When We Were the Kennedys by Monica Wood
A Memoir from Mexico, Maine

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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

About Monica Wood

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Monica Wood is the author of four works of fiction, most recently Any Bitter Thing, which spent 21 weeks on the American Booksellers Association extended bestseller list and was named a Book Sense Top Ten pick. Her other fiction includes Ernie's Ark and My Only Story, a finalist for the Kate Chopin Award.
Published July 10, 2012 by Mariner Books. 261 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Religion & Spirituality. Non-fiction

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A tender, plaintive memoir about the impact of a beloved father's demise on a blue-collar Irish Catholic family.

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Publishers Weekly

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Thanks to life insurance and social security checks, the younger girls are able to stay at their Catholic school and their mother never has to get a job “scrubbing floors,” though she starts keeping “secret sleeping hours.” The girls’ priest uncle, Father Bob, stretches himself to becom...

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The Boston Globe

The dedicatee of Wood’s last novel “Any Bitter Thing” and inspiration for its put-upon protagonist Father Mike, Monica’s loving, lachrymose uncle crumbles when the family requires a rock, becoming so unmoored after his brother-in-law’s death, he lands in a Baltimore hospital making sock monkeys...

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Jul 15 2012 | Read Full Review of When We Were the Kennedys: A ...


When her uncle, a priest, presides over Albert’s funeral, he follows the casket “with the poise of a sailing ship, his billowing vestments filled with the breath of God.” At her father’s wake, family members tell stories of Albert as a young man: “Instead of being snuffed out like a spent cigaret...

Jul 10 2012 | Read Full Review of When We Were the Kennedys: A ...

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