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Crux: A Cross-Border Memoir

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  199 ratings  ·  77 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, 352 pages
Published July 17th 2018 by One World
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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 and
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: memoir, net-galley
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
Jul 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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 Gabriels 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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
Aug 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Crux: A Cross-Border Memoir attracted my attention because I live part of each year in Mexico and part in New Mexico, U.S.A. After five years of cross-border experiences, I have such mixed feelings because I love the U.S. with its fairly balanced mixture of freedom and order, but I also have enjoyed the kindness and diverse cultures of the Mexican people.

Crux, however, addresses cross-border experiences on a whole different level. The author Jean Guerrero is the daughter of a Puerto Rican mother
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
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, reviewed
It is very rare for me to say that a book is nothing like I've ever read before. There is a book that was released this past week that has me shaking my head with disbelief. It is an incredibly unique memoir entitled Crux.

Crux is a child's cry for understanding of her emotionally distant and eccentric father and the parallels of his life compared to her own. Jean Guerrero wants to understand where she came from so that she can not only understand her father, Marco Antonio, but also understand he
Thank you NetGalley and Random House for this advanced eGalley of "Crux: A Cross-Border Memoir" by Jean Guerrero.

Jean hopes to better understand her father, and perhaps herself, by tracing the origins of his genealogy: from parents, to grandparents, and even the turbulent (yet proud) history of the country he hesitates to call "home", but which he cannot deny is an important part of the man he's become.

Jean wants to connect to the man she calls "Papi" via those origins--the physical, metaphysica
Diane Payne
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
When I first started reading the memoir, I was captivated by the family drama of the author's physician mother from Puerto Rico and her more psychologically/spirtually/emotinally damaged father from Mexico. The author has a MFA in nonfiction, worked in journalism before writing her memoir, and I kept wondering if she ever heard any warnings about being too young to write a memoir. Regardless, I'm glad she did write her memoir. Twenty years from now, she may cover the same incidents, but differen ...more
Bri (
Jean Guerrero, the author of this memoir, is a journalist documenting her family history as means to try to understand her relationship with and the realities of her father. Guerrero weaves together the narratives of her family members, going back several generations, finding strands to connect their journeys to each other. While she details her maternal side at points, most of the story digs into her paternal side, perhaps because her father was a mystery to her, she knew his pathway was more " ...more
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, for-work
"Diverse Species of borders exist in the world. Some can be touched: Steel gates, the skin of our bodies, coastlines. Others can't be touched but can be drawn on maps: climate isotherms and ozone-layer breaks. Some are too abstract to delineate; between ethnicities, between languages, between dreams, between secrets and the said."

In Crux Jean Guerrero takes us on a journey to try to understand and explain her father, to try to find the root of his addictions and his erratic behavior and to under
Liz Wilson
May 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Hmmm, this is a tricky one... I was very aware whilst reading this that I, as all other readers, was absorbing it through the lens of my own life experience. As a result of being raised by a single mother, I found myself to be a less sympathetic observer to Jean’s story and quest to understand her father than others might be. The “crux” of the title has many references in the story - the numerous border crossings, the mystical symbolism, the interaction of competing ideas, etc.

One angle to the
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
Aug 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars rounded up.

Thank you to Random House for this Advanced Reader's Edition. It came in a set of three books, two were memoirs.

On the whole, I don't read a lot of memoirs, and this book is a fine example of why. It is written by a woman trying to make sense of her relationship with her father. While I was reading her life story, not yet to her teen years and she was already annoying me. Work it out with your therapist, don't subject me to it. I usually won't stop a book once I've started
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