A soul patch, maybe, but certainly a subset of the moustache species.

Putting aside (with difficulty) the brazen cover art, To Own a Dragon might be the first book Donald Miller has written as a grown-up. This could be a good thing or a bad thing. One of the reasons his previous books (Blue Like Jazz, Searching for God Knows What, etc.) were so brilliant, so re-readable and heartfelt, was because they had an unquenchable air of rebellion about them. They were emphatically not written by a stodgy old know-it-all. They were not preachy because it was impossible to imagine a preacher scrabbling around beneath a hippy van in a sunbleached corner of Arizona. They were written by a fellow who listened to Ani DiFranco.

“In the end, women are really attracted to guys who have their crap together. I doubt there are many women enamored (sic) by the idea of living in a box under a bridge, sucking on a bouillon cube while her man reads Emerson. This is probably not what the old ovaries are pining for.”

-To Own a Dragon

In To Own a Dragon Miller has noticeably matured, and seems to have shed some of the rambling artist along the way. His voice and his authority are clearer, and for perhaps the first time he writes with the weight of experience (rather than the rather novel concept of emphasising his weight of inexperience that so characterised his earlier books).

This makes To Own a Dragon a little less funny than it might have been, but does not necessarily make it more profound. It is simply a different tone for a different subject, and while it can be compared just a little less favourably than its predacessors, it is a valuable book with some excellent theology and wise principles to live by laid out in a gentle and very appealing way.


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