FBI Girl Reviews

FBI GirlFBI Girl

How I Learned to Crack My Father’s Code . . . With Love

What People are Saying:

“A refreshing antidote to memoirs about childhood trauma . . . A coming of age story that’s at once universal and deeply individual.”
—People Magazine

“A delightful and compelling read.”


The author conveys her time (the 1960s) and setting (Los Angeles) with precision and detail; her feel 
for story, structure and understatement rightfully earns the poignancy of many moments.
—Publisher’s Weekly

“Evocative and poignant.”
—The Oregonian

Readers will enjoy this journey through Conlon-McIvor’s Irish American, Catholic-school childhood. An endearing, truthful, and joyful account of coming of age in the 1960s and 1970s; highly recommended.
—Library Journal

FBI Girl is a gorgeous, sumptuous book. Conlon-McIvor takes a subject (herself and her family) that might have sunk in other hands, beats egg white under her words and the whole thing rises like a dream. It’s a love story for her people and for a time and place. Read it.”

—Alexandra Fuller, author, Leaving Before the Rains Come and Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight

FBI Girl, written with “a touch of the poet,” surprises and delights on every page. It vividly recreates recent American history as experienced through the eyes of a precious and gifted girl growing up in a family challenged by a father’s difficult work and personality, a child’s disability, a murder, puberty, religion and government service. This book is memoir, fitting into the sub-genre of children surviving traumatic childhoods. But it can stand along the finest coming of age novels; the narrator and her awakening remind me of the wonderful characters of Scout in To Kill A Mockingbird and Franny in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I really like this kid and her beautiful book.
—Edward Tick, PhD, author: War and the Soul, Warrior’s Return
Director, Soldier’s Heart, Inc.

“Beguiling…Few memoirs in recent memory offer such wit, poignancy, and pleasure.”
—Karen Karbo, author, Julia Child Rules: Lessons on Savoring Life and The Stuff of Life

“Gets the details just right to sweetly evoke an earlier era. Maura Conlon-McIvor lovingly shows how a child with a disability can reveal a family’s unspoken capacity for love.”
—Joseph P. Shapiro, author, No Pity: People with Disabilities Forging a New Civil Rights Movement

“An unusual achievement. Joe, Joey, and young Maura Conlon evolve, page by page, heartbeat by heartbeat, in this most notable work.”
—Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.

“Touching and funny, inspiring and tragic, enlightening and sad. I closed the book with tears in my eyes and admiration in my heart for the girl Maura Conlon was and the writer she became.”
—Beverly Donofrio, author, Astonished: A Story of Healing and Finding Grace and Riding in Cars with Boys

“Enthralling…a book to treasure…speaks to the universal themes of love and dignity and the healing power that comes from the heart. The best memoirs teach us about ourselves. Maura Conlon-McIvor does that with poignancy, humor and real heartbreak.” 

—Tom Hallman, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of The Stranger’s Gift: True Stories of Faith in Unexpected Places

“Oh, I love this book…a funny, moving, beautifully rendered account of a girl coming to know her father.”
—Mike Rose, Author, Lives on the Boundary and The Mind at Work

About the Book | Chapter One | Reader’s Guide | Q&A