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Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me: A Memoir...of Sorts

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  • Posted May 23, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    a vulnerable recollection of those places where life and faith collide

    What can I say that the Archbishop of Canterbury or Fr. Richard Rohr have not already said better? "This is neither a simple memoir of hurt endured, nor a tidy story of reconciliation and resolution. It is - rather like Augustine's Confessions - a testimony to the unfinished business of grace." - The Archbishop of Canterbury

    "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

    I am an ordinary guy who, like Ian Cron, has found myself to be "out of true" at times. The author borrows this term from the guy at Gene's bicycle shop in Greenwich, CT. "When the tire rim is bent or one of its spokes is missing or damaged, the wheel no longer spins straight, or true. It goes cockeyed and wobbly, and if it's bad enough, riding on it becomes impossible." The definition served as an epiphany of sorts for young Ian, "That was it. I felt out of true." This book is a fascinating and gritty account of one man's journey toward Truth.

    Although the direct circumstances of our upbringing could not be more different, the emotional journey, the experiences, the relationships (both familial and social) resonated very closely with me page after page. As a master communicator and skillful wordsmith, Mr. Cron gives voice to that which is ineffable to so many others. The courage that is demonstrated in sharing his own experiences so transparently emboldens the reader to look deeply into the mirror and dare to see a story waiting to be told.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 13, 2011

    Good read!

    Jesus, my father, the CIA and me by Ian Morgan Cron was a great read. It's an autobiography of a man as he goes from child to adult and all that comes in between.
    Cron gives the details of his life in such a vivid way. He makes you feel as if you were there as you read through the pages of this novel. It's a novel full of heartache, but also of finding God through it all. This book isn't super "religious" or in your face, but just full of truth and sincerity.

    I recommend reading this book, I think any human can find something in it that relates to their own personal life.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2011

    What a refreshing authentic book! Must read...

    I read Ian's book "Chasing Francis" and have recommended to many friends and most of all to many of my colleagues in vocational ministry who are either burned out or disenfranchised. So, Ian's memoir had special interest to me, so that it provided a backdrop to his life and development on the journey of life. Well, I wasn't disappointed. Ian has really developed into a great writer. His creative writing is laugh out loud funny, but also has tremendous clarity of truth. I can't wait till his next work. He is now one of those trusted authors, that anything he writes is worth supporting with my dollars. Keep us the good work Ian!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Lovely Writer's Voice Carries You Along

    I wonder at the nightmare that is too many childhoods-parents victimized by addiction and children victimized by parents.

    The author admits to some fictionalization only because of the inaccuracy of memory. But this story comes from truth. Ian comes from a family who live in the upper strata of what passes for class in America. They go through poverty and then back to prosperity. His father belongs to the CIA and often disappears without explanation. He rubs shoulders with the president and celebrities. Ian knows this only by old photos that his mother won't explain and later by a visit from a high-ranking member.

    The misery inflicted on him by his alcoholic father leaves him shattered. He follows his father into alcoholism and sadly begins to resemble him This story is tragic and hilarious. Some of the scenes he paints cause laughter combustion when you least expect it.

    Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me tells a story of redemption for a man who, though a devout child, at one point, compared the Catholic cross with the Protestant cross. Catholic crosses always carry the image of Jesus. Protestant crosses are bare because Jesus has ascended and isn't there any longer. But Ian believed he knew differently. God would not have let a small boy go through his experiences. The cross is empty because Jesus never hung there. When Ian once again acknowledged God, the Lord did not immediately remove the alcoholism and pain. Ian must struggle to admit he even has a problem.

    This poignant story has only one problem. It comes to a neat ending-and then it continues. I felt the author should have knit the last three chapters in to the story sooner.

    The charming writing voice entertains you, moves you, and draws you in. A good read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2014

    Nothing here

    Yet...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2013

    Fogpelt

    "Yes." He nuzzles her.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2013

    Reedstripe

    Licks his cheek. "I'm glad."

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  • Posted April 16, 2012

    Cron’s story is what I would consider creative non-fiction

    Cron’s story is what I would consider creative non-fiction. The story of Cron’s life unfolds in snippets of stories from his childhood, and catalogs his reactions both then, and now. The story is one of family, struggle, growth, and a slow acceptance of God and his role in our lives. Cron shares the shocking revelation his mother shares with him at age 16: that his father works for the CIA. The rest of the tale unfolds in present reflection, emotional flashbacks, and the real, raw emotion of a child growing up with an alcoholic father, a slightly dysfunctional family, and a constant struggle between loving and hating God.

    If I were to some up this book in just one word, it would simply be “good.” There were several things that I loved, and a couple that I really, really didn’t. Unfortunately, one of the particularly displeasing things occurred very heavily in the beginning of the book, which made it difficult to get into. In the first 1/4-1/3 of the book, Cron uses an incessant amount of pop-culture references. I can appreciate a reference here or there, but there were so many littered throughout the story that it became distracting. This did taper off some as the story progressed, but it definitely took away from the beginning.

    One of the aspects that I loved about this book is Cron’s ability to really bring a reader in to the pain that he feels throughout the story. The emotions he felt, the thoughts in his mind, the atmosphere of a room, the tone of a conversation- he draws the reader in with beautiful descriptions, vivid language, and a personable tone until you literally feel the pain and fear along with him.

    Lighter moments, such as arriving early to be an altar boy will simultaneously make you shake with laughter and shudder in fear. Darker moments, especially in confrontations with his father, literally made me pull the covers up closer around my shoulders, hiding from a man in someone else’s house 30 years ago.

    As a general rule, I tend to gravitate towards books like Cron’s. I love stories of struggle, not because the person had to endure that struggle, but because of the bravery required to share a story like that. If you, too, enjoy a deeply personal, increasingly intense, and reassuring tale of struggle, love, loss, and growing both in age, experience, and faith, then I would definitely pick up a copy of Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me.

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  • Posted April 6, 2012

    need to let go?-this is a read for you!

    this book is a fond look back to a catholic childhood and how fatih can carry us though lifes challenges, dissapointments, and losses. good for anyone who feels cheated out by a short straw life may have given them. .... good fast read......2man

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  • Posted August 31, 2011

    Keeps you captivated till the last page!

    This book . "is a record of my life as I remember it - but more importantly, as I felt it." is how Ian himself describes his memoir. of sorts.

    Somehow, Ian is able to not just look back at his life as a little boy and teenager, but rather he becomes the boy/teenager again, viewing his life through their eyes.

    He grows up with what later turns out to be lies or at best half-truths. The mantra of his family is 'don't ask (specifically about his dad's work) and absolutely don't tell (about his dad's drinking)'.

    At 16 year's of age, Ian learns that the innuendoes his father dropped from time to time are true and he indeed works for the Agency since before his birth. It leaves him bewildered since he sees his father as a uncommitted, untrustworthy alcoholic who is not able to take care of his family. How on earth could he be useful to the Agency?

    This double life his father leads, the personality he plays during his assignments, catches up with him when he becomes the one he pretends to be. A harmless, shallow American who drinks too much. Later in life Ian learns more about the mental background of his father giving him a deeper understanding of who he really was and how that affected the family.

    His mother, who didn't sign up for this type of life, but stuck with it till her husband passed away, is a strong woman who picks up the slack when her husband lets them all down. However, motherhood doesn't come naturally to her and Ian receives more love and compassion from his nanny.

    As a young boy Ian experiences God at his first Holy Communion, impacting his life profoundly, even tough he later gets angry at God for not answering his prayers.

    Ungrounded and convinced he is not lovable, he mostly parties his way through high school and college. But Jesus stoops down to him and at long last he reaches a measure of peace regarding his faith from which he continues to grow and later becomes a priest.

    Since the CIA is mentioned in the title prominently, I expected to read more about the Agency. I felt disappointed that this was not the case.

    Even though Ian touches many tough life issues, he manages to write his memoir with a lightheartedness and humor that entertains and gripes you from the start. Often times, you don't know if you should laugh or really should cry. It is an amazing read that keeps you captivated till the last page!

    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. 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."

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  • Posted August 2, 2011

    Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me by Ian Morgan Cron

    Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me: A Memoir of Sorts tells the story of the author and of his strained relationship--if relationship it can be called--with his father. From the start Cron grabs the readers attention with pithy anecdotes and personal story that break up the main biographical arc of the narrative. The book moves through the life of the author in a number of stages, and even without their being separated and divided out by the author, there is a clear line or demarcation: life before first communion, first communion to first drink, from drinking to Christ, and from Christ to depression and back to Christ.

    The story is well written and structured each story within pulling the reader in and pushing the story arc forward. The story is in large part about the author's trouble childhood and his seeking after his own father's approval yet the story is not told in such a fashion that having had a happy and prosperous childhood one would feel left out. The story itself is as such universal like good Greek drama without being pedantic. There is a savor of humanity that can be found only in such tragedy and it is here that the book becomes like salt, seasoning and preserving.

    Moreover the narrative is reassuring to any honest reader who will see in the author's failings a flavor of their own, if only stronger; as the author finds his own redemption at the feet of Christ so then can any who would follow his life-line to its end.

    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. 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."

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  • Posted August 1, 2011

    I really wanted to like it.

    I really wanted to like the book Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me: A Memoir of Sorts but I just could not get over the feeling that Mr. Cron was always blaming his father's drinking for his problems. I know that drinking is a problem in families and leaves deep scars that are hard to overcome. He concentrated so much on his father that he left out Jesus in most of the book. I really believe that the title should have been Me, My Father, the CIA, and Jesus. Because that is the order in which I felt he concentrated his time and writing.
    I felt that he did tell a great story but he even stated at the beginning of the book that "This work dances on the hyphen between memoir and autobiographical fiction." (pg. 4) With that being said, I never really knew whether or not to believe the details that he told. Where they fact, skewed facts, or just ficiton? I love autobiographical accounts of overcoming the odds but I just could never believe whole heartedly what was being said.
    I did not exactly dislike the book but I could not really recommend the book by giving it five stars. I would also like to say that I do not think that the book is entirely fiction but I would like to know what was actually fact. I know that he was telling a story from "forty year old memories" but I just could not get into the stories that he told. I was expecting more information about how his father was involved in the CIA and the adventures around his father's work. I was sadly disappointed.
    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. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission.

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  • Posted July 16, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    a reflection of a life that rather resembles our own

    A memoir that aims make us realize that there could be greatness even in the direst of lives. Having survived abuse from an alcoholic father who happens to be in CIA, and eventually falling into his own alcoholic problems, Ian Cron tells us the tale of his struggles and subsequent discovery of grace through Christian influences around him.

    Ian's story is interesting, sometimes a little disturbing with a touch of humor to balance the scales. His story will in some ways remind us of our own bouts with life and the emotions we felt through it all. Ian Cron writes in such a way that seems to weave everything together to make perfect sense. It is full of heart and it is full of life. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

    I got an ARC of this book through Booksneeze.

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  • Posted July 15, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Life and Faith Collide

    Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me by Ian Cron.A memoir of sorts is an autobiography of Ian's life consisting of surviving childhood with an abusive and alcoholic father, who happens to be in the CIA, dealing with his own alcoholic tendencies and finding Jesus in the process. This book reveals that overcoming obstacles that may seem impossible can happen. Faith and positive influence from Nanny, Christian friends and mentors seem to play an important role in Ian's life.

    This book captivates me. Never once did I find myself bored. A memorable story whether true or fiction for me is leaving me wanting to know more, and Ian did just that. The author inspires others to greatness. This book would be great for parents, especially those who may not have had the best relationship with their parents. It shows that a relationship gone wrong in the past does not make you into who you are today. Words can't describe how much I enjoyed reading this book. Great summer read.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze® 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

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  • Posted July 15, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Great Memoir ... of Sorts

    Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me is one of those books to linger over. Quotable moments where I found myself nodding in agreement and then momentarily lost in thought. You know, remembering the good . days when we were young and life seemed full of possibilities and sunny summer skies ... those moments in life before freedom and hope is trampled by reality. Growing up free is difficult when one's father is an alcoholic. The whole world slowly becomes amber-colored and dark much like the familiar long neck bottle or the measured shot of liquid in the clear drinking glass. His story is a poignant journey of drama, tears, faith and reflection, laughter and finally truth and grace. There was much work to be done on the way.

    Perhaps you'll find yourself praying that his father will be there for him, tell him that he loves him before it is too late. It is a theme that travels throughout the memoir. There are dark and difficult parts to his story, and humor to see it through. His anger helped me remember my own. His storytelling will do that. The anecdotes are seamlessly incorporated, the writing crystal clear, the metaphors spot on. The ending brings the reader full circle. Mr. Cron is a writers' writer ... an author to emulate. This is a book to be savored.

    Mini-Writers Workshop - Author Ian Morgan Cron uses all of the best fiction techniques to write his memoir: capturing his life's turning points to build the characters and produce tension, conflict, pacing, and crisp description. He understand how to use imagery to paint his pictures, he is a master at creating metaphors. "Some writers use metaphors and similes," said Leonard Bishop*, "as naturally as a kitten licks his paw." A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase that ordinarily describes one thing is used to describe another (i.e. the assignment was a breeze, heart of gold).

    *Leonard Bishop was a noted author, best-selling novelist, writing teacher, and newspaper columnist. Listed in the Who's Who of American Authors, Mr Bishop was also recognized as one of the seven top writing teachers in the United States. He wrote the classic Dare to Be a Great Writer.

    Patricia Punt

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  • Posted July 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    This memoir will make you a better person

    Jesus and the CIA (as I call it for short) is one of the all-around best books I've read in a while. Ian is a natural storyteller, and he reflects on his own life such that I was caught up in his journey, swept along with him through the tumult of his life.

    That's saying something, because Ian Cron has lived a life most of us couldn't imagine. It's a credit to his skill as a writer that I felt so drawn to him.

    Ian (I'm going to use his first name in this review because - having read his book - I feel like that's what he'd want me to do.) opens his book at his father's death-bed. We learn quickly that Ian's dad was an alcoholic and that his relationship with Ian was bad.

    So begins Ian's exploration of his past, his story. He was born into a family who lived large, movie-star-esque lives. His dad, it turns out, worked on-and-off for the CIA, but also worked with some of the biggest movie stars of the day. Their lives were glamorous, until his drinking destroyed it all.

    Around the time Ian's family lost everything, Ian found God through his first communion at his family's Catholic church. This section of the book was powerful, especially as Ian described the sacred moment of receiving for the first time the sacred meal.

    The rest of the book is Ian's journey towards peace. It's not an easy journey by any means. Ian describes himself as feeling 'out of true' - displaced and disoriented in a world with no constants. He falls into all the typical struggles of boyhood and adolescence, exacerbated by his erratic, abusive father and a genetic tendency towards alcoholism.

    Despite Because of those dark times, Ian's story is truly, simply a wonderful story. His writing is superb - his use of imagery is powerful, profound and provocative without feeling cheesy or forced. He connected me with his experiences even when I hadn't shared something similar. Ian's journey towards God hasn't looked much like mine at all. But even still, Ian drew me deep into his experience with God. And that is the magic of this book.

    Above all, Ian's journey is very human. He's far from perfect - just like me, and his honest exploration of his own faults is both encouraging and challenging.

    As Ian leads us through his life, we slowly discover that his journey is ours, too. The insecurities he faces are ours. The adventures he discovers await us, too. That's ultimately what makes it such a successful memoire. Reading this book is an introspective, healing healing exercise. The unlikely path Ian takes towards reconciliation drew me along with him. The quiet, unexpected moments in which the Sacred would burst uninvited into Ian's life were a breath of fresh air for me as well. (As you read, watch for the deer. it's a wonderful moment.) The tether tied to Ian's heart in that first communion began to tug on me as well.

    Ian's story of redemption and reconciliation is moving and beautiful. Even those dark days through which he unflinchingly led us become sacred and powerful in the final light of God's love. It's a great, easy and fun read that will have you laughing and get you a little choked up. (Watch for the cliff diving. I seriously almost lost it. Incredible.) From his experiences as a child with a mysterious, mercurial, alcoholic father to becoming a father himself, plagued by his own alcoholism and insecurities, Ian's path was never easy.

    Bottom line: You'll be a better person after you read this book. Ian is an outstanding writer; his journ

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  • Posted July 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    "Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me" A captivating story

    "Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me" (A memoir of sorts), is a life story of the author, Ian Morgan Cron.

    Cron, an Episcopal Minister, takes the reader on a ride of Ups and Downs as he tells the story of his life. Usually, I have found, memoirs of this sort, tend to be of interest to the writer and to their family, however, Cron has woven a story that once picked up, the reader can not put it down.

    I found my self laughing and crying (depending on the situation), while reading through this memoir. As Cron states a memoir is what we remember and how we remember the times of our lives. No one can remember every little detail of their lives, but how it is remembered and the way Cron writes his memoir is captivating. He has a wonder way of pulling the reader into the story and keeping them there.

    Cron speaks in detail about his struggles with his Faith, his father's life, drunkenness and actions. He also learns of his father's involvement with the CIA. All this while growing up in the affluent community of Greenwich, Connecticut. Cron does not leave any thing out regarding his own feelings in this story. He spares nothing in bringing his life alive in the readers mind.

    What I learned from this story is that nothing is impossible and that our faith and closeness to God can and will prevail.

    I was able to read and review this selection, through the kindness of Booksneeze/Thomas Nelson Publishing, and thank them for this opportunity. I would like to send out a special Thank You to Ian Cron for writing and sharing this memorable story. "Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me is a must read.

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  • Posted July 7, 2011

    Best Memoir of 2011: an exquisitely written story of a life that is fascinating, devastating and ultimately truly redemptive

    books that give you an stray thought or two. And then there are books that get under your skin and transform the way you look at things. This is one of the third kind. This book is powerful, at times even overwhelming. You can not read this book and approach fatherhood or the Eucharist the same way again. You can not read this book and think of Christianity the same way. This book will change you.

    Cron's story of growing up with a father larger - and smaller - than life is enthralling and heartbreaking. The secrets of the CIA and of alcoholism mix together in stories shared in a confessional whisper. Weaved throughout is a sense of just how many cracks there are in our mosaics, with a grounding in the absurdity of the author's life. Passionate--open hearted--piercingly intelligent--earthy--occasionally profane--absolutely unconventional--Ian's raw story of his own life pulled me along to its hopeful conclusion.

    What an extraordinary memoir - an exquisitely written story of a life that is fascinating, devastating and ultimately truly redemptive.

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  • Posted July 5, 2011

    One of the Most Powerful Books You'll Ever Read

    Thomas Nelson's Booksneeze program allows bloggers to receive free copies of books for review purposes. That's how I got to read "Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and me" by Ian Morgan Cron. I say that for two reasons: (1) I'm required by law to disclose that my copy of the book was free; and (2) I am pretty sure I wouldn't have read it if it weren't for Booksneeze. And I would have missed out on reading one of the best books I have ever laid eyes on.

    If I were to tell you what this book is about--a middle-aged Episcopal priest recounts his growing up with a dad who was an alcoholic CIA spy, I daresay your interest would fail to rise to a level adequate to convince you to crack this book open. And it doesn't even have a catchy title. Any hope for the success of "Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and me" (success being defined as this book getting the audience it deserves) hinges on one thing: word of mouth. And that's where I come in.

    Cron's story is one which, CIA stuff aside, is all too common. But his writing is uncommonly good. Great, even. This book is a clinic on how to use the best possible words to convey exactly what you want to. If writing were acting, then Cron's performance throughout this book rivals anything that Jeff Bridges, Al Pacino, Geoffrey Rush, or Marlon Brando have ever given us. It would be a shoo-in for an Oscar.

    As hard as it is to put aside the writing, I have to point out the story itself. As the reader encounters the various episodes of Cron's life, there are two parallel threads: the impact of Cron's earthly father, and the hand of his heavenly Father, throughout his journey. From one end to the other, we see example after example of both of these. God's hand is present throughout, guiding and rescuing the young man as the actions of his dad do their damage and leave their mark.

    The 2nd to last chapter, essentially the climactic one, uses a family outing at a swimming hole to deal with Cron's doubts about his own ability to father. It's classic. You've heard critics say "You'll laugh; you'll cry"? Well, in this chapter, I did both, often at the same time. Seeing this man learn to father (even as he wasn't fathered well, but he was Fathered well) is as uplifting and freeing as anything I have seen written in years. It's a powerful way to end a powerful story.

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  • Posted July 5, 2011

    An unusual, striking memoir

    Imagine your father, a stockbroker, has a surprise secret you discover when you're 16. He is, in fact, not a stockbroker, but a CIA agent. His father who also happened to be an alcoholic. His father who led his family through wealth and poverty, wealth and poverty again. That is what this story is about - but it's also about so much more. It's about Cron's own journey as his father's son, and as his Father's son, his coming to terms with his dad's story. This is Cron's story of his own redemption and the grace he found in his life and how he came to know Jesus.

    This is a really fantastic book, simply put.

    Cron slips back and forth between the present and the past, telling us his both his father's story and his own. I am a huge fan of this technique, and it works so well with Cron's story. Going back and forth allowed me to put the pieces of the story together, and again, a non-linear storyline forces me to really focus on what I'm reading. Cron's story was interesting and funny enough as it was, but I loved that I couldn't just speed through it.

    And that's the thing - this book had a great humor to it. Cron had every right and reason to be angry - deception and disease in your family when you are young sometimes leaves you that way - but has made peace with the life he has lived and instead of coming across bitter and angry, he comes across as raw and honest and funny. I couldn't help but laugh several times throughout the book, and that made his message of God's goodness and grace and His desire to have a relationship with everyone even more poignant. If God can help this man keep his humor, then there is hope for me, too.

    I recommend this to anyone who is interested in memories and biographies, especially unique ones that haven't been done before. I thought this was a great take on an unusual childhood.

    Rating: 8.5/10

    I received this book for free from BookSneeze in exchange for a review. I was not asked to make a positive review, only an honest one.

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