Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Guest Review: Jesus, My Father, the CIA and Me by Ian Morgan Cron

Book: Jesus, My Father, the CIA and Me: A Memoir ... of sorts by Ian Morgan Cron
Genre: Memoir
Rating: A-
For: Review
From: the publisher

This book came just a short time ago with the hope that I'd read it and review it. My husband beat me to the book, so he's doing the review this time! Here's what he has to say:

An author willing to intermingle quotes from Mother Theresa, Jane Austin and Bono (the lead singer for the Irish rock band U2) must be well rounded, fully impartial, or totally off his rocker. Upon finishing the new memoir, “Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me,” by Ian Morgan Cron, I decided that the first two best describe the situation. The author is definitely sane, well, at least as sane as anyone could be after emerging from a childhood marred by the ghost of alcoholism. But don't let the “heavy” theme of alcoholism deter you from reading this positive, light, and heart warming book. For me, the book was uplifting and enjoyable.

The book is the autobiographical account of Cron's childhood growing up in the Northeast. As I ponder on the summation of the read, the main theme revolves around Cron's interaction with his alcoholic father. But, this paints a much darker picture of the book than what is delivered. Intermixed in the story line are funny tidbits, small anecdotes showing the lighter side of life, stories exemplifying how a desperate mother tried to hold a family together. Even the truly horrible scenes are told using a light, healthy point of view.

Now an Episcopal priest, Cron admits that the book is quasi-autobiographical: meaning that names were changed, and stories were told as he “remembers them.” His goal was to capture the essence of the times. And this he did very well. I cannot put my finger on a single event that defined Cron. Instead, I feel I understand who he is based on the summation, or essence, of all of his stories. Cron travels from financial bliss to the epitome of financial difficulties as his father destroys the family's financial stability. He passes through the “no friends” phase and he is constantly hounded by the thought that “there is something wrong with me.” Alcoholism rubs off of his father and lands squarely on Cron's resume. Not surprising considering the statistics.

For me, the treat was reading one of the closing scenes where Cron shows wonderful support and understanding of his own children. The local watering hole included a forty foot high jumping platform where daring teenagers show off for their girlfriends by jumping into the water below. Cron weaves a delightful story of his own children's hopes and dreams as they coax him into jumping from the high platform with them. A father loving his children. Children learning from their parents. Parents learning from their children. Triumph for both.

I hope that Cron's writing painted a true portrait of his current mental state. If so, I believe he has emerged from his childhood with his head firmly planted on his shoulders and a healthy outlook on life. He has nipped the cruel cycle of alcoholism in the bud.

Other Reviews:


  1. Sounds interesting! I will have to add it to the wish list. :)

  2. I'm always up for an interesting memoir. It's nice to see this one remains light considering it's premise.

  3. fantastic review! I'm not a memoir reader and he has me curious. when I next consider pushing my boundaries I will have this one circled on my list of "should try".


  4. I listened to Ian's memoir via audiobook, and found it a very enjoyable "read". I'm a big fan of memoir and encourage those who have not tried it to dive in. Mary Karr is one of the best, and if you're looking for more of the spiritual nature, see Carolyn Weber's "Surprised By Oxford".



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