Sometimes I like to do things backwards. I’ll clean up the kitchen before enjoying the meal I just made. I’ll back out of the garage before putting on my seatbelt. I’ll eat the bottom of a muffin before the top.
Last fall I saw a special rough cut screening of Blue Like Jazz without having read the book. I can hear all of you tsk, tsk, tsking as you read this post. You’re saying, “You should never see a movie before reading the book it is based on.” Yes, well, I didn’t know my husband and I were going to the screening until the night before when Steve Taylor called to personally invite us to attend. Did that stop your tsking?
The only knowledge I had about the book was a forty-minute education provided by my husband Dale during our drive to the church where the screening took place. What he told me didn’t make sense. I couldn’t piece together what he said because, as Dale assured me, “It is unlike any book you have ever read or will ever read.” I wasn’t sure what to think when the lights dimmed and the crowd shifted its focus to the screen at the front of the church, so I chose to clear my mind.
As the scenes unfolded I found myself being absorbed into them. The quirky characters were unique yet real. The story was unusual yet so familiar. The dialogue was thought-provoking yet hilarious. When the movie ended I sat silently for a few minutes, letting the weight of what had just transpired on the screen sink in. I was moved, changed, and inspired.
Alas, in December I added the book to my pack as Dale and I boarded a plane for Guatemala. I passed the hours away in a hammock overlooking Lake Atitlan while I stepped into Donald Miller’s world. Within the first chapter I realized two things: 1) he is a clever writer who seamlessly weaves together stories; and 2) I would see into his heart and my own by the time I read the last page.
I suggest reading only a few chapters at a time and then taking a day or two off because thoughts, emotions, and prayers will come to mind that you will want to address. Then you’ll get sucked right back in because you’ll want to know how situations will be resolved and where your heart and mind will be taken next. Donald’s honesty will make you want to be honest with yourself about who you are and where your faith walk is headed.
What was your reaction to reading Blue Like Jazz? If you haven’t read it yet, are you going to read the book before seeing the movie?