If you begin reading Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me: A Memoir. . . of Sorts
and you’re surprised by the genre, then I’m going to suggest that you’re not very good at picking up on cues. You don’t pick up a book like this expecting a theological treatise or a straightforward accounting of the facts. You expect a bit of a ride. And if a ride is what you’re looking for, this book delivers.
One of the best things I can say about this book is that I enjoyed reading it. This isn’t a book that I had to force myself to read. Every few pages a phrase would pop off the page. The writing is crisp and alive, and often funny. Ian Morgan Cron knows how to tell a story, and I never got bored reading this book.
But this book does deal with heavy stuff. You couldn’t pay me to read about someone’s struggle with the aftermath of an alcoholic and mentally ill father, at least at bedtime. But Cron goes there. He manages to unpack his lifelong struggle without wallowing in misery, and without losing the reader. He gives us glimpses of the pain that all of us carry, and glimpses of God’s grace in the middle of that pain. To do that with honesty and humor takes skill, and Cron proves to be more than equal to the task.
I did struggle at times. Sometimes the humor got a little old. And I’m not exactly sure about all the theology at points. Jesus stoops, but does he really ask our forgiveness, as Cron suggests? Cron struggles with this, and I would suggest he does so with good reason.
Nevertheless, I did enjoy this book because it delivered what I expected. It entertained me. While doing so, it probed what it means to be raised and damaged by imperfect parents, as is true of all of us. And it pointed to God’s grace and restoration in the middle of that pain.
If you’re ready to be entertained, and to see a little bit of where our pain and God’s grace intersect, then you will likely enjoy this book as well. It’s a book that ends with Jesus — a book that takes us, after all, where we all need to go most.
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Book has been provided courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favorite bookseller from Thomas Nelson.