I really, really hate religious books. They're so freaking cheesy and lofty and usually quite useless. I want a book in this category to at least hint at what I'm supposed to do with all that cheese. They usually don't.
I started reading Blue Like Jazz with hesitation, certain it would make me gag. But a friend gave it to us, claiming it really did something for him, so I was determined to suffer through it if I had to. At least I could speak intelligently about how bad it was when I was done.
The poor thing had the disadvantage of immediately following a Bill Bryson book in my reading line-up. No one does first-person narrative like Bryson. Donald Miller uses weird sentence fragments and says, "Well, that's not what I really mean, but you know what I mean" more often than I liked, but I got over it. The sort of silly off-the-cuff style becomes charming. I warmed up to it, liked it, loved it, and got so involved with the words I read the whole book in about a day. It was like a letter from a quirky weirdo who actually has some stuff figured out.
And I like that he smokes and drinks and likes hippies and homos. He even listens to Wilco and Ani DiFranco. This guy is real.
I got pretty teary-eyed, even (page 125, I think). At the end, I was almost teary-eyed, but more excited than anything. My heart was all poofy and wiggly-feeling. It was like closing a letter from a friend -- a letter that has shown up at just the right time.
I'm ready to do some things differently now.
For one thing, I'm apologizing openly now for not loving people enough. I'm sorry for anything I've done to further the bad impression people have of Christians. That's not what I am. That's not what most Christians are.
There's more I want to do to be better at this thing (life, Christian spirituality, love, etc...), but I'm going to have my husband read this book first. Together, we can really move forward and make some important decisions.
Good stuff is gonna go down, folks.