Crossbearer: A Memoir of Faith

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Overview

Joe Eszterhas grew up in refugee camps and then in America's back alleys. He worked as a police reporter, racing the cops to robberies and shootings. He interviewed and wrote about mass murders and serial killers. He wrote dark, sexually graphic, and violent films like Basic Instinct, Jagged Edge, and Jade. Eszterhas knew a lot about darkness. Then, on a hellishly hot day in 2001, desperately battling to survive throat cancer and his addictions to alcohol and cigarettes, Joe Eszterhas found God. Or God found him....
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Overview

Joe Eszterhas grew up in refugee camps and then in America's back alleys. He worked as a police reporter, racing the cops to robberies and shootings. He interviewed and wrote about mass murders and serial killers. He wrote dark, sexually graphic, and violent films like Basic Instinct, Jagged Edge, and Jade. Eszterhas knew a lot about darkness. Then, on a hellishly hot day in 2001, desperately battling to survive throat cancer and his addictions to alcohol and cigarettes, Joe Eszterhas found God. Or God found him. And he came from darkness into light.

Crossbearer is the powerful, poignant, and sometimes wryly humorous account of a streetwise and cynical man's newfound faith, and of how he discovers God in the most intimate and routine moments of life: a family game of baseball, a child's photograph of a cloud, a dying mother's dying roses.

It is also the inspiring story of a man who must overcome his addictions to stay alive—and can't by himself. He realizes that he needs the love of his wife, his children, and especially his new friend, God, to do it.

Eszterhas is a master memoirist—his Hollywood Animal was called "powerful and affecting" (The New York Times), "absolutely first-rate" (Los Angeles Times Book Review) and "heartbreaking, funny and outrageous" (Houston Chronicle)—and with Crossbearer he reveals a fresh and completely unexpected new chapter of his life.

With surprising tenderness and a willingness to bare even weaknesses and mistakes, Joe Eszterhas has written a startling personal story about faith, values, family and love.

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Editorial Reviews

Christopher Buckley
Eszterhas writes with his fists. You practically duck as you turn the page…[his] mad account at times makes you want to hurl the book out the window, and yet you don't. You keep going, thinking, where—on earth—is this headed? The man is more than one bubble off plumb, and yet you can't help liking him. "We are fools for Christ's sake," writes Paul in I Corinthians 4:10. (A line oddly not adduced by Eszterhas.) Joe Eszterhas is God's fool, all lit up in neon, and it's quite the show. You will be appalled, you will be revolted, you will almost certainly go, Oy gevalt, but you won't be bored. And you may even be moved.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Followers of provocative screenwriter (Basic Instinct, Flashdance, Showgirls) and author (Hollywood Animal, American Rhapsody) Eszterhas may do a double-take when they see his entertaining new memoir branded with a cross, and a triple-take when they see he means it. In 2001, 56-year-old Eszterhas, recently moved to Ohio with his wife and four sons, was diagnosed with throat cancer, and ordered to end immediately all smoking and drinking-a near-impossible task for the 44-year abuser. Afterward, literally wandering the streets of Vegas, Eszterhas collapses on a curb, opens his heart, and God "saves him"-to no one's greater surprise than his own. As he struggles with his illness, addictions and guilt, Eszterhas draws strength from faith and learns about life with God, revisiting some misadventures from his drug-fueled Hollywood years. Though Eszterhas now claims faith and family the most important things in his life, the book is focused squarely on Eszterhas; early on, he discovers his church's Father Bob was inspired "to follow his dream" by a line in Flashdance, "and now, as a priest, he had inspired me in turn to love God." Still, Eszterhas's journey is inspiring and his tough-guy sense of humor reamins intact, though fans may find it hard to follow the author of The Devil's Guide to Hollywood into the arms of a loving God.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

A memoir of religious conversion cannot be effectively written all that soon after the event. How can any writer communicate this sort of all-transcending shock so quickly without being weepy, stunned, or overwrought? He cannot, and Eszterhas, screenwriter of such blockbusters as Basic Instinct, still hasn't achieved this more than eight years after his conversion. His memoir has all of these emotional reactions and more. At times it's just too much. With throat cancer, with the necessity of instantaneously giving up smoking and drinking, with the rejection of his former ways of thinking and living, with the intrusion of an experience of the divine-and also with his experience of being rejected by many family members and friends, Eszterhas had a lot to cope with. For readers who can withstand all this emotion, his memoir is worth reading and instructive about getting through very difficult circumstances. However, note that the author, while intelligent and educated, is not a theologian and has no particular background in Catholic spirituality: his views on Catholic doctrine and practice are not always reliable. Recommended with these caveats for both academic and public libraries.
—James F. DeRoche

From the Publisher

"Followers of provocative screenwriter (Basic Instinct, Flashdance, Showgirls) and author (Hollywood Animal, American Rhapsody) Eszterhas may do a double-take when they see his entertaining new memoir branded with a cross, and a triple-take when they see he means it... Eszterhas’s journey is inspiring and his tough-guy sense of humor remains intact."--Publishers Weekly

"Eszterhas writes with his fists...you won't be bored. And you may even be moved."--New York Times Book Review

"Tells the story of his spiritual conversion and his newfound devotion to God and family,,,His new book is evidence of Mr. Eszterhas' victory."--Toledo Blade

"It is fascinating to hear him wrestle with his decision to remain in the Catholic church...while the memoir is raw at times, it is never short of interesting anecdotes...he is a fantastic writer."--www.challies.com

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781597772457
  • Publisher: Phoenix Books, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/1/2009
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 5.80 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Joe Eszterhas has written the screenplays for sixteen films that have made more than a billion dollars at the box office. Among them are Basic Instinct, Jagged Edge, Flashdance and Showgirls. A former senior editor at Rolling Stone, he is the author of five previous books—the second, Charlie Simpson’s Apocalypse, was nominated for the National Book Award. The father of seven children, he lives with his wife, Naomi, and their four sons in Bainbridge Township, Ohio.

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Read an Excerpt

“I didn’t even really know how to pray…Part of it was that I felt myself to be presuming God’s favor in our new relationship. I thought to myself: Yeah, right, I reject Him so long ago, and then, after forty years of not just ignoring Him but of trashing Him in my writings, I’m suddenly back and talking to Hi as though nothing had interrupted our relationship, saying ‘How ya doin’, God? Haven’t seen you in a while—what up? Everything cool?...’

And now here I was trying to speak to the God whom I had marginalized and mocked and lampooned. How do you approach someone to whom you’ve done that? I didn’t know what to say, so one of the first things I said was ‘I’m sorry. I’ve acted like a colossal A-hole. I’m really, really sorry. I don’t deserve to be forgiven, but please try to forgive me.’”

—from Crossbearer

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Customer Reviews

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