Crossbearer: A Memoir of Faith [NOOK Book]


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...

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Crossbearer: A Memoir of Faith

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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 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."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429944847
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 9/2/2008
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 899,180
  • File size: 2 MB

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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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 31, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Love of God, love of family by the guy who wrote Basic Instincts. Unforgetable.

    I really liked this book. Having grown up Catholic, I found so many similarities in the way I feel about my religion. I've never wanted to throw out the baby with the bathwater... I love God, I love so many aspects of Catholicism, but I am sad and angry about the patriachy. This book helped me to openly love the goodness of the church. Joe's eyes and my eyes are wide open about the negativity of the church, but he has found a way to embrace the holiness without condoning the actions of the hierarchy. I have found nothing else quite like the mysticism of Catholicism to bring me closer to the 3 persons of God. Thank you, Joe, for sharing your touching story of love of God and love of family with us. This is an unforgetable book for me. I am purchasing my 3rd copy to give as gifts.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2008


    I loved Hollywood Animal-it was brutally honest-I spent an entire week at the beach reading it. I neglected to do much of anything else that week and I wanted to enjoy my vacation, but I just couldn't put it down. I remember thinking that I just couldn't stand it when the author left his first wife and made a new family, I just felt awful liking the guy still after reading all about it, and it brought up way, way too many painful memories on my side. In spite of myself, when I finished Hollywood Animal, I could not help but hope that everyone in both families would live happily ever after. I was really annoyed with myself with that one, but the book made such an impression that a couple of years later, I actually looked up to see if Mr. Esterhas had written anything else. <BR/> <BR/>And so I found Crossbearer and I loved it much more than Hollywood Animal. It is a story of true redemption in our dearest Lord Jesus Christ. And now I'm on here buying a copy for my dad. Mr. Esterhas is no whiner, and that has turned me, a hardliner, into one of his fans. One can sense his kindness towards his first wife, and his expressed and great love for his second. I can forgive that truth, and that says a lot about this man. I hope so much for him that his older children find the Lord also and that his granddaughters stay well as can be, and that his little children stay close and watch his journey.<BR/><BR/>I'll be waiting for the next installment.....

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2008

    A Review of the Book and the Man

    This will be an unusual review. My name is Vince. Yes, the same Vince from page 181 of Crossbearer. In February of 2007, I was at the lowest point of my life. For escape, I turned to books. I had purchased Hollywood Animal when it came out. As a closet screenwriter for nearly a decade, I had long admired the man who wrote one of my favorite films: Telling Lies in America. His autobiography had been on my bookshelf for a while awaiting my attentions. But I ran a company and my hours were long. When the company folded and I lost my job, I had time¿ the kind of time I didn¿t want. The kind of time that knows no peace. I needed nepenthe. So I read Hollywood Animal at night, expecting the lavish adventures of one of my favorite screenwriters. And it was. But it was more. It was the story of a man who had risked everything for love... and then given up the most compelling forces of his life to stick around for that love. The honesty necessary to craft this memoir was boggling. I found the book enabling and inspirational. I was moved from my depression. Valentine's Day brought a blizzard to Cleveland and I wrote a 'love' letter. Joe documents my letter in the book. And as stunned as I was the first time I heard his voice, there was never a doubt in my mind that he would contact me. I felt that deep a kinship with him from his book. Joe read my scripts. He met with me and told me how much he enjoyed them. My Hollywood story was beginning. And as he guided me through the gates of the Hotel California, I had numerous occasions to thank Joe Eszterhas. Joe has a humble and gracious generosity that is rare upon the earth. Once, I thanked Joe for everything he had done for me, wondering why, of all the numerous requests he must have had to read scripts, why he read mine. 'You're a terrific writer,' he said, 'you wrote a terrific letter. You wrote some terrific scripts.' Then he added, 'But I never would have responded before. There was more. It was an Act of God.' Irony. We'll get to the irony later. A few months ago, Joe invited me to his home and took me out for lunch. Sushi, of course. Joe eats a lot of fish and sushi is a favorite of mine. Back at his home, he set me down at his table and put a manuscript in front of me. I read the story of how Joe and I became friends... but from his point of view. Sometimes I get so trapped in my own head that I am puzzled that another point of view could actually exist. It really is quite something to see yourself through the eyes of someone else, let alone someone you admire so greatly who is so capable of expressing themselves so profoundly. 'I can cut anything you aren't comfortable with,' he said to me. 'You don't need to change a comma,' I said as I hugged him. Later, he gave me a copy of the galleys and I finally got to read the entire book. The man who wrote Basic Instinct, Jade, and Showgirls... the man who gave voice to Bill Clinton's member in American Rhapsody... had written a memoir of his faith. For some, this might seem a bit surprising. Perhaps it was most surprising to Joe himself. But, like most surprises, this book was as inevitable as a sunrise¿ and as bright¿ as beautiful. Irony is one of my favorite things...and, ironically, one of my least favorite things. You see, I am not a person of faith. I would very much love it if there were an all-powerful, all-loving being in charge of the universe. I would very much love it if this being were my best friend and that I could have a word with him about Diabetes and cancer and all that ails the world. But when I imagine what a world run by such a divine being would look like... it isn't very much like this one. That said, we can all recall books and conversations with friends who are trying to share their religious experiences with us... and if that's what anyone expects from Crossbearer, that expectation will be shaken. Joe Eszterhas is not a presumptious m

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