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To Own a Dragon: Reflections On Growing Up Without A Father
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To Own a Dragon: Reflections On Growing Up Without A Father

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  2,737 ratings  ·  215 reviews
Good dads are almost as rare as fire-breathing dragons--or at least it seems. New from Donald Miller, author of the critically acclaimed Blue Like Jazz, comes a gut-wrenching honest look at growing up without a father. In his uniquely compelling style, Miller (and John MacMurray--the man who taught Donald many of the lessons his dad never did) reflects on what it is a fath...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published February 5th 2006 by NavPress Publishing Group (first published February 1st 2006)
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Stephanie
For some reason this book isn't considered one of Donald Miller's "greatest hits" but I consider this book one of my all time favorites. If you know anyone who grew up without their father, hand this to them. Miller gears this book toward males, but it was very relevant for me as a female. It is sad, but I've suspected for a long time this book didn't do so well because of the cover - it is really ugly.
Lyndsey
This might be a five star. I found this book to be thoughtfully written and thought-provoking. I grew up having a great relationship with my father. Miller, however, grew up with a mostly absent father. This book contains his reflections on the place of fatherhood in society and how the absence of fathers affect us. (Eighty-five percent of prison inmates grew up in a fatherless home.)

I like his observations about family. He talks a lot about how parents instill purpose into the lives of their c...more
Amberlee Bixler
To Own A Dragon is soon to be re-released under a different title, relative more deftly to the elephant's referenced in the writings.

I have to admit, I am a fatherless child as well, but I did not respond to this book at all the way I thought I would. Mr. Miller's prose, although hauntingly beautiful and powerful in its simplicity, told the story of a boy thrust into adulthood unprepared and ill-equipped due to the lack of a father in his life. It seemed, given our similar childhood experiences...more
Eric Dunn
This is the third book I have read by Donald Miller. The other two are Blue like Jazz and Searching for God Knows What. I am a big fan of the way Miller writes. His books make me laugh and they also make me contemplate. He has a way of writing that makes it feel like you are having a conversation with him.

This book is about growing up without a father and the affect that can have on your life. My father was an active part of my life, but in my line of work with youth at our church I run into kid...more
Bryon

I just finished reading Don Miller's To Own a Dragon. It was a great read, although, someone will have to explain the title to me.

Reading Don Miller is a lot of fun. He makes you think. Blue Like Jazz was the book that put Miller on the map. My favorite book of Don's is Searching for God Knows What. Don knocked it out of the park with that one. I couldn't hang in there long enough to enjoy Through Painted Deserts, but my wife liked it.

To Own a Dragon was good, though. Miller really does have a...more
Cori
This book was not really written for me. A) I am a woman and B) I have a great dad. This book was written primarily to the staggering number of fatherless boys and men out there, who struggle with their identities and figuring out how they fit into the world. Something like 90 percent of men in prison come from fatherless families, and knowing this (and being a fatherless son who could have easily ended up in prison) Miller lays out some life lessons for those who find themselves without a dad t...more
Missy Dollahon
Donald Miller says that this book is really just for men who were raised without fathers - in this he is wrong. Because it is also, apparently, for women who were raised by such men, men who repeat the same patterns their fathers taught them, even if they physically remain in the home. I fall into the latter, and so much of my heart was articulated on the pages of this book. I understand more of what it is like to be a fatherless boy and I understand more of myself.


(And the I intend to re-read...more
Rohan Kallicharan
Donald Miller is easy to read and very engaging with his reader. He is able to approach potentially difficult subjects in an uncomplicated manner, which is the secret to his success.

This book will help those who have grown up without the presence of a father, whether through death, abandonment or any other circumstance. It also affirms the role of a mother - particularly the single one.

It is a very enjoyable yet uplifting read.
Justin
This was an excellent and simple read. There were many times that I, very loudly, laughed out loud at some of the stuff Miller wrote about. Some of the hilarity had to do how I could relate with a lot of his life experience even while having a different story. I think that this really helped awaken areas that are still healing in me and pressed them onto greater healing.
Sundi


Speechless. Though this book was geared towards men, any woman that grew up with an absent father can benefit. Don provides wisdom, humor, and a beautiful picture of the amazing God we serve. I can never get enough of Donald Miller's words.
Chip Hill
As always, Don knocks it out of the park. Terrific insight on a difficult subject. I was hooked from the prologue. I think you will be, too.
Laura Droege
Bestselling author Donald Miller wants to rewrite the story of fatherlessness in America. He's not only seen what happens when a child grows up without a dad, but he's lived it: his father left the family when he was a small boy. It felt him feeling like half a man, certain that boys with fathers were taught what it meant to be a "real man", and torn between the desire to scoff at the need for a father and desire to be fathered.

In Father Fiction, he writes candidly about his experiences. Various...more
Robert D. Cornwall
Miller writes a book that will be encouraging and helpful to men, whether they are young men growing up without a father and seeking a sense of purpose for life or fathers seeking to understand their own role in the lives of their children (especially the lives of their sons). It is also a book to be read by men who sense the call to mentor fatherless young men and boys. Finally, it is a word to men who need to let go of resentments. In a final chapter entitled “pardon” he describes meeting his...more
Kurt
This is a Donald Miller book full of his characteristic style - self-deprecating gentle humor, honest observations, quiet conversations, awkward oversharing about interactions with women, references to his childish refusal to read the Bible, beautiful musings on God's love without any real mention of the cross. In theory, there is a common thread about the damage done to children who grow up without fathers, but it doesn't really unite the book in practice. As they did in Blue Like Jazz, Miller'...more
Daniel
This is a Don Miller book. Hence,


-Charming anecdotes from his life

This book is more on the raw side of human experience, but it nevertheless keeps a spry tone. Don writes on what the lack of a father meant to him and the texture of his growth into manhood. Because failure is inherant to this process there is plenty to entertain.


-Self-deprecating wit

The highlights in this category come from the times when his less-mature views clash with God's or a mentor's more-mature views. An example is when h...more
Rachel Kim
it felt like a personal long conversation with the author moving along topics. If i could I'd give it a 4.5 because it was perfect with the right topics for me right now in my stage of life. Miller warns in the prologue it's directed more for males but I don't know I guess I'm a male on the inside then because it was simple, basic, yet funny and sarcastic and yet slightly deep. It feels like Tuesdays with Morrie but a little more sarcastic, not as feel-good and emotional, and a little bit more r...more
Jeanette
"...I clapped, and I meant it. It felt good to take a stand for somebody who nobody else was taking a stand for." (24)

"All my life I have been fascinated by stuff that isn't there." (29)

"I am not going to tell you it was easy. There were times I would have rather lived on my own, played my music as loud as I wanted, come home drunk, whatever. But playing your music as loud as you want and coming home drunk aren't real life. Real life, it turns out, is diapers and lawnmowers, decks that need pain...more
Thomas Freeman
This book is going to go down as one of the most life changing books I will have read in 2009.

I really enjoy Donald Miller's writing style. I really want to read more of his work. I don't believe that he has the greatest grasp on theology but God has taught him many things in regards to being "Fathered" by God and Donald does a great job of presenting it in this book. He uses fantastic analogies, great profound thoughts and very clear explanations.

Donald has written the book from the standpoint...more
Jonathan
This fourth read from Miller was to be chock full of thoughts and insights on the harsh and hilarious realities of growing up fatherless, as he did when his father "split" when he was quite young. Unfortunately this thin book wades through tales of Miller's years spent in the garage apartment of his friend and mentor, John MacMurray, who's billed as the co-author. (I'd not want my name attached to this book if I was him.)

Long story long, this book was simply a disappointment. The subject matter...more
Cassie
This may only be the second work of Donald Miller's that I have read, but he is quickly becoming a favorite. His writing is always light, humorous and conversational - which works for me. He writes from life and what he knows, and the uncertainty he has struggled with along the way. I was initially attracted to this book because: a) I knew it would be spiritually related; and b) I lost my father at a very young age. This book is clearly not designed for the female reader, and makes the assumptio...more
Shera Melton
I grew up with both of my parents, but they were very distant. My dad was disabled, so my mom had to work second shift to provide for us. That meant when I was at school, she was home, and when I got home from school, she had just gone to work. My dad was very distant, doing his own thing and not really every talking to me or caring about me. When they divorced when I was 16, I finally just had to cut all contact with him. He was trying to use me for his own benefit, and to punish my mom, and it...more
Eric Sundquist
I'm never sure how to describe Donald Miller books. "Ramblings on Spirituality" might make a good subtitle for all of them. This book's subtitle is "Reflections on Growing Up without a Father." Reflections might be another way of saying rambling.

I'm not complaining; Donald Miller is a fun author to read! It was just hard to understand why he wrote this book. I suppose that authors need to write to earn a living, so you just write what you want and put it together in a semi-organized way. (Kind o...more
Amanda R
So, I grew up with a father, a great one at that, so I mainly read this book because I am a big fan of Donald Miller. It was great to get Don's perspective about being fatherless, and the huge impact that can have on someone. Don's writing is simple, but not simplistic. He bears his soul, and its impossible not to be touched by his insight. His walk through his faith, and how to relate to God the Father was eye-opening for me. I've given the book to Gabe to read, as I think any father should, to...more
Tom Bazan
What can I say? It is a Donald Miller book. If you like his books, you'll like this. If you don't, then you probably won't. He has a natural way of showing his life--complete with struggles, victories, embarrassing experiences. I've seen Miller lumped in with some emergent thinkers; I've talked with many who would prefer to keep him out of that group. Part of this reason is likely because when you get to the end of his books you don't really know where he stands on some things--some important th...more
Breanna Chanson
I'm not a man and I do have a father, so why did I read this book that's completely not written for me? Because it's Donald Miller of course! I learned a lot about how growing up without a father affects a person as an adult, what makes a man feel like a man, and the importance of good fathers overall. Since it is a book about something I know nothing about, it did teach me a lot and I'm glad I read it! Plus it's Miller's normal fun writing style that kept me entertained! It was a very quick rea...more
Julie
when my son wanted nothing to do with me, I bought this book online. After finishing it, I have gained insight on how a boy feels and the struggle he has within himself on feeling rejected by his father. If I could turn back time, I would have never mated with the man that I did KNOWING that he wouldn't have been a good father to my lost, hardened son. At the time, all I cared about was myself and saving myself from myself, I decided to have a child.

This book captivated me and I didn't wish for...more
Candice
Another home run by Donald Miller. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, yet another chapter in Don's spiritual journey. Not only is the book easy to read but Don once again keeps us chuckling. Don and his friend John write about the absence of father, and what that absence can do to a person's perspective of God. It occurred to me while reading, however, that even though some people have fathers who aren't necessarily absent, they still might not be the best example of who God the Father is. So I rec...more
Dził Ba Hadadolgháásh
Young orphaned elephants will be consumed with rage and aggression if they have no mentor or older male companion to guide them....a good analogy by the author of what it feels like for those of us who have been fatherless. And at the end, the authors message to us who have been abandoned by fathers - It is that we would not be arrogant victims, but wounded healers....I will be visiting my father who is in prison for the first time since I was a toddler because I believe this is the path of a wo...more
Dave
I sent my dad this book as a father's day gift and didn't get around to reading it until coming home for Christmas. While Miller sometimes has a tendency to dance around a point, most of his analogies and anecdotes eventually connect. I enjoyed his insights that "there isn't any better way to help people than to have the boldness to pass them up," and that "complaining is a form of self pity." The thing I think I've figured out about Miller is that he writes books for people who don't like to re...more
Jenni
Donald Miller, once again, does a great job of revealing his personal story with honesty and humor, sharing life lessons that everyone can relate to on some level.

A couple favorite quotes from the book:
"...we do not learn to succeed, we learn because in doing so we experience something like the pleasure God felt in the act of creation. We discover His handiwork with him."

"Wounded Healer... It makes you wonder, doesn't it, whether or not God calls specific people who have specific pain into the a...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

Donald Miller grew up in Houston, Texas. Leaving home at the age of twenty-one, he traveled across the country until he ran out of money in Portland, Oregon, where he lives today.

Harvest House Publishers released his first book, Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance, in 2000. Two years later, after havin...more
More about Donald Miller...
Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life Searching for God Knows What Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance: Finding God on the Open Road

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