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Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me: A Memoir. . . of Sorts Paperback – June 6, 2011
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Publishers Weekly --Publishers Weekly
"Ian Cron has the gift of making his human journey a parable for all of our journeys. Read this profound book and be well fed, and freed."
Fr. Richard Rohr, author of Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer
"Ian Morgan Cron writes with astonishing energy and freshness. It is - rather like Augustine's Confessions - a testimony to the unfinished business of grace."
The Most Rev. Dr. Rowan Williams - The Archbishop of Canterbury
From the Author
- The Most Rev. Dr. Rowan Williams - The Archbishop of Canterbury
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Top Customer Reviews
Having a dad who worked for the CIA without your knowing it is one thing, but having an alcoholic dad is another thing entirely. Cron issues a disclaimer at the beginning that hedges the expectation of the reader to hear the `truth' about his childhood. I don't think he needs this. There's enough detail here to make it totally believable, and poignantly so.
The life he led as a child is the stuff of black and white films. He recounts a childhood in Greenwich Village of both privilege and horror, and a gradual coming to faith despite a rigid immersion in parochial school, and a gripping drug addiction in adolescence, that continued to plague him in adulthood.
My mainstream evangelical self squirmed at his assertion that he actually heard the voice of Christ pleading for `forgiveness', but then, given Cron's unconventional way of expressing his faith, it fits.
I read this latest work of Cron's just the way I ingested the last one, "Chasing Francis". With zest. Cron is a gifted writer who knows how to salt the page with just enough hyperbole and a gentle touch of poetry.
I received this complimentary copy from Thomas Nelson Publishers in return for my honest opinion of the book.
We know each other when we meet.
Cron writes that "boys who grow up fatherless, or boys with fathers who for some reason keep their love undisclosed, grow up without a center of gravity. They float like astronauts in space, hoping to find ballast and a patch of earth where they can plant their feet and make a life . . . . We know each other when we meet." And like war veterans, we have fought our own unique battles but we share a deep knowing of what war feels like. That's what made Cron's new book such a great read for me and will for others with related stories in need of redemption.
Something Better Than a Hero Story
I have to confess Cron had me at the title. But if the title leads you to anticipate tales of CIA intrigue you'll be mostly disappointed. Instead, you will get something better.
Cron offers us a candid "memoir ... of sorts" that attempts to come to terms with what his life "was or wasn't" while growing up with a brilliant but enigmatic, alcoholic father. Like other post-modern writers willing to confess only an approximation of memory, the author asks simply that we accept the gift of his coming of age story as he best remembers it. Why that matters is because it sets a tone of authenticity that connects deeply with each of us who share the same struggle to get our stories right, especially the painful, confusing and unfinished parts.
The gift of Cron's storytelling keeps his writing from becoming overly dark or evocative of mere pity.Read more ›
The first book I was sent was by Ian Morgan Cron, published this year by Thomas Nelson. The title, Jesus, My Father and the CIA, was a real eye-catcher, but it turned out the sub-title shed the most light on the story: "a memoir...of sorts." By page four, the author lets us in on the meaning of his actual genre: "This work,' he writes, "dances on the hyphen between memoir and autobiographical fiction." The problem I have with this pseudomemoir, is that I don't know when to enter in and identify with it as a blood-bought narrative or stand back and admire it as clever storycraft. I read the book struggling to know if I should really grieve over him huddled in bed against his spy/drunken father's brutal punches, really weep over his longsuffering Irish-Catholic mother, or care too deeply about his own abusive drinking and self-indulgent appetites when he can flippantly describe himself like a, "like a Hoover set on deep shag." Then there is the whole Jesus thing, or is there?
We are given all the requisite details of the life of an Irish Catholic boy in mid-twentieth century Connecticut - fearsome nuns, benign priests, fragrant masses and holy sacraments. He loves the pageantry of sounds and the sights and the feel of the Bishop's "fat thumb" rubbing his temple after he makes his first communion. He remains "fascinated by the Eucharist," and credits this life-long affection for leading him to seminary, youth ministry, sobriety (in that order) and into his present vocation of the Episcopal priesthood.Read more ›
The book begins and ends at an altar, and in between he tells the stories of his unfolding life. It's a mark of a good memoir, I think, that although the story is particular to the author, there is a complete sense of identity with the reader in the way the stories evince the recognisable emotions of growing up and finding one's place in the world - the longing of the isolated, clever kid to be accepted by his school friends, the agonised shame when a stranger discovers your family's darker secrets, the deep grief of loss, and moments of delirious joy in between. A story about setting off explosives in the woods becomes a tale of belonging; an adventure in which his mother takes him on a legendary roller-coaster and teaches him to face down the darkness leaps off the page like a parable of survival. It's a story of how the dark secrets of childhood need to be unleashed, and of the deep gratitude that flows from finding at last that from the jumble of pieces life throws at you, a cohesive pattern can emerge.
This book is a joy to read: not only did it make me laugh and cry, it also had that magical capacity, in the spaces between the lines, to cast shards of light back onto my own life. Thank you, Ian Morgan Cron, for a wonderful book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Can't beat the price and the content is good Overall I'm satisfiedPublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is a great book...funny, thought provoking, inspiring, well written.Published 4 months ago by TMI soup lady
I read this book because I read his novel on f r an is, also a great book. Both hit me in some very personal a r was in my life. Hope to read more f2f Rom Thais authorPublished 7 months ago by David Muir
Ian Morgan Cron has bravely opened his heart for our examination. His vulnerability is what makes this book such a great read.Published 7 months ago by Bob Sugden
It has been a long time since I have read a book that was so well written. I savored it like a fine meal.Published 11 months ago by Sunshine8708
This writer resonated with me on levels I did not expect. I started the book and I did not stop reading until I finished it. Read morePublished 11 months ago by W. Wendell Hall
I enjoyed the story of the struggle of a boy and his father's love, or lack thereof. I don't think he gave us enough info between when his father dies, and when he became a... Read morePublished 13 months ago by rak713