Many books are written; many books are read. It is much rarer that a book is written that profoundly impacts its readers. “Jesus, My Father, the CIA, And Me” by Ian Morgan Cron is one such book. I finished reading it a week ago, have been telling people about it ever since, and plan on recommending it widely to friends and family in the weeks and months to come.
A biography and testimony of man who desperately sought the love of his narcissistic, alcoholic father throughout his childhood, Ian’s story offers broad appeal to those who were raised through the 1960s and 1970s. It is really the story of two men: Ian’s father, a larger than life man who gained entry to the upper crust of American society through various and intriguing work roles; and Ian, his son, who stumbled his way through adolescence without the paternal guidance young men often need to successfully navigate through life.
The book opens as I predict the future movie will, with Ian’s father on his deathbed, conversing with the now grown-up Ian who is hoping to make an emotional connection with his father before it is too late. The author then recounts, through short story memories, the life experiences that led to this pivotal moment in time.
Each chapter in the book begins with an intriguing quote that encourages the reader to discover the meaning within its pages. The author employs an engaging, almost self-deprecating wit to convey to the reader the disappointments and exploits of his unusual childhood. There is poignancy in this author’s storytelling that draws the reader into his life, circumstances, rare joy, and many sorrows. I laughed out loud at times, and at other times cried for the boy and young man struggling to make sense of his own heartbreaking experiences.
As I read the book, I wanted to learn more about why his father was the way he was. Was it something in his own childhood? Were there disappointments? Even after finishing the book, I was left wanting more of something intangible, and perhaps that is one of the greatest values of the book. We all experience in varying degrees what Ian intensely experienced in Ian’s longing for the love of his father and for home.
This is a truthful, vulnerably told story of how Ian finds the love he is seeking as he struggles and overcomes his own shortcomings, faces his own failures, and learns to forgive. A highly recommended read for father’s day, as Ian’s story concludes with lessons learned and applied in his current role as the father of three children.
BookSneeze® provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review and I am very grateful for the gift of Ian’s story.