Monday, May 30

Jesus, my Father, the CIA, and Me - a review

Subtitled: "A Memoir of Sorts…"  by Ian Morgan Cron

The first thing that caught my eye on this cover was the word, “CIA.”  Then I saw the image of a young child waving at the photographer (the photo is an actual photo from Ian’s childhood).  The title and synopsis promises a story of child growing up with an alcoholic father who works for the CIA.

To my disappointed, Ian only really delivers on half of that story, the part of growing up with an alcoholic father.  Ian has few positive memories of his father, and throughout the book he struggles with how to relate to his father and how to get his father to notice him, as well as struggling to keep this problem hidden from his friends at school.  This does have many interesting parts to it.  Ian himself tries many things to gain his father’s attention, including trying harder to achieve good grades.  But he also turns to alcohol and illegal drugs, something he hoped would help deal with his father, who on occasion was known to grow violent.

The CIA element of the story is barely mentioned and doesn’t actually seem to have a huge impact on Ian’s story.  The part regarding the CIA which was the most interested was at the beginning of the novel, where Ian talks about going to father’s funeral and tells of the odd behavior of those who he believed were his father’s co-workers.  For most of the rest of the story, we never hear about the CIA, and it didn’t really seem to impact Ian that much.  The biggest part was when the family was almost forced to move out of country – almost

Because the CIA was mentioned in the title, I expected it to be quite a large part of the story, possibly with stories about his father’s travels, but there wasn’t.  I felt a bit cheated because of this.  The book should be re-titled, Jesus, my Father, Alcohol, and Me.

Some of the most interesting, and generally funniest, parts of the novel were Ian’s experiences with church.  He grew up attending a Catholic church, and tells many humorous stories, from his first communion, to when his families nanny accidentally brought him to church two hours early for his first day as an altar boy.

In the end, I felt this book had some interesting parts.  The stories from his church were generally funny, but sometimes insightful.  It was heartbreaking at times, reading about a child desperate for his father’s love yet only seeing a drunken mess.  However, he sometimes wrote in near stream of consciousness, breaking off in the middle of a story to dive into a thought that didn’t always resolve.  The minimal element of the CIA was also disappointing, as my interest in reading about that was the primary reason I picked up the book.

This could be a book worth reading, but don’t be fooled by the title.

3/5 stars

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their 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

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