Sarah's Reviews > Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me: A Memoir. . . of Sorts

Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me by Ian Morgan Cron
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's review
Jan 21, 2012

did not like it
Read on January 21, 2012

I've read the reviews for this book - they were what made me want to read it in the first place. I seriously don't see how I am reading the same book as all of these people, because the very things that everyone praises are the things that I think are worst about this book.

Nothing about this book is unique. It's an overgrown blog entry, another hipster Christian book trying to be edgy with pop culture references that will quickly become obsolete and disjointed childhood memories without an overarching theme. The writing doesn't flow well or draw the reader into the story - there have been a few moments that felt they could have really shone with some more editing and polishing, but they were scattered between hodge podge and disconnected anecdotes, written in such a jaded and "trying to be funny" tone that it was hard to appreciate them. Instead of describing events or feelings the author refers to movie titles in italics, and sets them out in very clear simile ("It was LIKE Raiders of the Lost Ark. It was LIKE Pineapple Express. It was LIKE Lord of the Flies.") After a while, it becomes jarring and repetitive. The stories are also interspersed with stream-of-consciousness rambling that adds nothing to the book. It isn't cute or quirky or ~random~, it's extremely distracting.

I would complain about this book being like a rip off of Donald Miller's endless literary catalog of daddy issues, except I really haven't felt so far that this book was even about the author's father. So far I've barely seen him - or, for that matter, seen Jesus or the CIA. I hear some things about the father, but he is one-dimensional and removed, not painfully removed as an absent father but just irrelevant and peripheral. The book centers more on a random assortment of the author's experiences, which may or may not be true, and uses other people as the backdrop for the author's mundane and cliche thoughts and experiences. The treatment of other characters is disheartening as well as the author seems to take on a really unflattering jaded tone at times.

I think my strong aversion to this book is born out of the fact that I really wanted to like it. I wanted it to be a memoir that charmed me, that drew me in and made my own life and experiences seem bigger as a result. Girl Meets God: A Memoir did this beautifully, and I was entranced by A Girl Named Zippy and She Got Up Off the Couch: And Other Heroic Acts from Mooreland, Indiana. This book has none of their charm or light, but neither does it have any of the dark interest of truly horrific childhood memoirs (A Stolen Life, anyone?) Very disappointing.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Tyler quite a treatment you tried to give there. at a glance, girl memoirs seem to be more your thing. just a thought.

BTW (i'll keep my rebuttal limited to this) Ian Cron is anything but "hipster." He's a classy gentlemanly bowtie wearing middle-aged man. and a right good theologian.

Sarah Well, it sounds like I did more than try, since something compelled you to respond. :)

My thought is this: my review was of the book (which was the subject of the "hipster" description), not the author, his theology, or his gender. None of these things, alone or together, are enough to make me like a book or vice versa. I did not like this book, though I wanted to. I was bored. By the book - not the author as a person, his theology, or his gender.

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