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When We Were The Kennedys

A Memoir from Mexico, Maine

Monica Wood

Paperback

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MP3 CD (6/28/2016)

August 2012 Indie Next List

“Wood's memoir is a compelling tale of loss on many levels. She recounts the tragedy of the unexpected death of her father and also the loss of a way of life with the slow dying of the town's mill that has sustained its citizens for generations. Her mother's fascination with the stoicism of the Kennedys after the death of the President foreshadows the family's ability to deal with the abrupt loss of their husband and father. This book is a moving tale - sad, yet funny, as Monica shares her story of growing up in a small town with all of the various folks who helped shape her life.”
— Barbara Kelly, Portland Bookstore, University of Southern Maine, Portland, ME
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Description

Winner of the 2012 Sarton Memoir Award

“Every few years, a memoir comes along that revitalizes the form…With generous, precise, and unsentimental prose, Monica Wood brilliantly achieves this . . . When We Were the Kennedys is a deeply moving gem!”—Andre Dubus III, author of House of Sand and Fog and Townie

Mexico, Maine, 1963: The Wood family is much like its close, Catholic, immigrant neighbors, all dependent on the fathers’ wages from the Oxford Paper Company. But when Dad suddenly dies on his way to work, Mum and the four deeply connected Wood girls are set adrift. When We Were the Kennedys is the story of how a family, a town, and then a nation mourns and finds the strength to move on.

“On her own terms, wry and empathetic, Wood locates the melodies in the aftershock of sudden loss.”—Boston Globe

“[A] marvel of storytelling, layered and rich. It is, by turns, a chronicle of the renowned paper mill that was both pride and poison to several generations of a town; a tribute to the ethnic stew of immigrant families that grew and prospered there; and an account of one family’s grief, love, and resilience.”—Maine Sunday Telegram


Praise For When We Were The Kennedys: A Memoir from Mexico, Maine

"When We Were the Kennedys is a sharp, stunning portrait of a family’s grief and healing, and it also offers a refreshing lens through which to view the JFK tragedy, as his family’s loss helps the Woods feel less adrift in their own sea of anguish...Wood writes beautifully." —Washingtonian
"Wood movingly renders her childhood in Mexico, Maine, and her large Catholic family's fight to survive after her father's sudden death. It's a pleasure to linger with her elegant prose, keen eye, and grace of thought."—Reader's Digest “The book is a shining example of everything a memoir should be.” —U.S. Catholic "This is a beautifully composed snapshot of how a family, a town—and, later, a country—grieves and goes on...The bonds between family members, neighbors, and coworkers, as well as men and their professions, are all explored here with sensitivity and a sweetness that isn’t saccharine." —Library Journal
 
"Braiding her own story of mourning together with the heartbreak all around her, Wood has written a tender memoir of a very different time." —O, the Oprah Magazine "Every few years, a memoir comes along that revitalizes the form, that takes us by the hand and leads us into the dream world of our collective past from which we emerge more wholly ourselves. With generous, precise, and unsentimental prose, Monica Wood brilliantly achieves this, bringing back to life the rural paper mill town of not only her youth but America's, too, its bumbling, hard-working, often violent, yet mostly good-hearted lurch forward into the 21st century. When We Were the Kennedys is a deeply moving gem!"—Andre Dubus III, author of House of Sand and Fog and Townie "This is an extraordinarily moving book, so carefully and artfully realized, about loss and life and love.  Monica Wood displays all her superb novelistic skills in this breathtaking, evocative new memoir.  Wow."—Ken Burns, filmmaker "Monica Wood has written a gorgeous, gripping memoir. I don't know that I've ever pulled so hard for a family. When We Were the Kennedys captures a shimmering mill-town world on the edge of oblivion, in a voice that brims with hope, feeling, and wonder. The book humbles and soars."—Mike Paterniti, author of Driving Mr. Albert “Monica Wood is a stunning writer and When We Were the Kennedys a luminous and resonant achievement. If I were standing beside you, I would press this book into your hands.”—Lily King, author of The Pleasing Hour and Father of the Rain Wood’s book...goes much beyond the story of her family’s grief. The book is a meditation on time... It’s also a record of a vanished way of life... it avoids sentimentalizing small-town life... By bringing such a town to life, with all its complexities and imperfections, it’s to Monica Wood’s great credit that she goes a long way to answering these questions. The New Yorker online
"In her intimate but expansive memoir, Monica Wood explores not only her family's grief but also the national end of innocence. Braiding her own story of mourning together with the heartbreak all around her, Wood has written a tender memoir of a very different time." --Oprah Magazine "On her own terms, wry and empathetic, Wood locates the melodies in the aftershock of sudden loss...That a memory piece as pacific and unassuming as When We Were the Kennedys should be allowed a seat in the hothouse society of tell-alls is a tribute to the welcoming sensibility of its author and the knowing faith of her publisher. " Boston Globe "It's a pleasure to linger with her elegant prose, keen eye, and grace of thought." --Reader's Digest "Best of America" issue "Wood's gorg —

Mariner Books, 9780544002326, 256pp.

Publication Date: June 11, 2013



About the Author

MONICA WOOD is the author of When We Were the Kennedys: A Memoir from Mexico, Maine and of the novel Any Bitter Thing, a national bestseller and Book Sense Top Ten pick. Her other fiction includes Ernie's Ark and My Only Story, a finalist for the Kate Chopin Award. Her writing has appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine, New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Parade, and many other publications. Wood lives in Portland, Maine.