Customer Reviews


12 Reviews
5 star:
 (8)
4 star:
 (4)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 
‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerfully moving memoir of redemption, 22 Jun. 2011
By 
In this book, Ian Cron writes a powerful and engaging memoir of growing up with an alcoholic father who worked for the CIA, and his own journey of faith.

Cron writes with wonderful wit and humour, describing his entirely dysfunctional and unconventional family and childhood without getting sentimental or melodramatic. He weaves together his journey of faith, from his first communion as a schoolboy, to his rejection of faith as he grew up, through to his unlikely regaining of it in college and his own struggle with alcoholism during his college years and beyond. It is a very moving, and at times, tragic, account of someone trying to gain the love of a father constrained by his own demons, but which sees the thread of God's providence and plan throughout some truly horrific situations. There were times when Cron echoed the sentiments we hear so often of why people abandon faith.

At its heart, it is a painfully honest story of redemption, and of a son and his father which brought me to tears and to laughter. A most thoroughly enjoyable, challenging and uplifting book; a story that should be honoured, and deserves to be read.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars much more than just a story, 1 Aug. 2011
By 
J. DOUGLAS "Johnny Douglas" (Nr London, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Many books are written; many books are read. It is much rarer that a book is written that profoundly impacts its readers. A biography and testimony of man who desperately sought the love of his narcissistic, alcoholic father throughout his childhood, Ian's story offers broad appeal to those who were raised through the 1960s and 1970s. It is really the story of two men: Ian's father, a larger than life man who gained entry to the quality edge of American society through various and intriguing work roles; and Ian, his son, who stumbled his way through adolescence without the paternal guidance young men often need to successfully navigate through life.

Each chapter in the book begins with an intriguing quote that encourages the reader to discover the meaning within its pages. The author employs an engaging, almost self-deprecating wit to convey to the reader the disappointments and exploits of his unusual childhood. There is poignancy in this author's storytelling that draws the reader into his life, circumstances, rare joy, and many sorrows. Excellent, moving and a right-ripping-read!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We are not enslaved to our past: Ian Cron's inspiring memoir, 24 Sept. 2011
By 
Mark Meynell "quaesitor" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It is a rare gift indeed to be able to evoke the confusions, perceptions and wonder of childhood from the perspectives of adulthood. And it is a gift that Ian Cron clearly possesses. His recent memoir (self-deprecatingly subtitled `of sorts'), Jesus, My Father, The CIA and Me, is a wonderful, life-affirming account of a deeply troubled and agonised family - but it is wonderful because it demonstrates hope in some very dark places indeed. And for that reason alone, it is a book I would thoroughly recommend.

Ian's father was at times a Hollywood big shot, a businessman, an undercover CIA agent. But most significantly for this book, he was an alcoholic. And it was that which blighted Cron's childhood from a very early stage. As one of his chapter heading quotes puts it:
"Alcoholism isn't a spectator sport. Eventually the whole family gets to play. (Joyce Rebeta-Burditt)"

And he asks near the start:
"Home is a place where you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to." That's what John Edward Pearce said. But what if your childhood was a train wreck? (p3)

Ian Cron's upbringing is tragically not an uncommon one. But his ability to write of it in poetic, inspiring and, at times, devastatingly funny, prose, is very uncommon - and despite its painful subject, I could not put it down. Occasionally, too, I was moved to tears, as with this most arresting of descriptions, referring to the anguish of having primarily negative feelings about his father:
"These kinds of experiences are not biodegradable. They float in the reservoir of memory forever." (p94)

CHANGE IS POSSIBLE
Gradually, but surely, through mundane events and friendships, God is at work, rescuing him from his past. The fact that he is not enslaved to that past when he so easily could have been (he found himself accelerating towards alcoholism himself as a young man) is evidence of a personal revolution of truly miraculous proportions. For he is all too aware of what he missed out on, as this poignant passage articulates so well:

"Frederick Buechner once wrote, "The grace of God means something like: here is your life. You might have never been, but you are because the party wouldn't have been complete without you."
To see delight in your father's eyes is to see his believe that the party of life would be a bust without you. He may not know it, but from the moment he first glimpses his baby boy's head crowning in the delivery room, a father makes a vow that with stumbling determination, he will try to get a few of these things right. Boys without fathers, or boys with fathers who for whatever reason keep their love undisclosed, begin life 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. Many of us who live without these gifts that only a father can bestow go through life banging from guardrail to guardrail, trying to determine why our fathers kept their love nameless, as if ashamed.
We know each other when we meet." (p47)

GOD AT WORK
Of course, this does not mean he has found God easy to believe in, let alone trust. He writes very powerfully of his early understanding of Protestants having empty crosses in their churches (in contrast to the Catholic crucifixes of his childhood), suggesting that "the cross was empty because there was no Saviour to put up there. There was no God who loved me or my father or anyone else so much that he died for us." (p142)

But different experiences led him to doubt that despair. The most moving parts of this story come when other people help him. An elderly African American woman, or the youth leaders at Young life, or the wise words of a spiritual director/counsellor. God is at work through so many of these conversations. But the standout for me was his teenage contemporary who had the guts to say that his drinking habit was turning him more and more into his dad.
"I stopped breathing. I stared at Tyler and he at me. A gust of January wind put its shoulder to the side of the barn and tried to push it down. Instead, it found a crack in a beam and settled for making it whistle. There was no other sound - until I bowed my head and cried.
There are acts of love so subtle and delicate that the sweep of their beauty goes unseen. I know of none more miraculous and brave than that of a seventeen-year-old boy coming to his friend's side to take his tear-soaked face to his breast." (p162)

Now, I did not find myself always on the same page theologically as Cron. I do not share anything like his eucharistic focus, for example (a running theme through the book). But that didn't matter. Because this is a memoir which (more than almost any other I've read) manages to convey a sense of progress despite (and sometimes because of) pain. It is about God's redemptive power to erode despair, to free slaves and above all, to change lives. And it is something that all of us, whether in ministry or not, will do well to remember. For none of us is the finished article. We all carry baggage and blind spots. So after describing some of the psychological gymnastics he has to endure as a result of his deep insecurities, he...
"confessed this nutty practice to my spiritual director. He smiled, put his arm around my shoulder, and said, "I never trust a man without a limp." God bless him." (p27)

God bless him indeed. It gives the rest of us, his fellow-limpers, hope.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book that defies expectations, 5 Sept. 2011
By 
The first thing to say is that this book is much, much better than its title. I'm guessing the publishers had a bit of trouble deciding what to call something that refuses to be squashed into any conventional genre.

Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me is a memoir of a miserable childhood that is often hilarious and never sentimental.

It's a book about Jesus that is completely unpredictable.

It's got the CIA in it but the biggest mystery is nothing to do with espionage - it's why they would employ Cron's father when he was usually too drunk to function.

Given the subject matter, it's appropriate for the book to defy expectations like this. It tells a story of growing up with that most unpredictable of people, an alcoholic parent. Interwoven with that is a tortuous journey of faith to a God who, as Cron puts it, `often comes to us incognito'.

In one of the most memorable scenes of the book, Cron's mother takes him on a rollercoaster ride not once but three times in succession. That's a bit how I felt when I finished this story. It's hilarious and heartbreaking by turn; it takes you from the excruciating depths of childhood despair to an experience of grace that is full of hope and compassion, with numerous highs and lows in between.

`Home is where we start, and whether we like it or not, our life is a race against time to come to terms with what it was or wasn't,' says Cron near the start of his story. I'd recommend this book to anyone who is interested in how we make sense of our past, whether you share Cron's faith or not. Just don't come to it with any preconceptions.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com bloggers programme. I was not required to write a positive review.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me, 8 Mar. 2012
Ian Morgan Cron's 'memoir of sorts' was given to me free by the Booksneeze programme in exchange for a review.

Cron, an Episcopal priest, has penned a thoroughly enjoyable and thought provoking memoir. The title is slightly deceptive, it is less about the CIA, and more about his life with his alcoholic father. But no matter, because the book deals well with the messiness of such an upbringing.

He readily admits that his memoir is filled with stories that are not always his own, and details that are filled in by mother, siblings and friends. It is written fluidly, though for an British reader, there are plenty of Americanisms that can get in the way at times, and his turn of phrase is solidly American-English. But these are mere quibbles.

The subject he deals with is prickly, to say the least. And he has written with an honesty that is disarming, and provides reason as to the need to write and read real-life stories such as this one from Cron: it reminds us of the redemption, forgiveness and reconciliation that Jesus Christ not only offers, but brings to bear on our lives through many unsuspected ways. Never will I lead children in communion without realising the unending depths of God's riches exhibited and given freely by Christ again.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jesus, My Father, The CIA, And Me, 26 July 2011
By 
Benjamin Howe (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Jesus, My Father, The CIA, And Me, is a book about Ian Morgan Cron's family life - in particular about his father, who is a very "troubled, talented, smart" alcoholic, and works for the CIA. During his childhood, he tries to impress his father, as his alcoholism spirals. Not only was this an interesting and challenging book, but it was also very funny in the process.

I (and others - according to Google) really like the quote: "There is a big difference in life between a jump and a fall. A jump is about courage and faith, something the world is in short supply of these days. A fall is, well, a fall." - from the end part of the book where he is learning to be less cautious.

This was a really great read, and kept me hooked on the bus. There were times where I was laughing out loud - this possibly made other passengers wonder if I was sane (no is the answer - if you're wondering)! Ian Morgan Cron has really succeeded in telling an interesting and addicting story.

Rating: *****

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and nobody else's.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A great book for men to read ..., 28 Mar. 2012
By 
C. Kidd (Dibden, Hampshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
It was with some interest that I read Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me: A Memoir of Sorts, as titles go this was very intriguing. In this book Ian Cron writes about his experience of growing up with an alcoholic father who worked for the CIA, and how that affected his spiritual journey.

Ian's father was at times a Hollywood big shot, a businessman, an undercover CIA agent. But most significantly for this book, he was an alcoholic. And it was that which blighted Cron's childhood from a very early stage. As one of his chapter heading quotes puts it:
"Alcoholism isn't a spectator sport. Eventually the whole family gets to play. (Joyce Rebeta-Burditt)"

Whilst not everyone's dad works for the CIA, sadly many children grew up with alcoholic parents. Cron describes his entirely dysfunctional and unconventional family and childhood without getting sentimental or melodramatic. Throughout this journey we see the interlinking with his faith, from his first communion as a schoolboy, to his rejection of faith as he grew up, through to his unlikely regaining of it in college and his own struggle with alcoholism during his college years and beyond.

The book is quite moving, reading the deep emotional struggles of someone trying to gain the love and affection of their father. But in the midst of this we see a loving God involved in various circumstances rescuing him from his past.

It is a deeply profound book that I'd particularly encourage young men to take the time to read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Jesus, My Father & the CIA, 29 Jun. 2011
I found Ian Morgan Cron's biography `Jesus, My Father and the CIA' to be a fascinating read (I received a complimentary e-book version from Booksneeze.com to review). Sometimes Cron's recollection of his childhood living with an alcoholic father is painful but always humorous.

"As the child of an alcoholic, I knew how to smile and work a room like someone running for re-election, even when there was a spear sticking"

Cron's awe of God as a small child permeates throughout the story with starting with his first communion and his disappointment with God as young boy is heart breaking as his prayers for a better family life are unanswered. Cron unwilling followed his father's footsteps into alcoholism and became depressed and frustrated with God even as he worked for the church.

"I didn't want to parse God--I wanted to be swept up in his glory. I didn't want to understand the Holy One; I wanted to be consumed in his oceanic love. I yearned for heaven, and as long as it remained beyond my reach, my life was tinged with disappointment."

But Cron comes to forgive his late father and his mother who covered up so much for him and although he still carries the anxiety of whether he can be a good father to his children has come full circle to be the Priest conducting the communion service.

Cron's is a funny, sometimes irreverent story of a child grappling with God and a dysfunctional family. One of my favourite quotes is from the end of the book were Cron is learning to be less fearful and cautious, a lesson taught to him by his children:

"There is a big difference in life between a jump and a fall. A jump is about courage and faith, something the world is in short supply of these days. A fall is, well, a fall."
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars a wonderful book, 7 Jun. 2011
I took my time over this book: a skim-read wouldn't do. I know Ian is a good writer (it was my privilege to be one of his first reviewers when Chasing Francis was published), but he has also become a friend over the last few years, so I wanted to do him justice. But one chapter in, I was hooked: a thorough read was no labour of love, I simply couldn't put it down. I was captivated by Ian's lyrical language, his ability to weave anecdotes into legends, and to paint characters so that they climb right out of the pages in full technicolor.

Ian's story 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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Not the memoir of a comic..., 29 Aug. 2011
By 
This was a bit of a surprise package for me, I was sent this book to review on my blog, and my first thoughts were 1/ This is American, 2/ Is it just going to be a guilt trip. Fortunately it was none of these things. Though it is not quite in the confessions league (in spite of a glowing endorsement by the Archbishop of Canterbury), it is was a really interesting read.

Ian Cronfield writes with humour and honesty in describing his early life and I found myself moved at several points, I have not had any experience anywhere near as traumatic as his but his descriptions brought to life the horror of living with an alcoholic and the haunting realisation that he was becoming the same man.

Yet having read it while I was on holiday I found it an inspiring read. A person can be faced with immense suffering and pain yet doesn't have to be doomed to a life of destruction. Other's reviews have focused on some of the great pictures he paints or the clever turn of phrases he uses, yet t was the reality of what he writes. I read this over my holiday and it was a welcome break from the usual theology texts which I have been going through during college. I enjoyed the book and it was well worth my time, I would recommend it to anyone

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and nobody else's.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Only search this product's reviews