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Crossbearer: A Memoir of Faith First Edition Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews
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ISBN-10: 031238596X
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Followers of provocative screenwriter (Basic Instinct, Flashdance, Showgirls) and author (Hollywood Animal, American Rhapsody) Eszterhas may do a double-take when they see his entertaining new memoir branded with a cross, and a triple-take when they see he means it. In 2001, 56-year-old Eszterhas, recently moved to Ohio with his wife and four sons, was diagnosed with throat cancer, and ordered to end immediately all smoking and drinking-a near-impossible task for the 44-year abuser. Afterward, literally wandering the streets of Vegas, Eszterhas collapses on a curb, opens his heart, and God "saves him"-to no one's greater surprise than his own. As he struggles with his illness, addictions and guilt, Eszterhas draws strength from faith and learns about life with God, revisiting some misadventures from his drug-fueled Hollywood years. Though Eszterhas now claims faith and family the most important things in his life, the book is focused squarely on Eszterhas; early on, he discovers his church's Father Bob was inspired "to follow his dream" by a line in Flashdance, "and now, as a priest, he had inspired me in turn to love God." Still, Eszterhas's journey is inspiring and his tough-guy sense of humor reamins intact, though fans may find it hard to follow the author of The Devil's Guide to Hollywood into the arms of a loving God.
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Review

"Followers of provocative screenwriter (Basic Instinct, Flashdance, Showgirls) and author (Hollywood Animal, American Rhapsody) Eszterhas may do a double-take when they see his entertaining new memoir branded with a cross, and a triple-take when they see he means it... Eszterhas’s journey is inspiring and his tough-guy sense of humor remains intact."--Publishers Weekly
 
"Eszterhas writes with his fists...you won't be bored. And you may even be moved."--New York Times Book Review
 
"Tells the story of his spiritual conversion and his newfound devotion to God and family,,,His new book is evidence of Mr. Eszterhas' victory."--Toledo Blade
 
"It is fascinating to hear him wrestle with his decision to remain in the Catholic church...while the memoir is raw at times, it is never short of interesting anecdotes...he is a fantastic writer."--www.challies.com
 
 
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (September 2, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031238596X
  • ASIN: B002N2XER4
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,243,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tim Challies TOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The story has been told time and again. C.S. Lewis once walked into a room where a lively debate was in progress. A small group of people had been discussing the various world religions, seeking to understand what made them different from Christianity. As Lewis entered, they looked to him and asked for his response. His answer was simple and it was immediate. "Grace." Grace marks the great difference between Christianity and every other religion. Grace is a concept foreign to religion; foreign, that is, unless granted by God. We seem to have a natural desire to work for our salvation--to offer to God what we have in repayment for His gifts. Christianity is the only faith that rejects works and insists on grace. Only by God's grace, declares the Bible, only by God's grace can we be saved; only by grace can we enjoy a right standing with God; our works merit us nothing.

Unlike C.S. Lewis, Joe Eszterhas may not be a household name, but you probably know of his work. His films have grossed over a billion dollars. You have heard of some of them, I'm sure: Showgirls received an NC-17 rating and Eszterhas gained infamy by suggesting that teenagers use fake IDs to view it. Basic Instinct captured a base but infamous screen moment that shocked viewers. His movies celebrated sex and violence and often the intersection between the two. He was once known as "the most reviled man in America." He was a peddler of smut who grew wealthy writing it and who pursued that same smutty lifestyle with a devil-may-care attitude.

But it all changed in 2001. In March of that year he and his wife moved their family, their four sons, from Malibu to Ohio, where they had both grown up. Only weeks later Aszterhas was diagnosed with throat cancer brought about by a lifetime of smoking and hard drinking.
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I will not repeat a synopsis of the book, as other reviewers have already done this in great detail. But briefly, Eszterhas (Basic Instinct, Showgirls) describes how he comes to terms with being Catholic and being from Cleveland; two tough things to admit to some days. The book is light on his Catholic journey as a boy, as Eszterhas deals more with reconciling his Hollywood background with his Catholicism.

I will take issue with some of the other reviews, in that this book is definitely and explicitly about being Saved and not Being Born Again. Eszterhas makes this point repeatedly, but it is still missed. The other reviewers do make a good point - this is a highly personal Catholic journey and not necessarily a fundamentalist Christian memoir. Those are valid points, but Eszterhas does not mislead on those points.

I would have probably given this book 3 or 4 stars, except that I have a bias for all things Northeast Ohio and my wife absolutely loved this book. And who am I to argue with my wife.

I think my wife cried when she read it. To understand why she cried, you have to understand the life that Eszterhas has led -- not the Hollywood side but the immigrant, rust belt, and most of all Catholic life. Now, it could be argued that if he had described the emotions or background more fully, it would be easier for those without similar backgrounds to empathize. I would not disagree with that argument.

What Eszterhas does well is describe how the Church makes it difficult these days to be Catholic, while at the same time describing the sense of community the Church provides. So, what are the weaknesses? In my view, the book would have benefited from more editing. At times it seems sort of disorganized and stream of consciousness. Eszterhas often seems to describe the joy he feels better than he does the anger and conflict; perhaps that is because he has forgiven and moved on. And maybe that is the main point.
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Format: Hardcover
Must read! This is a wonderful look into the life of a Hollywood Titan - Joe Eszterhas, and his re-connection with God. As Hollywood's highest paid screenwriter, Mr. Eszterhas gives us a heartfelt and honest look into his personal battle with cancer and how cancer gave him "true life" - spiritual life.

Often we forget the power of faith and prayer, only to go back to it when we really need it. We are all guilty of that - that is why this book is a must read. If anything, this book will make you re-examine your own life and hopefully bring you closer to your faith.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is an inspiring autobiography of a highly dynamic author whose life has taken bizarre twists and turns. It is an account of a Hungarian refugee who spent his juvenile years in the poor west side of Cleveland, Ohio and later lived the American Dream in Malibu, Maui, and Tiburon. Joe Ezsterhas has now returned to a more affluent suburb of Cleveland following a series of traumatic experiences, marital problems and great disappointments. He is a superb writer, self-taught, emerging from a job as a cub police reporter for the daily newspaper, "The Cleveland Plain Dealer" and then fast becoming the best-paid film scriptwriter of his time. His books, as his movie scripts are set in the dark, seedy side of America, in the alleys, the brothels and cheap show rooms of Las Vegas, Washingon, D.C., and Hollywood. His tough experience, tough attitude and tough life style are documented in an easy to read style. His life turns around, due to three incidents; he comes down with diagnosed incurable throat cancer; has a miraculous cure and he experiences a religious, curbside enlightment when his life is at the bottom ebb. There are very dramatic, emotional sections, especially at the end of the book. Surprisingly the author reveals the innermost secrets of his life. Remember this is the person who wrote the film scripts for"Basic Instinct," "Show Girls," "The Jagged Edge," etc. He is still the same, raw guy, telling it like it is in his brusque, humorous style. This book is not for zealot religious readers or those who are offended by the term "effing", which is the "f" word sanitized. It is for readers who like a book that is "real" and describes life as it is, or as Joe Ezsterhas believes it is. Thanks for telling us your confidential memoir, Joe.
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