• Ms. Coffey

"The Unexpected Spy" by Tracy Walder

5 out of 5 stars

Published by St. Martin's Press on Feb. 25th 2020

272 pages

Genre: nonfiction/ autobiography

Format: ebook ARC via. NetGalley

Read in 6 sittings

Read in 3 weeks

Sat on TBR for 2 months

"An account of a young woman who went straight from her college sorority to the CIA, where she hunted terrorists and WMDs. When Tracy Walder enrolled at the University of Southern California, she never thought that one day she would offer her pink beanbag chair in the Delta Gamma house to a CIA recruiter, or that she'd fly to the Middle East under an alias identity. [This is the] story of Walder's tenure in the CIA and, later, the FBI" (Goodreads)


The Unexpected Spy is a gripping account of Tracy's time at the CIA and FBI. I found myself invested in her whole journey as she dealt with adversity, sexism, and much more. I couldn't believe the way her peers treated her, and I was especially upset by the way she was treated at the FBI. (+1) Most of the people that Tracy wrote about were frustrating and compelling. I found myself shaking my head through most of the book. I was dumbstruck at the way she was treated. (+1) The writing style for the book is simple. Tracy describes as much as she can in detail before it is redacted to protect national security. At first, I was confused, and I thought that I had a faulty copy of the book, but then I quickly realized that sensitive information was removed from the text. Overall, her writing is very smooth and descriptive. (+1) The organization of the book is straightforward, and I was never confused about what was happening. (+1) Tracy gives us great insight into the world she experienced for several years. I could picture myself overseas and during training. I often asked myself what I would do in her situation. (+1)

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I was captivated by her experiences and how she handled herself through each situation. If you are looking for a strong female autobiography, I highly suggest reading The Unexpected Spy.

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