Thursday, July 14, 2011

GIVEAWAY: "Jesus, My Father, The CIA and Me" (Updated with winner!)

Giveaway now closed! 

Winner is 
Norse, Jesica, and Boden said...

Wow, how lame am I that I can't think of a memoir I've read. Maybe this book will be my first! Here's hoping.

Reviewing: Jesus, My Father, The CIA and Me: A Memoir ... of Sorts by Ian Morgan Cron.

Publishers Summary:
An entertaining, touching memoir of life with an alcoholic father who secretly works for the CIA, a dark pilgrimage through the valley of depression and addiction, and finding a faith to redeem, and a strength to forgive. At the age of sixteen, Ian Morgan Cron was told that his stockbroker father actually worked for the CIA. The story of this world-rocking discovery is the stepping-off point into a fascinating exploration of one mans alternately heartbreaking and humorous journey to faith and spiritual growth. Born into a family of privilege and power, Ians life is populated with colorful people and stories including the account of an alcoholic father who takes his family on a wild roller-coaster ride through wealth and poverty and back again. Includes tales of a nearly blind English nanny who teaches him what love means, a famous New York radio personality who saves his life, a simple carpenter who leads him to faith in Jesus, and his own personal journey from addiction to twenty-three years of sobriety. Believers and seekers alike will be moved by how Ian uncovers and honors what is sacred in his story, how he discovers God in the struggle to find redemption, and how the mysterious movement and presence of God is woven throughout the adventure of his life.

My Review:
Excellent, excellent book. I like to read memoirs quite a bit but this is one of my favourites so far. It's funny, sad and universal in its longings. The book is beautiful but last three or four chapters in particular tell such a gorgeous, God-breathed story of redemption that it takes it from being a good book to being a great book. I liked Ian and his voice is crisp and funny, self-deprecating and full of pathos without being sappy. He writes without a lot of sentimentality but with tremendous feeling - a hard line to walk. 

And the writing - the writing is fantastic. Even the most mundane things are infused with a different view: for instance, he describes feeling suffocated as "having a dry-cleaner bag over his mouth" and it just locks into your mind and you get it. He does that throughout the book. He's relatable and yet a fresh writer. And the story is beautiful and sad.

Highly recommend.

Read an excerpt here.

I have one copy to giveaway!

Open to Canadian and USA mailing addresses. Just leave a comment on this post telling me the last memoir you read (and liked). Thats it! If you want to Tweet it or Facebook the link for this giveaway out, that's great - just leave another comment telling me that you did so and you'll get another entry.

Contest closes July 20 at midnight. I'll draw a winner using

Good luck!


  1. I read Rachel Held Evans' "Evolving in Monkey Town." Liked it! I also read Steve Martin's "Born Standing Up." Liked it *bunches*

    I would like a chance to like "Jesus, My Father, The CIA and Me" Please.

  2. As much as I love to read, I've never read a memoir. :( I would love to though . .. hint. hint. :)

  3. annnnd I tweeted! ;) (@maryjohess)

  4. I just read - and loved- Anne Lamott's "Traveling Mercies." So beautiful and
    funny and moving!

    I'd love to read Cron's memoir next :)

  5. I'm not sure if it counts as a memoir, but I loved the biography of Queen Noor of Jordan. She did so much for women in her country and is still working!

  6. Is it sad that I'm drawing a blank? Consider me a lapsed English major. Reading this book would be a great way to redeem myself!

  7. Last one I read was The Sword of the Lord by Andrew Himes, which was excellent.

  8. I am reading "Lit" by Mary Karr. Difficult and painful read by a great writer.

  9. I've been wanting to read this book! The last memoir I read was Blood, Bones, and Butter by chef Gabrielle Hamilton. Very well written book about her unusual life.

  10. Mary Karr never disappointments. But I will never get over Sara Mile's first book, Take This Bread. Such a beautiful (and challenging!) look at communion and grace.

  11. Hmm, I don't know that I've ever read a memoir. I'd love to though!

  12. Wow, how lame am I that I can't think of a memoir I've read. Maybe this book will be my first! Here's hoping.

  13. I really enjoyed Evolving in Monkeytown. It actually opened a whole can of worms for me!

  14. The Glass Castle and Eat, Pray, Love are among my top 2 memoirs I've read this year!!!

  15. Last one for me was also Evolving in Monkeytown ... i've been a reader ever since ... and she is how I found your blog as well

  16. I just read "The Memory Palace" by Mira Bartok- excellent read! I also read "The Glass Castle" and loved that! I also enjoyed "The Two Kinds of Decay" by Sarah Manguso. It's been a summer of memoirs for me so far.