Maura Conlon’s 1960’s childhood sounds pretty exciting. She and her Irish-Catholic family live close to Disneyland. Her father is a G-Man under Hoover who keeps mum about his top-secret job. Conlon-McIvor spills the details of her unique childhood in FBI Girl: How I Learned to Crack My Father’s Code.
The memoir begins with the author’s recollections of pick-up baseball with her father. She recalls retrieving the mitts out of the car trunk and taking a whiff of the blue smell of bullets she loves so much.
These games stopped shortly after the birth of Maura’s developmentally disabled brother. To cope with her father’s perpetual silence, Maura turns to her own imagination for comfort. She envisions life as a young Nancy Drew bound for bigger and better Bureaus. She keeps an FBI notebook to list clues that might crack the case of her father’s stoic, distant nature.
Conlon-McIvor relies on Catholicism for comfort when childhood gets tough. Her recollections are often funny, sometimes sad and definitely relatable. The author has retained her adolescent viewpoint, which makes this memoir all the more poignant. FBI Girl does finally crack the code and readers should be pleased to be in on the case.