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Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance Paperback – January, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 289 pages
  • Publisher: Harvest House Pub (January 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0736901604
  • ISBN-13: 978-0736901604
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #576,685 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Miller is a young man with only a few years' professional experience in ministry, but his youth is a key feature in this book of travel memoirs. A record of a classic road trip, Miller's tale is full of serendipitous adventures and thoughtful Christian reflection, offering an unusual mix of travel mishaps in a broken-down (and often breaking down) VW van; youthful, somewhat macho bantering between friends; and the sort of deep-thought wanderings into meaning and significance that are the meat of college-age existence. The book's strongest point is the way in which it conveys the character of Miller and his companion--two young "Republican hippies." As we travel along with them, they can be fun, profound, annoying, hilarious and, at unguarded moments, surprisingly tender. Their insights are sometimes deep, sometimes naive, sometimes simple and sometimes just goofy. Their religious insights are similarly mixed in depth, but the two are remarkable and winsome in their aim at complete honesty. The narrator often allows himself to be portrayed in an unflattering light to faithfully recapture the experience. This book is an appealing Sunday afternoon read, a reminder that life is meant to be experienced and not just gotten through. (Feb.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Back Cover

Fueled by the belief that something deeper exists that the casual Christianity by which they've lived, Don and Paul are two free spirits who set off on an adventure-filled road trop in search of a deeper meaning for their lives. As they travel from Texas to Oregon in their cantankerous Volkswagen van, the two friends encounter fascinating people, witness unexpected beauty, attempt to solfe life's most perplexing puzzles, and discover anew the amazing God who created them. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

I love journey books!
Warren Hamby
In retrospect, I can say that I enjoyed the book on a number of different levels.
Steffany Woolsey
Donald Miller is an excellent author with great ideas.
James T. Burt

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By William Krischke VINE VOICE on August 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
Above, Miller says that he attempted to write a christian book with a secular pen. I agree with him that he has succeeded in doing this, and praise him for it. Prayer and the art of Volkswagen Maintenance is a rarity. It is a truly well-written Christian book. I was very happily surprised.
It is a novelized journal of a pilgrimage-trip, and Miller does an excellent job of moving back and forth between plot narrative and inner reflection. Sometimes, the close attention to detail is tedious, but it's livable. Touches of Annie Dillard, Ernest Hemingway, CS Lewis and John Steinbeck can all be found here. Miller has a gift for dialogue and many passages are really funny, maybe because they feel real.
A nice blending of fun, troubles, and thought and reflection like we all know is possible, but have a hard time capturing. Bravo.
A passage:
"Pretty big church, is it?"
"Yeah, it is. We've got about 200 people there."
A smile comes to my face as Paul's definition of large collides with mine. "Two hundred people would make for a good Sunday school class in Texas. I hate to break it to you, but unless a church has a gym and a bowling alley, they're really not fulfilling the work of the Lord. A church has to have a gym and a bowling alley because people play basketball and bowl and if they do it at church they are more likely to accept Christ. Widows and orphans especially, they play basketball a great deal."
"Is that right?"
"Sure it is."
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By C. Curtis on January 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
As a FORMER Volkswagen owner, tie-dye wearing camp counselor, and CURRENT coffee addicted, 30-something Northwesterner...I HAD to get this book. I read it aloud on a plane ride (seemed appropriate since we were headed for Texas) to the delight of fellow sleepy-headed travellers. I laughed along with passengers B&C, dogeared my favorite pages (pps. 44, 111, 118, 123, 272, & 289) and enjoyed vicariously the physical and spiritual odyssey of two guys, a van and one heck of a road tip!
My thanks to the author for his honest attempt to process & put words to the deafening struggle for understanding our minds wrestle out in the quiet confinds of our souls. "Searchers" will find themselves relating to Miller's quest for answers to the "big" questions in life and empathize as they unravel themselves among the mechanical details of everday living. You'll enjoy the ride!
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Paradigm Books & Music on September 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
Okay, after reading the amazing book titled Blue Like Jazz, I wanted to buy all of Don Miller's other books. Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance was his very first book (written well before Blue Like Jazz) and has been out of print for some time. For a while there, you could not find it for under $40-50. But, I have good news! After I purchased Through Painted Deserts by Donald Miller, I quickly discovered that it is in fact "Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance" that has been reprinted with a new title under Don's current publisher! He explains it on the front dedication page to his mother. Hooray! Now you know, and you can get his first book for much less then the out of print version.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Erik Olson VINE VOICE on September 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
There's something about the idea of "finding oneself" on the open road that really gets me going. I'm a sucker for any book along those lines, whether it's about a spontaneous summer road-trip across the States, or the tale of an epic backpacking journey around the world. There's a special place in my heart for the somewhat rare Christian-themed story of this nature, and that's where this excellent book comes in.
Adventures like this tend to be lived out by the younger crowd - those in their late teens or early twenties, anxious to see what's "out there" in the world and learn something about themselves in the process. In "Prayer and the Art of Volkswagon Maintenance," the two protagonists fit this description to a tee. Donald and Paul are young twentysomething Christian men, and they have a desire to know God in a deeper sense. Their solution - a road trip! Starting from Texas, they decide to head off to Oregon in Paul's beat-up VW van. Along the way, they discuss the usual questions that young men wrestle with - relationships with women, their future, and so on. They also meet a number of interesting characters on the road, usually when struggling with their somewhat unreliable vehicle.
However, since this book has a Christian slant, there is spiritual depth as well. Both of these guys really do want to go deeper with God, and they end up digging into some serious meat along those lines. Donald, driven by intellect and facts, repeatedly explores the book of Ecclesiastes during the trip in an attempt to make sense of the time we are given upon this world. Paul is more in tune with his feelings and emotions, and goes to a deeper level with God via prayer during some tense moments.
Read more ›
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kristi Knifong on March 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
I don't read many novels, but this one was well worth my time. It is unusual to find a Christian book that is so honest about disappointments and a yearning for something deeper with Christ. It was comforting to find someone else thinking through the same questions I have and watching them find answers. This book was engaging, funny ( I laughed out loud!), beautifully written, but most of all thought provoking. I highly recommend it to anyone who's tired of having a luke warm experience of GOD!
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More About the Author

Donald Miller is a student of story. He's the author of New York Times Best Sellers: "Blue Like Jazz," "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years," and "Scary Close." He co-wrote the major motion picture "Blue Like Jazz" which debuted at the SXSW Film Festival and was listed as one of the top four movies to get you through freshman year by USA Today. He has served on The Presidential Task Force for Fatherhood and Healthy Families, a joint effort between government and the private sector to rewrite the story of fatherlessness in America. Currently, he helps people live a better story at www.storylineblog.com and helps leaders grow their businesses at www.storybrand.com. Donald lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, Betsy, and their chocolate lab, Lucy.

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