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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, 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, here is the haunting story of a daughter's quest to understand her father, to save him from his own demons and to save herself from following his self-destructive path. Marco Antonio was born in Mexico but as a teenager migrated with his large family north to California, where he met Jean's mother, a young Puerto Rican woman just out of med school. Marco was a self-taught genius at fixing and creating things--including a mythology about himself as a shaman, a dreamcaster, and an animal whisperer, rather than the failed father, husband, and son he feared he was. Before long Marco goes on the run from his family and responsibilities--to Asia, to Europe, and eventually back to Mexico--with long crack and whiskey binges, suffering from what he claimed were CIA mind control experiments. As soon as she's old enough, Jean follows. Using her skills as a journalist, and her lifelong obsessions with the fuzzy lines between truth and fantasy, Jean searches for explanations for her father's behavior other than schizophrenia, the diagnosis her mother whispered to Jean when she was still a child. She takes his wildest claims seriously and investigates them. She interviews cousins and grandparents and discovers a chain of fabulists and mystics, going back to her great great grandmother, a clairvoyant curandera who was paid to summon forth voices and visions from the afterlife. She begins mirroring her father's self-destructive behavior in her own wild experiements with sex and drugs and her flirtations with death in jungles and the middle of the sea. She risks everything in her quest to understand and redeem her father from the underworld of his obsessions and delusions and self-destruction -- to bring him back to the world of the living. This is the story of a child's search for an elusive parent--through exploration, analysis, and embodiment--but also a penetrating journey into the idea of borders and crossings: between sanity and madness, cultures and languages, scientific worlds and mystical, spiritual impulses, life and death. Crux is both a riveting adventure story driven by desire and a profoundly original exploration of the mysteries of our world, our most intimate relationships, and ourselves.


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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, 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, here is the haunting story of a daughter's quest to understand her father, to save him from his own demons and to save herself from following his self-destructive path. Marco Antonio was born in Mexico but as a teenager migrated with his large family north to California, where he met Jean's mother, a young Puerto Rican woman just out of med school. Marco was a self-taught genius at fixing and creating things--including a mythology about himself as a shaman, a dreamcaster, and an animal whisperer, rather than the failed father, husband, and son he feared he was. Before long Marco goes on the run from his family and responsibilities--to Asia, to Europe, and eventually back to Mexico--with long crack and whiskey binges, suffering from what he claimed were CIA mind control experiments. As soon as she's old enough, Jean follows. Using her skills as a journalist, and her lifelong obsessions with the fuzzy lines between truth and fantasy, Jean searches for explanations for her father's behavior other than schizophrenia, the diagnosis her mother whispered to Jean when she was still a child. She takes his wildest claims seriously and investigates them. She interviews cousins and grandparents and discovers a chain of fabulists and mystics, going back to her great great grandmother, a clairvoyant curandera who was paid to summon forth voices and visions from the afterlife. She begins mirroring her father's self-destructive behavior in her own wild experiements with sex and drugs and her flirtations with death in jungles and the middle of the sea. She risks everything in her quest to understand and redeem her father from the underworld of his obsessions and delusions and self-destruction -- to bring him back to the world of the living. This is the story of a child's search for an elusive parent--through exploration, analysis, and embodiment--but also a penetrating journey into the idea of borders and crossings: between sanity and madness, cultures and languages, scientific worlds and mystical, spiritual impulses, life and death. Crux is both a riveting adventure story driven by desire and a profoundly original exploration of the mysteries of our world, our most intimate relationships, and ourselves.

30 review for Crux: A Cross-Border Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    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 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 can talk to animals, and it turns out, others in his lineage also had powers. However, Marco has difficulty with paranoia and thinks that the CIA wants to control his mind. He also uses drugs and alcohol to excess at times. Guerrero, the reporter that she is, researches reasons for Marco’s behavior, other than possible schizophrenia. More than anything, she wants to understand her father. Traveling through Mexico, she interviews family and that is when she discovers that others in her father’s family background were mystics. Guerrero ends up taking some risks herself while on this journey, traveling through dangerous places and experimenting with those same things that tempt her father. She puts everything she has on the line, including her life, in her quest for answers. Guerrero’s writing is exquisite, and while the format of the narrative jumps around in time somewhat, I did not mind because the story is so engaging. Her search for her father and the symbolism involved in the title alone gives me pause at all the various meanings. Not only did her father cross actual physical borders (and Guerrero did as well in her search), but he crosses that thin line between reality and disconnection from it. Overall, Crux is an adventure and an exploration of the relationship between father and daughter. It is powerful, fascinating, enlightening, and begs the question of, in the process of Guerrero desperately seeking to find and understand her father, will she also find herself. Thank you to Random House for the invitation to read this original memoir. Crux will be published on July 17, 2018. My reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com

  2. 4 out of 5

    PattyMacDotComma

    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.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Marialyce

    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 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 troubled man. He is a diagnosed schizophrenic, although Jean and Papi and some family doubt that diagnosis. They see Papi as being gifted, a man who communes with nature, a seer, a reader of destiny, a clairvoyant for sure the voices he hear and the things he does make him so. Marco Antonio is an enigma, a man Jean strives in this memoir to know, to explain, to march in sync with and yet Marco is a totally disconnected man. He goes through bouts of being addicted to alcohol to drugs of many kinds and casting himself adrift in a world that only he seems to understand fully. He is man haunted by intellect, by reality, by being different, distant and divergent from the norm. In many ways Jean, who becomes an investigative reporter, tries to be like Marco, for in being like him she might come to a better understanding, a better communion with her father, a way in which to be a daughter to a man who is always unsettled and dislocated. She travels in Mexico linking up with family people who know her father, if that is at all possible to know a man such as Marco. Can she, in finding a reason for her father's behavior, therefore find a reason for hers? This was a complex story as Ms Guerro tries to see her father from all aspects. Is he really the schizophrenic that some think him to be or is he a mystical creature, one who reads signs, a shaman, a healer, a sorcerer? It is a painful journey that the author takes and many times it was a difficult story to both read and tell. For Jean, her father is her constellation, he is the bright portion of her life. Thank you to Jean Guerro, Random House Publishing, and NetGalley for a copy of this tangled tale. John Nash once said "In madness, I thought I was the most important person in the world." I did find this self same idea in Marco as well.

  4. 5 out of 5

    da AL

    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.

  5. 5 out of 5

    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.

  6. 5 out of 5

    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 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 investigates the possibility that he is actually the victim of CIA mind-control experiments (declassified documents show that they’ve done experiments like this in the past, so it isn’t as crazy as it sounds), or that he has special spiritual powers (as a Mexican cousin believes). Whatever the cause, there’s certainly a family history of trauma that echoes back through several generations. And so it’s a fascinating, vivid story, but also a dark one; whatever you find upsetting or scary, it’s probably in here. And there’s an overriding lack of safety that makes it a disturbing book, an effect probably heightened by the author’s staccato writing style. But it’s terribly compelling, full of incident and full of life. And full of a wide range of literary references; the author understands her life and her father’s through the prism of all sorts of literature, from Moby Dick to the Sword of Truth to the Popul Vuh. But I think what really stands out is the author’s ability to articulate and bring home not only her own experiences, but her mother’s, father’s, and grandmother’s. There’s no distance here; the reader is transported right into the experiences of the author and her family. In any event, it’s an excellent book, and one I highly recommend.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth☮

    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 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 journalism. This is an engaging and interesting way to get at what is means to cross a border. This isn't just a physical border, but emotional and, in many ways, spiritual. I like the scope of the book and the many layers Guerrero peels back. There is lots to consider here.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lolly K Dandeneau

    via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/ '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 via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/ '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 love story, in a sense, between father and daughter. “I’m sorry, Papi. Perdóname. I know how much you hate to be pursued. You’ve spent your whole life running. Now the footsteps chasing you are mine.” Marcos owns his own reality of who he was, but who he became is at odds with it. Incredibly gifted with all things mechanical, he houses a brilliant mind that is haunted by his mental illness, if everything he claims isn’t true. As he traveled the world and neglected his family, is it really possible that the CIA was performing experiments on him, or was this just a spiral into madness, extreme paranoia? Jean is on a mission to find her father, to understand who he is and to understand his splintered mind. Of course, one must start at the beginning. Her father is much like a mythical being. When he explains about real mind-control experiments that occurred in the 1950’s, it’s harder for Jean to dismiss the possibility of what he is telling her. When her parents met, it was as if fate brought them together. Her beautiful mother was a Puerto Rican medical student, her father an magnetic man, his body fit from physical labor, a perfectionist in his welding. In his free time a voracious reader, nothing more important to him than stuffing everything he could fit into his hungry mind, Jeannette is like a gift from the universe, an equally curious mind, a twin soul! He lended his intelligence and strong English-speaking to his step father’s business, overseeing things, despite prior issues between them, past abuses. When he met the beautiful Jeannette, he knew she was the one. It wasn’t long before their love was cracking under the strain of his suspicious nature, there were signs early on of his illness. Yet, life went on as it does and warnings at the time were easy to dismiss as Jeannette had her career and a family to raise. Jean is born, “Fatherhood gushed purpose through his veins like a drug,“ but it wouldn’t be enough to tame her father. As her mother becomes a popular physician it seems Marco is healed by the birth of their child. Another child, her sister is born in 1989, they move into a home but then there is a betrayal by his half-sister, Amy involving the family business he worked so hard to make a success. Marco breaks, despite his wife’s attempts to interest him in other endeavours. Soon, he is no longer the doting father. Unable to find his own purpose, he begins to resent his wife’s success, to feel emasculated and begins to use prostitutes, then gets obsessed with creating a garden but like everything else, once he has exhausted his passions, he collapses into himself. His adoration turns to contempt for his daughter, family. Life darkens, and his angry eruptions lead her mother to kick him out by the time Jean is 6. So begins the disappearing of her father. With her medical knowledge, Jean’s mother knows it has to be ‘schizophrenia.’ Drug usage, escape through travel, her father is no longer the loving Papi who used to film his family’s every precious moment, in his own creative vision. His absence is a wound, a dark hole she will spend years trying to fill, even emulating her dad, wondering if she too is suffering his affliction. She becomes a journalist, and this is the skill she will use to excavate her father and his family history, one rich with mystics, such as her grandmother who may have been a healer, or a witch. Exploring the madness, myths and truths of her father and his past she wants to regain possession of the man he once was, to atone in a sense for the wrongs he committed, to salvage the cracks in his mind and discover if there is truth in his ravings. What caused the split in his thinking, what are the voices he hears, where are the really coming from? This has been the year of beautiful, raw memoirs and Crux is another gem. How do we measure ourselves and each other, how do we steady ourselves as life, the world rushes us? How does a child come to terms with the embarrassment, resentment, fear, love, hope and cope with the crushing weight of loving someone who is a phantom? How can Jean extract the traces of poisonous anger she feels towards her Papi? In order to understand Marco, she has to enter the realm of his reality, to honor him by turning away from the protestations of logic and give his vision a voice. I was deeply moved by the idea, because the minute someone is labeled with mental illness or a disability of any sort, people dismiss their humanity. Everything they think and say is suddenly suspect, or without merit. Why do we do that? Is it some sort of deflection, self-preservation? The thought process seems to be, “if I can see the sense in something that ‘crazy person’ says than I am not of sound mind”, there is cruelty in that, isn’t there? It robs people of their humanity. It’s easier to make them a non-person, isn’t it? Until that changes, we will never understand how to move forward, never be able to help people heal. The American way is to trust in logic and science, to scoff at all things mystical or spiritual. Her father’s culture marries religion and superstition, with its beautiful myths and history. How is a man between two worlds meant to anchor himself in life? How is his daughter Jean meant to make sense of her own existence, to plant herself, make roots that honor both cultures and to make peace with her father? This is a fascinating journey, a gut wrenching memoir that manages to reach for light, hope. It is one of the most unusual memoirs I’ve read in years. Yes, add it to your TBR list. Publication Date: July 17, 2018 Random House Publishing One World

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tonstant Weader

    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 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 reality and surreality, faith and reason, between ethnicity, language, and self. It is about that space between at the crossing, the crux. She says her father is not Mexican, not American, he is the hyphen. She describes her childhood which was an interesting mix of privilege and struggle. Her mother is a doctor and was able to provide financial security, but their father’s absence and presence were both disorienting in different ways. She and her sister felt their father’s neglect and seeming indifference deeply. Their mother’s anger mixed with love was another hazard. Both rebelled in dangerous ways. Jean studied neuroscience before journalism and began her career working for The Wall Street Journal in Mexico. She wanted to work in Mexico in part to connect with her Mexican roots and maybe understand her father. Jean Guerrero’s memoir is intriguing and beautiful written. There is a poetic urgency to her writing at times. I find myself enjoying a memoir that written by a lesser writer would make me roll my eyes. To be honest, I still rolled my eyes a little bit. She is very credulous of the supernatural, casting spells herself, believing in potions and spirits. She looks at how her father is perceived as insane in America and as a shaman in Mexico and wonders how much of mental illness is people with powers we don’t understand and perceive. Another crux deeply explored, between insanity and shamanism, the scientific and the mystic. Somehow she makes the mystical seem quite probable though when she writes, though she cites left-brain, right-brain theories long since debunked. Abd yet, that left-right crossing is another Crux. I received an e-galley of Crux from the publisher through NetGalley Crux at Penguin Random House Jean Guerrero author site ★★★★ https://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpre...

  10. 5 out of 5

    J.D. DeHart

    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.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Megan (Coffee by the Novel)

    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 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 brings attention to current issues in the world as well as explores the lines between life and death, sanity vs. insanity, and the journey to find oneself.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    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 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 brutal violence). However, the book jumps around a lot, and I became less interested in the story when it centered on the author's own explorations about herself. I was also frustrated by the ending - I wanted more closure with the family members she describes. I'd recommend this to readers who are intrigued by other cultures or who can relate to growing up with a mysterious parent.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Octavio Solis

    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 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 the shamanistic possibilities are deliciously present. And the ordeals she undergoes are too unreal not to be believed. She indulges in unsafe practices as she parties deep into night, she almost drowns, she's almost shot, she smashes the bones in her foot, she wonders if she's going insane, at times. None of it feels indulgent; all of it has the ring of truth. But its the lyrical execution of the narrative that sails us through 300+ pages. It's the meticulously wrought language around the central character of her story that carries the day. Her father is part Prometheus, part Frankenstein, part tortured genius, part madman, part shaman, part charlatan, part addict and hopeless alcoholic; and to understand him to understand the elusive essence of Mexico. One of the most intriguing characters I've ever come across. And the kicker is he's real. And still alive. I loved this journey.

  14. 4 out of 5

    AlvarinSanchezV

    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 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 Jean for saving his father creates all sorts of emotions in a reader, it makes you cry, makes you happy, gives you hope, frustrates you creates all types of emotions and feelings. This book could have been a novel but the way it was written, and Jean´s unique style makes it so honest and different from anything you have ever read. As a Mexican I found really interesting the search for the roots and understanding of her Mexican heritage.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Beau

    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.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ari

    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

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    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 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 socially constructed, Much of the memoir attempts to make sense of different relatives' histories of migration and immigration to the United States, "sanity" and "insanity" in order to explain the people they became in old age, so if you are looking for a straightforward recounting of the events of an author's life, this book might frustrate you. In some ways, the experimental form of the work seemed designed to articulate the author's main stance: boundaries between people, places, and states are porous and fluid and, therefore, attempting to tell her story without including the stories of her parents and grandparents would feel forced and inauthentic. Overall, I was extremely taken with this work. The narrative is certainly complex and not for the faint of heart, but it is also incredibly haunting and thought-provoking. I read quite a bit, but I feel sure that this is a memoir I won't soon forget!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Emily Barron

    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 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 throughout her life due to her circumstances. I really enjoyed reading how she and her father (and really, her whole family) worked through their trauma together and have begun the healing process. One of the portions of the book that deeply moved me, following a session of family therapy with her father: “I walked over tentatively, and kneeled. I grabbed his arm. Heat radiated from his quaking body. His shirt was soaked with tears. ‘It’s ok, Papi,’ I said, because I didn’t know what else to say. Because it was true. ‘It’s ok.’ When he looked at me, his irises seemed flecked with embers. Beyond the dying light was a man I’d never known.”

  19. 5 out of 5

    M.J.

    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 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 migration issues all into one. This is a hard book to explain, but it is essentially a coming-of-age story of a woman seeking to find truths about her mystical father and experiences in his life that led him to become who he was. She had a very difficult childhood, and the neglect and abuse inflicted on her and her family members is difficult to stomach. It's possibly the most raw, and honest memoir I've read and I admire the author for, in her pain, crafting such a beautiful narrative.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    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 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 or consent) for research, her family's complicated history, the cultures that influenced her father (Mexican and American), and the reactions of those around them. Perhaps most astonishing is that Guerrero focuses on raising questions without accepting any single answer; the truth can be messy and Guerrero allows for that. Her writing style is fluid and changes depending on whether she is writing about her own memories, a family member's, or sharing relevant research. The changes in style/voice can disrupt the continuity and flow of the book but Guerrero's writing is consistently compelling, compassionate, and searing. There are sections near the end of the book that I found a bit abstract and philosophical and less enjoyable than the concrete research and stories that precede it. Other sections could have been pared down, but overall I found this to be an engrossing and unique memoir.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    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 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 given this book is a reflection of my enjoyment only - not the actual contents or merits of this memoir. The author's voice here and her story didn't really resonate with me and I struggled to connect with it. We can only tell our own truth - which is what Jean did with this memoir. I don't think my thoughts beyond that are really relevant.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Paula

    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 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 truly diagnosed by a doctor in the US and is considered a Shaman in Mexico. This was an interesting story. I got the book from Netgalley to read and review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ashleigh

    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.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    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 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 have liked it even more if I had read it, given the complex nature of her writing style. Regardless, a well-drawn, unique memoir.

  25. 5 out of 5

    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

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lorraine Ruston

    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.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Hannah (Hannah’s Library)

    This was a beautifully written memoir and I truly admire Jean Guerrero's willingness to share her story. My full post on the book can be found here: http://hannahslibrary.com/2020/08/23/... This was a beautifully written memoir and I truly admire Jean Guerrero's willingness to share her story. My full post on the book can be found here: http://hannahslibrary.com/2020/08/23/...

  28. 4 out of 5

    Timmothy Doolittle

    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 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 development from childhood to adulthood that mirror that of her progeny and are evenly laden with mysticism, perspectives of neuroscience, and entertaining, and sometimes harrowing, personal anecdotes. This memoir is a timely addition to the dialogue surrounding border issues as U.S.-Mexico relations are strained by the Trump administration's continuing efforts to erect a wall on the border. Guerrero, an investigative reporter who covers border issues in San Diego, a major U.S. city sharing close ties to Mexico, seamlessly infuses her experiences into her narrative with a humble authority in a way that blurs the lines that demarcate geo-political borders and challenge the modern conception of what a border is: "Borders are the opposite of motion. They are stillness materialized. But it is in human nature to behold in borders the temptation of the beyond. Curiosity extends beyond the permissible, beyond the perceivable." As the characters in this nonfiction work's chronicles develop, any reader will invariably examine their own family history and any preconceptions they have about family relationships. Guerrero writes about her childhood and reminds us of the lucidity of a child's mind, constrained only by innocence and lack of experience. She endearingly lays bare her innermost insecurities and punctuates her familial anecdotes equally with moments of triumph and inequity, and exhilaration and despair as she grapples to understand her father and his mysterious past. Perhaps the most fulfilling aspect of this book is the way the interwoven themes build and climax. The prose is poetic and, at times, impressionistic and visceral- yet there is great clarity in the path Guerrero wishes the reader to follow. From recollections of early tactile memories to the ecstasy-induced self-realizations of adolescence to interviews fraught with danger of poppy-famers deep in the heart of Mexico, Crux is appropriately titled, as it ruminates on the difficulty of crossings of all kinds- childhood to adulthood, sanity to madness, sorrow to elation, and subjection to deliverance. Guerrero manages to thoroughly unravel the complexity of the issues she tackles, which take her to the edges of the surreal and bizarre, and tie all the loose ends together with all the objective gumption one would expect from an investigative reporter. Crux is an illuminating summer must-read. Do yourself a favor and order it today.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Theo Emery

    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 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 emerging writer who is making an indelible mark in many realms -- journalism, narrative nonfiction, social commentary and culture. The book largely focuses on Guerrero's tortured relationship with her father -- a mystical figure plagued by deep paranoia who was capable of extraordinary kindness and generosity, but also terribly cruelty toward his young daughters. "I'm sorry, Papi," Guerrero writers. "I know how much you hate to be pursued. The past has swallowed me. All roads before me lead straight back to you." But it is much more than a story about a troubled father-daughter relationship. Crux is a multi-generational chronicle of a Mexican American family planted on both sides of the border. She glides with ease between her contemporary experiences as a journalist, the origin story of how her parents met at a gas station and courted, and the lush and sometimes violent stories of her forebears and their distant roots stretching back to rural Mexico. A reporter for KPBS in Los Angeles, Guerrero uses her substantial skills to doggedly chase down every lead about her family history. She even goes so far as to make inquires and file records requests with the federal government to determine if, perhaps, her father's paranoid delusions about mind control could be explained by some long-ago mind-control control experiment that used her father as a guinea pig. By turns lyrical and literal, this is no plodding procedural of dull reportage. Guerrero's graceful writing soars with notes that have echoes of Octavio Paz or Gabriel Gabriella Marquez, such as when she describes the backyard garden that her father builds and stocks with iguanas and cockatiels, and a trip she takes with her mother to buy lady bugs and praying mantis eggs for the garden. "Somehow, the bucket of ladybugs came open in the car. A mariquita tickled my shoulder. I saw one on my sister's cheek. They were everywhere: crawling, flying, floating. The car filled with them, like winged droplet of blood... We forgot the praying-mantis eggs inside the house. They hatched, crawling up and down our walls for many days. We found the critters in our cupboards, in our clothes, in our comforters: countless guardians in Christian pose." As a former classmate of Guerrero's, I waited with great anticipation for the publication of her work. I was not disappointed, and nor will you be.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    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 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 she was terrified to be alone with. As the story builds and you realise that Jean is now slipping into similar patterns of mania and fear as Mario and that the more she puts his life together, the more hers breaks apart. I was totally enthralled, by both the tale and the writer. There are many questions that came from this and I was fascinated by the idea that maybe Mario Antonio is not crazy but is actually one of the individuals the government experimented on and did that even happen? You cannot help but be moved by this incredible biography, even more so as I had to keep reminding myself that it was not a story, it was Jean's life. A beautiful and exquisite read, one which I know I will keep revisiting.

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