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Crux: A Cross-Border Memoir

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  394 ratings  ·  104 reviews
A daughter's quest to find, understand, and save her charismatic, troubled, and elusive father, a self-mythologizing Mexican immigrant who travels across continents--and across the borders between imagination and reality; and spirituality and insanity--fleeing real and invented persecutors.

In the tradition of parent-child memoirs, Enrique's Journey meets The Glass Castle,
Hardcover, 324 pages
Published July 17th 2018 by One World (first published 2018)
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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 ·  394 ratings  ·  104 reviews

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Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
4.5 harrowing stars to Crux: A Cross-Border Memoir! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️.5

In Crux, Jean Guerrero, an investigative reporter, writes about her search for her father, Marco Antonio, a search in the figurative and literal senses, as she seeks understanding while also trying to pinpoint why he is on the run and where he is.

Marco is gifted at creating and engineering, all self-taught, and he meets Guerrero’s mother, when she is just out of medical school. Marco says he has special powers, that he is a shaman
May 04, 2018 marked it as dnf-abandoned
I didn't finish this. Her memories jumped from pre-school to teens as did her stories about her parents and grandparents, and although I read about a third and "enjoyed" her descriptions, I couldn't get interested in her family enough to finish. Too confusing for me. Other readers may really enjoy her border story, which is kind of what it is.
Jul 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley, memoir
4 muddled and ruffled stars
My reviews can be found here: https://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpres...

"Crux is a constellation located in the southern sky in a bright portion of the Milky Way. . Its name is Latin for cross, and it is dominated by a cross-shaped or kite-like asterism that is commonly known as the Southern Cross."

Jean Guerro has always wanted her father's love, his praise, his admiration of her. She searches for a way, any way to make him connect with her but her father, Papi is a trou
da AL
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author's memories and research about her elusive father take on growing up, culture, mental health, and spirituality. The beautifully worded honesty is raw as she recounts the always heartbreaking ups and downs of loving a father who can barely get his own life in order. The author does a good job of performing the audiobook.
Karen R
This memoir told by the journalist daughter of a paranoid man addicted to narcotics, sliding into insanity is well-told. It is intense and I could feel Jean’s emotion as she works through details of her family relationships and how she comes to terms with the hand she was dealt. Can’t imagine what that must have been like - I find myself days later thinking about her story. Thanks to One World Books for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
This is a great memoir and family saga, and an intense one. At the center of it is the author’s relationship with her troubled father, but in writing that story she weaves together many strands of personal and family history, going back to her great-great-grandmother in Mexico. A journalist by training, the author investigates many possibilities for her father’s afflictions; he has a drug problem for many years and suffers from bouts of what is probably drug-induced psychosis, but she also inves ...more
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a book that is full of so much information. I want to say it's a book about borders, but it's much more nuanced than just acclimating to another culture.

Guerrero talks not only about her childhood, but she goes back a couple of generations to better understand the choices made by her parents, particularly her father. Guerrero has a strained relationship with her father that is a recovering drug addict and alcoholic. This has shaped many of the decisions she's made for her career in jour
Lolly K Dandeneau
via my blog:
'Brains are mystical. They perform alchemy in a place no one can measure. Yet the stories they yield exert as obvious an effect as gravity. '

Jean Guerrero’s father was elusive, misunderstood by himself as much as the rest of the people who orbited his life. Born in Mexico, later migrating to California, it is a cross border memoir of not just his physical existence, but of his mind as reality crosses myth. This is a crushingly raw, beautiful lov
Tonstant Weader
Aug 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Mental illness is a difficult disease with side effects that extend to family and loved ones. Jeanette Guerrero’s father was diagnosed with schizophrenia and his presence in and out of her life was enriching and traumatizing. To understand him and herself, to capture their history and where they come together, Jean Guerrero began a memoir of her family and the borders they cross every day. She called it Crux because it is about crossing borders, not just between the US and Mexico, but between re ...more
J.D. DeHart
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Crux is a haunting book by an author who knows how to use words lyrically. The book has a sense of atmosphere and paints the figures it features with clear lines. This is a text that swirls with cultural questions and stirs much conversation.

I will also note here the power of this book as an example of memoir/nonfiction. The truth of the story is part of its efficacy. Crux will be released in the United States on July 17, 2018.
Megan (Coffee by the Novel)
Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Crux by Jean Guerrero is a raw and haunting story of a daughter’s search to understand her father and his crossing between reality and imagination, while also searching herself along the way. This memoir is a complex investigation into Guerrero’s own family and explores the cultural differences between the United States and Mexico.

I was engrossed by this well-written story, and parts of her experiences resonated with me on a personal level as I reflected on my own cultural background. Crux brin
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Complicated parents are one of my fave memoir genres, and Guerrero certainly has plenty of interesting stories about her father - a Mexican American immigrant who might have been experimented on by the CIA or is potentially a schizophrenic addict. This memoir is at its best when Guerrero examines the roots of her family (tracing all the way back to her healer great-great-grandmother) which allows the reader to be swept away by the mysticism and magic of Mexican culture (alongside the often bruta ...more
Octavio Solis
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Marvelous book. A memoir to savor.

But it's more than a memoir. Jean Guerrero has crafted a strange and mystical story about a search for her father, across terrains external and internal, and in doing so has taken us into a personal journey of self-discovery. There are gothic shades to her story, mysteries to unravel, mystic rites to perform as she tries to get to the bottom of what troubles her "Papi" and haunts her. She takes us through several generations of her family into Mexico where all t
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In college my art history teacher once said to understand history, you must first learn about your own history. Crux is an incredible journalist work to understand the daemons and troubles DNA can be carried through generations. This is a real story that in a way reminds me a lot of Gabriel´s Garcia Marquez 100 years of solitude (In real life), how deciding to take the right road when the obvious thing is to take the left road, takes consequences in all your future life. The struggle or quest of ...more
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Engrossing, stunning and beautifully written. Guerrero's memoir interrogates a lifelong search for truth in unsparing but non-judgmental depth. I read a pre-publication copy and look forward to the retail edition.
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2018
This book felt a little too all over the place for me. It was interesting to read about the author’s history and ancestors and at times I couldn’t put this book down. But other times it got a little heavy with the philosophical and maybe a bit trippy and I got a bit bored. 2.5 stars
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thank you to Penguin Random House for this ARC in exchange for my review. Jean Guerrero's Crux: A Cross-Border Memoir is an outstanding meditation on borders: the shifting boundaries between Mexico and the United States, magic and madness, and childhood and adulthood. I loved the lyricism of Guerrero's writing and the honesty of her musings on her relationship with her wildly-dysfunctional family. A key argument of the text is that the state of "insanity," like the border between countries, is s ...more
Emily Barron
Jan 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was such an intense, heavy story. Centered around the author’s relationship with her father, she dives deep into her family’s history to discover how and why her father became the man that he was. Incredibly raw and real, powerfully emotional, and at times- unbelievable! I found myself amazed at some of the things that happened to the author, almost like watching some crazy movie instead of reading someone’s real life experience. I can’t imagine the residual trauma she has continually borne ...more
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was in Texas during all of the border wall tension in the news, and was looking for a book that might help me learn more about migration between the U.S. and Mexico. The shopkeeper recommended this memoir, although I had originally been looking for something more informational. Well I'm glad she did, otherwise I probably never would have found it on my own.

In short, this memoir is phenomenal. It blends memoir, family history, the supernatural, conspiracy theories, near-death experiences, and
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, giveaways
I won a copy in a Goodreads giveaway, this did not influence my review.

I've read many memoirs by adult children of parents with mental illness. Like many of the best, Guerrero's is honest, insightful and, at times, harrowing; what makes Guerrero's memoir unique is her ability to look at mental illness with fresh eyes. Rather than dismissing her father as paranoid, she utilized her journalistic skills to research myriad factors - the U.S. government's history of using civilians (without knowledge
Aug 26, 2018 rated it liked it
It's taken me a hot minute to complete this book. There were times when I thought I would fly through it, and then I lost steam - whether that was the fault of the memoir or myself, I can't say for sure. As I read this book, I had many thoughts - thinks I liked, didn't like, and various critiques. Critiques of the author's character - of her thoughts and/ or actions, of her relationships (mostly with her father), etc. In the end, I've decided not to voice any of those things. The rating I've giv ...more
Apr 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Jean is on a journey to find and understand her father. She writes very eloquently and her family history was an interesting subject. At times, the story really tugs at your heartstrings and other times it got a little too philosophical for me.

The story of her family coming between Mexico and the US was pretty interesting, how it was a bit confusing for she and her sister, sometimes fitting in and sometimes not while going to school. Jean's father is believed to be schizophrenic but is never tr
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
I finished the book because I’m incapable of not finishing one and ended it with the feeling that the book was cathartic for her to write in lieu of therapy but that an editor should have gently said “now that you’ve written this, put it in a balloon and release it rather than launch this on the world.” To say that it rambled and lacked a cohesive writing style, message, timeline, etc would be to understate the case.
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Powerful, complex, painful memoir about a young woman's relationship with her father, his past, his mental and physical illnesses, his country. Memories weave in and out. Poetic language, artistic narrative structure. Heavy threads of spiritualism. Echoes and ripples of past, present, future, as the author tries to figure out who she is in this world, who she is in relation to her father, who her father is and how he came to be. I listened to this on audio and enjoyed it, but wonder if I would h ...more
Sarah -  All The Book Blog Names Are Taken
I'm not sure how to rate this. Some parts dragged foreverrrr. The last part, like last 6% or so, was super interesting and honestly, I find the family history as a whole more intriguing than her pursuit of her father.

Full review to come
Lorraine Ruston
Nov 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
I saw this author interviewed by Jeffrey Brown on the PBS News Hour. I was impressed. I liked her book a lot. Lots of information about the border with Mexico and Mexican history.
Timmothy Doolittle
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I couldn't put Crux down.

Guerrero takes the reader on an intimate and deeply personal journey as she masterfully tells the story of uncovering her family's history in an effort to understand her father, a brilliant but intense and troubled man embattled by bouts of depression, crack addiction, and paranoia of CIA mind-control. In the process of retracing the steps of her father and their shared ancestry, she offers introspective and enlightening meditations on the parallels of her own developme
Theo Emery
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jean Guerrero's memoir Crux straddles many lines -- the southern border between the United States and Mexico, memoir and reportage, sanity and mental illness, the political and the deeply personal, and a dazzling realism that is by turns worldly and magical. Crux tells Guerrero's story of growing up in southern California, the daughter of a doggedly determined physician and Guerrero's mentally ill father, the scion of a successful businesswoman. It is a powerful narrative from a talented emergi ...more
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jean Guerrero has written the biography of her father's life.Crux details the journey Mario Antonio takes as he tries to overcome addiction and severe mental health issues. As you read this novel you are drawn so deeply into the story that at times I had to re-read sections to be sure I didn't miss any minute detail or emotion. As Jean begins to take apart her father's life to try and understand why he rejected his family and why this wonderful father of her early years, became the one person sh ...more
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you are expecting the type of memoir that is a simple recollection of life events, you’re in for a surprise with this one. This story is intense, dramatic, and at times reads like a thriller. Ms. Guerrero’s telling of her search for understanding of her past is un-put-downable. This book is really two stories in one, as the author tells us about her own life as well as her father’s. The intensity of their relationship and experiences is almost overwhelming at times. In addition to the life st ...more
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