Book Review: Blue Like Jazz

It has been a while since I last posted a review of a book.  As I have finished several books between the review I did on Sun Stand Still, I thought I would post this one in hopes of finishing the rest of the reviews before I actually finish another book as I have a few more to post up.  Without more hesitation, let us carry on into my thoughts on the book.

Blue Like Jazz Book Cover
Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller

First off, I have to tell you that although it was not what I had expected, it turned out to be an enjoyable read.  In fact, I will probably re-read it at some point.  The fact that it was not what I expected was a good thing.  I had envisioned there being more of a plot and a climax and a more routine storyline.  I was off-base.  The book seemed to be a collection of short stories more than anything.  There is nothing wrong with that as in fact, the subtitle lends itself to describing it.  Truthfully, I do not know if that is Miller’s usual writing style or if it simply fit the book as this is my first reading of his works.  I had heard a large amount of noise about it over the years and I figured it was about time I saw for myself what it was all about.  I have a couple of more of his books that I plan to read through at some point.

One of the main things that stood out to me is his honesty.  Miller is not afraid to admit his short-comings and his struggles with comprehending some Christian beliefs.  I admire this as it is not often that a Christian will talk about their struggles with the faith on the record.  In fact, Miller went beyond just having it on record, he openly published it.  If we were all more open and honest about our feelings, I believe the world may be more receptive to the teachings of Christ.

Another thing I admired about Miller’s personal recollection of stories is that he did not try to shove Christianity down your throat.  I admit that I am a Christian, but I also enjoy the fact that I could easily hand this book to a non-Christian and ask them to read it without feeling like I am bashing them over the head.  I know that many people think that condemning people brings about salvation and I will be the first to admit we are all condemned without Christ, but we need to be tactful.  Miller writes a book that although Christian, it is also free to be enjoyed by all.  If nothing else, it should start many conversations.

My main hangup with the book is my own fault.  As I mentioned before, I thought this was going to be something earthshaking and awakening my own thoughts for Christianity.  However, it simply related Miller’s stories to his own life, probably in the same way I would have written the book looking back.  Another hang-up is that I cannot recommend it to a new Christian.  Although I said I could recommend it to a non-Christian, I feel as if some of the ideas and struggles outlined are too deep and may cause confusion for young Christians. I am not saying that young Christians are innocent and ignorant, but sometimes as a more mature Christian, it is important to guard their thinking as much as possible until they are able to get solid roots.

Overall, it was a good, light read that took me down some of my own questions.  I was grateful for that and that Miller would be honest in his writing.  I would recommend it for a Christian who is strong in their faith, but also will not judge for the actions of others.  It is also for the non-Christian as it allows them to get a glimpse that we do not have it all together and in fact, though our eternities are different, our life here on earth is very similar.


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