WHEN WE WERE THE KENNEDYS is a brilliant, award-winning memoir about the death of a father and the healing of a family, by Monica Wood, the acclaimed author of THE ONE-IN-A-MILLION BOY. Perfect for those who loved Cathy Rentzenbrink's THE LAST ACT OF LOVE or Helen Macdonald's H IS FOR HAWK.
'It's a pleasure to linger with her elegant prose, keen eye and grace of thought' Reader's Digest
'Intimate but expansive ... A tender memoir of a very different time' O, the Oprah Magazine
1963. The Wood family is much like their neighbours, all dependent on the fathers' wages from the local mill. But when Dad suddenly dies on his way to work one April morning, Mum and the four deeply connected Wood daughters are set adrift.
And then, come November - the family still overwhelmed by grief, the country shocked by the assassination of President Kennedy - Mum announces an unprecedented family road trip. Inspired by the televised grace of Jackie Kennedy, herself a new widow with young children, Mum and her girls head to Washington, DC, to do some rescuing of their own.
WHEN WE WERE THE KENNEDYS is a funny, moving and imaginative memoir about how one family and one country, each shocked by the unimaginable, find the strength to move on.
What readers are saying about WHEN WE WERE THE KENNEDYS:
'A beautifully written, thought-provoking book'
'Filled with great love - of family, friends and the ability to bounce back even with many setbacks. Wood's words are so beautiful they literally lift off the pages'
'Compelling, profound, beautiful'
In this amiable, specific glimpse of life in smalltown, 1960s-era Maine, novelist Wood (Any Bitter Thing), revisits the untimely death of her father, who was, like most of the locals, a shift worker at the omnipotent paper mill. From their crowded third-floor apartment, the four sisters and their mother mourn while struggling to reimagine their lives without him. Told mostly from the author s fourth-grade point-of-view, Wood recalls the stoic, tender emotions of her sisters playful, younger Cathy; mentally disabled Betty; and maternal high school English teacher Anne. 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 become the family s male role model, then succumbs to nervousness and alcoholism, landing in an institution near Washington, D.C. Just as the women plan a road trip to visit him, President Kennedy is assassinated, and Wood conjectures that what happened to her family is now happening to the Kennedys and the whole country. They tour the nation s capitol meditating on Jackie while surrendering their grief. Breaking the tidy narration of the book, the author jumps to her college days at Georgetown University and to the death of her mother. But thankfully she switches back to her theme about how a refreshingly functional family learns to accept loss and preserve love.