Official release date: June 7, 2011
Thanks to NetGalley, I was able to read this funny, touching sort-of memoir by recovering alcoholic pastor Ian Cron. I laughed out loud several times while I was reading, even though some of the subject matter in the memoir is quite serious and sad. Abuse, anger and an alcoholic father give the young Ian several reasons to lose trust in God and in his own ability to cope with the world.
I’ll give you a taste of the style and wit of the author so that you can see if it would suit your sense of humor and literary bent:
“I practiced in our basement with the bell of my horn stuffed into a pillow so the sound wouldn’t disturb my father. This practice regimen had the same effect marathoners experience when they train at high altitudes and then run a race at sea level. Once that pillow came off, I was like Miles Davis after six cans of Red Bull.”
“I discovered that if I titrated my overdeveloped vocabulary with just the right amount of sarcasm, my peers thought it was funny, not to mention impressive. Teachers call this kind of student a precocious pain in the butt. In Washington I’m told they call them press secretaries.”
“Most seventh graders don’t set out to make trouble. They are like puppies with impulse-control disorders. Opportunities for mischief arise, and they can’t stop themselves. This is why they should be crate-trained.”
“Tyler and I planned to put the convertible top down and drive around the beach in search of girls to impress. I’m told male peacocks do the same thing, but with tail feathers.”
If not one of those excerpts gives you a little giggle, you probably won’t enjoy the book because there’s a lot more of the same as Ian Cron retells the story of his childhood and his alcoholic CIA agent father and his mother who was, according to Ian, some amalgam of “Lucille Ball, Grace Kelly, and Margaret Thatcher.”
The religious part of the story starts out with a traditional Catholic upbringing, veers into agnosticism and anger with God, slowly slides into evangelicalism (Young Life) combined with Episcopalian charismatic revivalism, and then settles into a faith that is grounded in personal experience and study of Scripture and tradition, with a bit of emergent mysticism and love of Christian liturgy thrown in. Now that’s a journey, but Mr. Cron doesn’t make it sound nearly so confusing as I have managed to do, and he’s a lot more humorous. I’m not sure we’re in the same place, theologically speaking, but I think the man definitely has a God-touched story to tell. And I can “honor the story.”
Definitely read this one if you’re interested in an honest, open, spiritual memoir about a man with a dysfunctional family who struggles with forgiveness and with idolatry and with becoming the father that God wants him to be. The story in the penultimate chapter of the book (18) about Mr. Cron and his son and their adventure in diving and courage is worth reading, even if you don’t read anything else.
Thank you, Mr. Cron, for making me think and making me laugh. I need both.