Daniel's Reviews > Father Fiction: Chapters for a Fatherless Generation

Father Fiction by Donald Miller
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's review
Jun 01, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: 2012, summer-12, essay
Read in May, 2012

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 he goes out to a mountain with John MacMurray to get a good photograph (MacMurray's profession). The conditions are bad and they don't get the shot. MacMurray tells Don that he only uses 10% of all the shots he takes, and that it's very normal to spend two or three hours and have nothing to show. Don can't believe it.

"Well let's just enjoy the view, I mean, we spent all this time to get here."

"Okay Don."

A few seconds pass.

"Okay Don, time to go."

"But shouldn't we say something in honor of the mountains?"

"Piles of dirt, Don. Nothing special."

Don is despondent.

-Short sections

Seventeen chapters in a 200 pg book, and they're small pages.

-Ideas-clash-with-reality / reality-teaches-lessons experience

He has a lot of good things to say about how mens' perception of their fathers will influence their lives and what that looked like in his life. One example is his address to a junior high group where he defined a man as one who has a penis, calling it the sole, sufficient condition for manhood. The reaction from the crowd that he describes shows how much cultural baggage is tied to what it means to be a man and how irrevelant to manhood it is. NASCAR, hunting, sports, meat-eating, bloodbath movies, violence in general, emotional detatchment, physical strength, et al have no necessary connection to manhood as the bible defines it.

-Don talks about who he admires

David Gentiles, John MacMurray, Josh Shipp. There are more.

-Theological education

God is my father. But I see him as my father by default. Knowing him as a heavenly father and not a simulacrum of my earthly father is the hard part that requires character development and hard lessons. Don chronicles his meeting with him earthly father in this book, the father that left him and his mother, and here he processes his resulting emotions and insecurities. It's a profitable therapy session for anyone who's ever been frustrated by their father.

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