This book was disappointing. Touted as a memoir about her father, a man who had a secret life as a spy, it really became a book about her. The reader for this audio was poor. She over emoted and was not able to do voices well. Her impersonation of every male character was the same and not believable as a male voice. The dialogue was often trite and it felt as if the author was sometimes a spoiled child trying too hard to wax poetic and the reader was trying to hard to express herself.
Lucinda Franks is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist married to Robert Morgenthau, a man 30 years her senior. She is the daughter of Thomas Franks. Her mother was often a victim of irrational moods; she was probably bi-polar, but at that time, she was undiagnosed. Cindy’s life was not an easy one. Having a disturbed mother and a father who was frequently absent and who became abusive when drunk, contributed to the nightmarish quality of her formative years. She had to be the adult in the family and was largely responsible for their welfare, financially and emotionally.
When the book begins, she finds her father living in a state of chaos. His home is messy, old food is stored in the fridge, his clothes are unclean. Unwilling to accept his decline, his loss of memory, Cindy turns a blind eye to most of these issues until it is almost too late.
Franks was a man who abused alcohol, was probably an alcoholic, and he disrespected his marriage vows and his wife. He kept a mistress for most of Cindy’s life, and also had a secret life when he was a soldier during the Second World War.
When Cindy discovers he had another hidden aspect of his life, working for the government in clandestine ways, going on secret missions, she is obsessed and determined to find out all about it. Although her father insists he was sworn to secrecy, she presses him, consistently, and she eventually finds answers to some of her questions before he descends into a state of total dementia and forgets it all.
His memories of the things he has done and the brutality he has witnessed on the part of the Japanese and the Germans, has haunted him his whole life and changed the happy and loving man he once was, into a morose and serious adult who showed little affection to his family and seemed remote most of the time.
Thomas Franks was absent for long periods of time, during his marriage, working on secret government missions his family knew nothing about. Although he was distant and detached for much of Cindy’s life, as his life ended, she overcame all that she disliked about him, even accepted his long term mistress Pat, and she made peace with her father as she discovered the real mother and father she never knew, through their conversations and the old correspondence from his war years, that she discovered in his apartment.