Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me by Ian Cron

The first thing to say is that this book is much, much better than its title. I’m guessing the publishers had a bit of trouble deciding what to call something that refuses to be squashed into any conventional genre.

Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me is a memoir of a miserable childhood that is often hilarious and never sentimental.

It’s a book about Jesus that is completely unpredictable.

It’s got the CIA in it but the biggest mystery is nothing to do with espionage – it’s why they would employ Cron’s father when he was usually too drunk to function.

Given the subject matter, it’s appropriate for the book to defy expectations like this. It tells a story of growing up with that most unpredictable of people, an alcoholic parent. Interwoven with that is a tortuous journey of faith to a God who, as Cron puts it, ‘often comes to us incognito’.

In one of the most memorable scenes of the book, Cron’s mother takes him on a rollercoaster ride not once but three times in succession. That’s a bit how I felt when I finished this story. It’s hilarious and heartbreaking by turn; it takes you from the excruciating depths of childhood despair to an experience of grace that is full of hope and compassion, with numerous highs and lows in between.

‘Home is where we start, and whether we like it or not, our life is a race against time to come to terms with what it was or wasn’t,’ says Cron near the start of his story. I’d recommend this book to anyone who is interested in how we make sense of our past, whether you share Cron’s faith or not. Just don’t come to it with any preconceptions.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com bloggers programme. I was not required to write a positive review.

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