Book review: Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me

Our parents are mysteries to us. No matter how close we think we are to them, we cannot know the content of their hearts.

We don’t know the disappointments, or the scars and regret that wake them in the night, or the moments for which they wish they could get a do-over.

I’m not persuaded we should know them better than that.
   – Ian Morgan Cron

A story beautifully told captures me every time. Even a story pocked with such sad spots.

Jesus-My-Father-the-CIA-and-MeIan Morgan Cron tells such a story.
It’s his own.
It’s Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me: A memoir…of sorts. 

He starts toward the end, then weaves you back and forth in time from his family’s early Camelot years until times that made me want to cry.

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who have dimmers and those who have on-off switches.


. . . My four years at Bowdoin confirmed that when it came to partying, or anything else, I was an on-off switch.

His father was a harsh alcoholic and the enigma of his presence affects Ian in multiple layers of his story. It never reads as a fairy tale at any point along the way, but there is a redemptive quality that makes you glad you read it by the time it’s over.

I was spiritually tone-deaf, but God still found ways to speak to me.

But be warned—it does leave a sad place in your heart, despite good things that happen later. It’s one thing to watch movies or read fictitious tales of heartache, but to know these things really happen, that’s another matter.

Yet it’s stories like these that also need to be told, not just the frilly happy ones, because in stories like these, we understand how powerful our God really is, to heal and rebuild and bring dead things back to life.

Dan uncrossed his legs. “I want to sit quietly for a moment to honor the story you’ve just told. It was sacred,” he said, taking a deep breath and closing his eyes.


. . . “What’s happening to me?” I said. I couldn’t leave without knowing.

. . . “You’re waking up.”

I want to honor this story, too.

* * *

My thanks to BookSneeze
for the review copy of this book

9 thoughts on “Book review: Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me

  1. Barbara H.

    I can remember hearing about this some time ago, but then I had forgotten about it. Your review makes me want to read it now. I love that quote at the top – there are so many things I would love to ask my parents now that it’s too late, that I didn’t think about when they were living.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I know how you feel; there are many things I’d like to ask my parents, too. I guess I’d feel that way no matter when they died, but the older I get, the more I realize I didn’t ask.

      The book is still listed for review at BookSneeze if you use them. I know because I just checked to get my next book: Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl . 🙂 I’m excited about reading that one even though it’s been out a couple years already.

  2. Ceil

    Hi Lisa! Thank you for your honest thoughts on this book. It is hard to read about tough things, but it can also serve to soften our hearts. You are right, its not just the ‘frilly, happy’ stories that need to be told.

    Happy Friday!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I think we probably learn more from the hard stories anyway, you think? I heard Rick Warren on the radio this week encouraging pastors to share from their struggles, not what comes easy. Hope you have a blessed weekend!

  3. floyd

    I’m in. I’ll get it. Sounds like a well written story of the true life realities of this world and while sad, shows the miraculous redemptive miracle from God.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      It is definitely well-written and able to suck you in. I’m keeping it out for Jeff to read because I think he’d like it too. Definitely not a book just for girls. 🙂

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  5. Angie in Guernsey

    I fell in love with ‘Chasing Francis’, his book about faith and Jesus and St Francis of Assisi. I re-read it several times and have lent it to friends (I really should have bought more than one copy, lol!), talking about it at every opportunity. But, much as I love Ian Morgan Cron’s writing, I have been too scared to read his autobiography. I’m still not sure I can summon up the courage to read it, with such sadness inbetween and on the lines, though I’m more likely to now I’ve read your review – thanks, Lisa.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      So glad to hear that about “Chasing Francis”. I just had the sample sent to my Kindle yesterday. Looking forward to reading it. I love the way he writes and that he has something to say.

      The autobiography is tough but well worth it. Once you get going, you’re compelled to keep at it. Let me know if you read it and what you think!

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