What People Are Saying
Reviews for She's All Eyes
“A refreshing antidote to memoirs about childhood trauma . . . A coming of age story that’s at once universal and deeply individual.”
“A delightful and compelling read.”
“An endearing, truthful, and joyful account of coming of age in the 1960s and 1970s.”
“She conveys her time and setting with precision and detail; her feel for story, structure, and understatement rightfully earns the poignancy of many moments.”
“Conlon-McIvor has a gift of making the commonplace uncommon, the ordinary extraordinary.”
--Statesmen Journal (OR)
"Conlon-McIvor takes a subject 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."
--Alexandra Fuller, author of New York Times bestseller Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight
“Beguiling . . . Few memoirs in recent memory offer such wit, poignancy, and pleasure.”
--Karen Karbo, author of The Stuff of Life
"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 of cult classic Riding in Cars with Boys, and Looking for Mary
"An unusual achievement. Joe, Joey, and young Maura Conlon evolve, page by page, heartbeat by heartbeat in this most notable work."
--Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.
"Enthralling . . . a book to treasure . . . The best memoirs teach us about ourselves. Maura Conlon-McIvor does that with a great deal of poignancy, a dose of humor, and moments of real heartbreak.”
--Tom Hallman, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of Sam: The Boy Behind the Mask
"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
"Offers us a bygone Los Angeles, Catholic School, the FBI -- all woven into a funny, moving, beautifully rendered account of a girl coming to know her father."
--Mike Rose, author of Lives on the Boundary and The Mind at Work
"A pitch-perfect rendering of the mysteries of parents played to the audience of their young children. Conlon-McIvor achieves something special."
--Frances Kuffel, author of Passing for Thin
Conlon-McIvor writes lovingly of her childhood in Southern California as the second of five children of Hoover-era FBI agent Joe Conlon and his homemaker wife, Mary. The author's father clearly held center stage in her childhood, while her youngest brother, a Down syndrome child, was the heart of the family. Conlon-McIvor spent years keeping her own FBI log, trying desperately to glean information -- any information -- from her silent father. As she got older, she came to see that his quiet nature was not just the requisite FBI-agent reticence but part of his true personality. This realization, coupled with support from her mother, helped her overcome her own painful shyness. Sadly, the author relates that a loved one of the Conlon family was murdered, but she does not make the heartbreaking details the focus of her book. 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.
--Karen Sandlin Silverman, Center for Applied Research
Growing up Catholic in the 1960s, Conlon-McIvor’s favorite religious figure was the Blessed Virgin Mary, and her favorite book character was Nancy Drew. Mysteries fascinated her, and no wonder; her father was an FBI agent, whose car trunk was filled with bullets. Her dream was to follow his path and crack “the code” that made his every glance and word so deliciously baffling. It took many years before Conlon-McIvor understood that her father’s taciturn, moody behavior had little to do with his job; it grew from deep sadness and an inability to express emotion. In this touchingly honest memoir, always true to a child’s point of view, the author remakes herself as the naive child and awkward teen she was, growing up in a family mostly held together by commitment to her youngest brother, born with Down syndrome. Memories of her long-suffering mother, her beloved uncle Father Jack, and, most of all, her father, whose “code” she finally cracks, blend beautifully in this occasionally funny, affecting account of family ties and personal growth.