Saturday, April 13, 2013

Book review (#6 of 2013): Jesus, My Father, The CIA and Me by Ian Morgan Cron

(All reviewed books are Kindle unless otherwise noted). 
Ian Morgan Cron is an Episcopalian adjunct priest and former youth worker with Young Life. This after growing up as the Roman Catholic son of an essentially absent and abusive alcoholic father, a scar from his secret CIA life.

Cron wrote this memoir about his childhood years after his father's death, after he began a long healing process processing long-buried emotions and coming to terms with himself and God.

This book made the Wall Street Journal's bestseller list. Who is the audience? I'd say teenagers, particularly guys, in Cron's youth group struggling with identity and people just curious about what it was like to have a real-life secret spy as your dad. You have to get through much of Cron's wisecracks and humor, he sounds like a corny youth pastor type to me. But the book is interesting and has elements that many men find interesting and worth contemplating.

Cron didn't know his father was a CIA agent until late in his teenage years, after he discovered a picture of his dad playing golf with the President. He never learned many stories from his father, only occasional tidbits. His family always lived in upscale communities, going from wealth to poverty to well-off again while his father checked out mentally for seemingly years at a time. (It makes one wonder how old-school CIA agents were recruited and operated. It resembles the Matt Damon flick The Good Son a lot.)

Cron is raised in Catholic schools and has many stories from it. As a teenager, he's invited to a Young Life club and eventually begins a deeper spiritual walk with God, culminating in his seeking professional counseling after his father dies and his mind frees itself from its silence. He goes on to become an Episcopalian minister and is now seeking his doctorate. 

I give this book 3 stars out of 5. It's well-written, entertaining, and has a message of hope and redemption. It is a little campy at times and makes me wonder "who is reading this book?" other than people like me who found the title intriguing and it was a cheap $1.99 deal on Amazon at the time. I would probably give it to a teenager or college student as an entertaining read that demonstrates the importance of vulnerability, family, and spirituality.

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