Monday 17 February 2014

She's All Eyes

Finished February 14
She's All Eyes: Memoirs of an Irish-American Daughter by Maura Conlon-McIvor

This memoir covers only a few of years in Maura's life, from when her youngest brother Joey is born to her high school years. Joey changed the family dynamic considerably as he was born with Down's Syndrome. Maura's father Joe Conlon was a detective with the FBI, working in California. Both Maura's parents had a strong Irish heritage and Maura had a large Irish family back on the east coast. Maura had a couple of uncles who were priests. The title derives from the doctor's description of Maura when she was born, and the observation turned out to be apt. She is an observer, wanting to be like her father, watching her surroundings and making notes.
Her father turned more inward with Joey's arrival, participating less with other family members and pushing even his wife away. He spends time with Joey though and bonds strongly with him. The family defies some of the social pressure towards how they should be dealing with Joey and celebrates his differences, cherishing him and working to make life better for him and others with developmental issues. With another large loss in the family, the dynamic changes again, and Maura's mother works to assert herself more and bring Joe back into the family life more than he has been.
Throughout all this Maura observes and notices, and analyzes what she sees.
An interesting memoir of an interesting family.

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