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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

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  3,618 Ratings  ·  271 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, 200 pages
Published February 5th 2006 by NavPress Publishing Group (first published February 1st 2006)
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Aug 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
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
Missy Dollahon
Jul 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Chip Hill
Aug 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing

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
Eric Dunn
Aug 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Amberlee Bixler
Aug 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Tom Bazan
Aug 17, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: christian
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
J. Alfred
Aug 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Somebody gave me this book back when it was called To Own a Dragon (the superior title). I read it at a pivotal time in my life, and reading it brought to my attention a lot of the issues that growing up without a father around can cause, and which we typically try to downplay or ignore until somebody brings them out in the open in a disarming way, like Miller does. It helped me think through my taste in girls, my difficulty in submitting to authority, my feelings about a number of different thi ...more
Rohan Kallicharan
Jan 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion, chronicles
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.
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
Oct 04, 2012 rated it really liked it

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.
Becky Giovagnoni
Sep 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
I love everything Donald Miller writes - this one because it helps me understand my husband better. So grateful he shared his own journey and pain so others (like me) could connect with it.
May 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
I'm not a man, nor did I grow up without a father, but this book spoke to broken places and reminded me what God's fathering of me can look like.
"...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
Paige Gordon
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I grew up with a wonderful father and can't relate to Don in that particular way, I think the struggle to figure out what a real man is and if you qualify is something that all males deal with at one point or another. Don's insights from his own journey down that road are profound, funny, and well worth taking some time to mediate on. This book is a great, quick read for any man looking to more fully understand his role in this world and who isn't afraid of the gut-level honest conversa ...more
Renee Reynolds
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think the author would agree, this book hardly represents his best writing. It does, however, offer his most helpful book to a critically important audience—fatherless boys and men. Its raw honesty and vulnerability, not to mention its readability, deserves 4 stars! For men and boys who've grown up without the grounding force of a good father this book will minister compassion, wisdom, truth, and help. In fact, even for my two teenage boys, who've enjoyed the immense privilege of a great fathe ...more
Colleen Thomas
Feb 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Very helpful to understand my brothers a bit better. Donald uses a beautiful elephant metaphor and how we need to be taught to make good decisions. I’ve recently been adopting a mindset that there are no such thing as good and bad people only good and bad decisions and this book affirmed that.

It would’ve been a higher righting until the end of the book where he makes an off-handed comment about people with diverse abilities that seemed like it was supposed to be a joke.

Overall: easy read with
Joshua Allman
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an honest and thoughtful reflection on the role that fatherlessness has played in the life of the author. Miller is an excellent writer and his reflection never strays into self-pity. Recommended.
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While I didn't quite agree with some of Don's thoughts on dating or some of his conclusions towards the end of the book, this book made a lot of sense to me. I just read it while going through some rough times dealing with father issues. So, a well timed read for me.
Olivia Chin
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
An honest, thought-provoking approach to learning important life lessons without a father's guidance. Donald Miller addresses several topics that young men may struggle with and uses stories to explain what he's learned.
Enjoyable, relatable. I typical Donald Miller book. I enjoyed it and grew.
David Harrington
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I appreciate how Dennis tackles this tough subject that many of us can identify
Not really applicable to women. I would have liked him to address us more.
Mar 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Must read. I have a fantastic father but what a beautiful portrayal of growing up fatherless. As insightful as it is incredibly written.
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Some books just speak directly to you and after reading it multiple times this one continues to speak to me.
Marco Ambriz
Oct 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Donald Miller does it again. He's such a good story teller. This book also inspired me to consider investing more intentionally in the lives of young people who don't have supporting systems with adults speaking positively into their lives. But don't be fooled, the book is not only for those who are fatherless. I think it speaks to us all in our soul's longing for belonging, acceptance and someone to be proud of us and to cheer us on. I have found that in God, my own dad and in other mentors. Gr ...more
Very readable. I can relate even though I didn't grow up fatherless. There are also lesson and mistakes to avoid for my own sons.
Laura Droege
Mar 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
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“I fell in love with books. Some people find beauty in music, some in painting, some in landscape, but I find it in words. By beauty, I mean the feeling you have suddenly glimpsed another world, or looked into a portal that reveals a kind of magic or romance out of which the world has been constructed, a feeling there is something more than the mundane, and a reason for our plodding.” 234 likes
“All this beauty exists so you and I can see His glory, His artwork. It's like an invitation to worship Him, to know Him.” 73 likes
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