When Ian is finally told that his father worked for the CIA, it explains a lot. But not everything. Lost without the compass that is a father's love, Ian struggles to accept and understand a father that became everything he pretended to be while he worked for the CIA. Drowned out by the loud voice of his father's alcoholism and lack of interest in his son's life, Ian grows up to be a man of many questions and no easy answers.
Years later when he faces his many personal demons, he comes to a realization that the truth of who he has become is found in his past. A father that drank and ignored him. A nanny that had nothing but the family's best interest in mind. The catholic church that introduced him to a God that held him up when standing was impossible. A mother who's long-suffering patience with all of them may have been the only thing that redeemed his childhood in the end. Will Ian's questions finally be answered? Or is he doomed to a life of broken fragments with no hope of redemption?
Having read this author before, I was already familiar with the voice of Cron's writing. But reading this memoir was an entirely different journey altogether. It showed the heart of a young boy that desperately wants to find his way in this life, a young man that wants to make all the right choices, and then the adult that has to look to the past to put it all together. Sometimes looking at the past makes things harder. But Cron pushes past the pain to come out a better man for it. A recommended read for anyone that needs encouragement to resolve the past for a better future.
This book was provided for free from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest review.
Review: If you are wanting to know more about the CIA and thrilling adventure stories, you will be disappointed. This is a memoir which recounts Cron's childhood and adolescence with an abusive alcoholic father. He has a delightful prose and dialog which is very easy to read. I enjoy his style, but I don't think this book is suitable for younger children and teenagers for several reasons. First, there are some painful periods in his life which are recounted in detail. Once during his childhood, some older boys bully him in a demeaning, physical way. Cron talks about his emotional withdrawals, desire for love and acceptance, and his dependence on alcohol himself.
Second, I do not agree with his doctrine. Cron grew up in a Catholic family; his mother was very religious, and Cron became an altar boy. The eucharist was his guiding light through all his turmoil. Through this fascination, he went to seminary, youth ministry, and sobriety (in that order). His "salvation" was during the mass when he hears a voice saying, "Forgive me, Ian. I'm sorry, Ian, please forgive me. Will you pardon me, Ian. Now we are both forgiven." "I stood and edged into the aisle to join the line of all the other knotted hearts limping toward the bread of new and unending life." This is not salvation of repentance.
The theme of this book is forgiveness which is woven through the eucharist, and the book ends on a happy note. Cron becomes an Episcopal priest, marries, and rears his children in a loving and forgiving relationship. He desires them to grow beyond their fears and gain confidence to face the future bravely. Cron's dialog of his experiences is very touching and sincere, but I do not recommend the book.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.comÂ® book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Cron grew up in a Catholic household, and the depiction of his memories could almost be called sacrilegious. He says this about a time his dad yells "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph" in response to their car breaking down: "This calling on the members of the Holy Family for assistance in emergencies has a long and venerable history among Catholics in extremis. There is no empirical evidence to suggest that it supplies a single ounce of protection or divine aid to the petitioner, but we believed there was no harm in trying." Is this guy even a Christian? And this is just one example. He also works in two cheap shots on purgatory by page 52 (of 252), at which point I knew this one was no candidate for the parish library shelf. This led to, "Why am I still reading it if it's not good enough for the shelf?" So I quit, and in fact I'm trashing it.
Now, if Cron is to be believed, it's not like his dad, supposedly an alcoholic, made Cron's childhood very easy. Conveniently, this father is now deceased and cannot speak in his own defense. But it seems like Cron still doesn't know not to hold that against the Church. Before putting the book down for good I did wonder what faith Cron practices now. I only needed to skip to "About the Author." Yes he is a Christian; he's an Episcopalian priest. (Don't Episcopalians believe in purgatory? And the Eucharist, which was another target of Cron's?)
So do yourself a favor and don't bother with this one.
I received this book for free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÂ®.com (http://BookSneezeÂ®.com> book review bloggers program.
Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me is a truly fascinating book. It is different from many of the other books I have read from BookSneeze because it is in the memoir vein rather than an exposition of text or a Christian life aid. I enjoyed the stories in the book and the thoughts the author (Cron) added to these stories that he experienced. Ultimately, the book is a tale of how one can truly experience, basically, every high and low that is out there during the human experience, and still come out on the other side closer to God and in a better relationship with Jesus and the people that matter the most to them. I enjoyed reading this book because it was a vastly different viewpoint than my own and I hope it will help me to grow in a different way.
This morning, I finished Ian Morgan Cron's memoir, Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me. The melancholy, yet hopeful, text follows Cron's early life in England, a childhood in the United States, and eventually to college and beyond.
What I loved about Cron's book is his honesty: his frustration with his father, his confusion in his faith in Jesus, and his struggle with teenage and early adult alcoholism. He speaks of his father's struggle with alcoholism and the tumultuous family relationship that resulted from disorder. Cron discusses how he tiptoed to avoid his father's wrath, but often found himself at the receiving end of his angry father's outbursts. Surviving his childhood, Cron goes away to college, only to plunge into alcoholism and depression. However, though this memoir focuses on Cron's struggles as a young boy and man, the story does not end with his giving up on faith and family. Rather, Cron embraces the belief that Christ brings all things for one's good, even if one has to fall through a raging storm.
Rating: 4/5 stars. Would recommend, but only to check out at the library.
The good people at Booksneeze.com offered me a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine