Book Review: Scary Close by Donald Miller

HxH is all about living an authentic, healthy lifestyle.
Our focus is centered around physical health through a whole foods, plant-based diet.
We also  believe that TRUE  health can only be achieved when your WHOLE SELF is healthy.
Mind. Body. Spirit.
This is a book about emotional and relational health that we loved, and think you will too.

If you need a super motivational, “rah-rah” book…this one probably isn’t the one for you.

BUT – if you’re looking for a book that feels like having a long conversation with a really honest, wise friend, that is exactly what you’ll find in the pages of Scary Close. It is a true gem.

Donald Miller’s Scary Close is a collection of personal stories, confessions, and anecdotes that focus  on the themes of true intimacy, vulnerability, and identity. This is by no means a “12- Steps to Getting Emotionally and Relationally Healthy” guide; it’s more of a memoir of Donald’s transformation. Without being preachy, the author shares some serious wisdom about what keeps us from having healthy relationships with others and with ourselves.

The book starts out with a simple explanation as to why Miller decided to write it in the first place. He realized that while he had been a massively successful author and businessman, his relationships seriously lacked intimacy. He was feeling like a lot of his personal life was just an act. After having a few rock-bottom-esque moments, Miller decided to sign himself up for therapy/rehab centric program called Onsight in Nashville. This program requires total anonymity. None of the participants are allowed to talk about their careers, which Miller relied on heavily to shape his relational identity. This experience sparked a long-term devotion to ending his old tricks like manipulation, control, and drama. He has since made it his priority to pursue a life that is rooted in true identity and intimacy.

From there, Miller takes the reader on a strikingly honest reflection of lessons learned the hard way. He isn’t afraid to share some of his most unflattering moments to illustrate how his tendencies made healthy relationships nearly impossible. One memorable confession from the book is when Miller tells his fiancé she had no say in the process of choosing their new home because she wasn’t the one paying. Miller explains this comment was made out of a need for control. He then goes into an explanation of different kinds of manipulators. If you’re like me, you’ll be shocked at how many there are.  Some of your own destructive tendencies will jump off of the pages at you.

While Miller credits his transformation partly to therapy, he is most indebted to those who he calls “safe people”. These are the people who purely care for him without a hint of manipulation. These are the people who help to teach him what true intimacy looks like. The main player in his transformation is Betsy, Miller’s fiancé. Besty was and is different from any woman he had been in relationships with previously. Betsy’s influence on Miller is strong, and it doesn’t take long for the reader to understand that much of this book revolves around the couple’s relationship. Miller also credits several friends with his transformation. These friends aren’t afraid to lovingly confront and call Miller out on his old tricks. We encourage you to seek out your own “safe people” as a result of seeing the impact these friends have on the author.

Scary Close is a personal invitation to examine your own desire for true intimacy and vulnerability in relationships. Miller takes an extremely personal approach in his writing and is very impactful in this way of disarming the reader. It will encourage you to explore your own ticks and tricks when it comes to relationships. The fear of being known is something we all deal with on some level; Scary Close reads like a friendly yet honest guide to true intimacy.

Have you read it? What did you think? What was your biggest takeaway?




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