Scary Close


Author: Donald Miller

Publisher: Nelson Books

Pages: 229

Genre: Christian Living, Relationships


(from the back)

After decades of failed relationships and painful drama, Donald Miller decided he’d had enough. Impressing people wasn’t helping him connect with anyone. He’d built a life of public isolation, yet he dreamed of meaningful relationships. So at forty years old he made a scary decision: to be himself no matter what it cost.

From the author of Blue Like Jazz comes a book about the risk involved in choosing to impress fewer people and connect with more, about the freedom that comes when we stop acting and start loving. It is a story about knocking down old walls to create a healthy mind, a strong family, and a satisfying career. And it all feels like a conversation with the best kind of friend: smart, funny, true, important.

Scary Close is Donald Miller at his best.


Scary Close reads more like a narrative fiction than other nonfiction books that I have read. Miller walks you through several events, conversations, and full on counseling sessions that he has gone through on his road to finding true intimacy with his friends, family, and spouse. There really is no order or perceived arrangement to the book but it does flow nicely as he does tend to loop back around to give closer to questions or conflicts that he might mention earlier in the book. It reads like a story and that’s probably because at its core that’s what it is.

Questionable Content

Miller mentions several times about how he drank a beer or how he loves scotch. It just seemed like shock factor rather than being what he would call representing himself truthfully. The times he brought it up it seemed tacked on when it could have been left ambiguous.

Notable Quotes

“Somebody once told me we will never feel loved until we drop the act, until we’re willing to show our true selves to the people around us.”

“Acting may get us the applause we want, but taking a risk on being ourselves is the only path toward true intimacy. And true intimacy, the exchange of affection between two people who are not lying, is transforming.”

“Maybe what children really need is simple. Maybe they just need somebody to show them it’s okay to be human.”


At first I really could not get into this book at all. Maybe it was Miller’s writing style or because I was going through some intimacy issues as well but at the beginning I like was reading the pretentious ramblings of liberal author who had been a lot of places and read a lot of things. However, as his story continued it started to open up something inside of me. I think a good book makes you look inside yourself to see if there is something that you need to change. As I walked with Donald on his journey to find true intimacy I found myself asking the same questions he was, reaching the same conclusions he did, and longing for what all of us are longing for. While this book really didn’t have a lot of application in a daily basis format it looked to solve problems from a more holistic approach. To change who you really are on the inside, the you that no one ever gets to see. As I read this book it felt as if it were pealing back the layers of shame, embarrassment, and doubt that had been built up over years of fearful hiding that I didn’t even know I was doing. Even with his casual talk of drinking and some areas that I thought were a bit pretentious, Donald Miller’s Scary Close has been a breath of fresh air to my soul.

Overall score: 9.0

9 Total Score

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Chris Krotz is the pulpit minister for the Carlisle Church of Christ in Pennsylvania and a graduate of Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver. Chris is passionate about teaching God’s Word and making it apply to everyday life. Along with Jack Dodgen, Chris co-founded Strong Church in 2013.

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