WHEN WE WERE THE KENNEDYS

A Memoir From Mexico, Maine

Monica Wood

1963, Mexico, Maine. The Wood family is much like its close, Catholic, immigrant neighbors, all dependent on a father’s wages from the Oxford Paper Company. Until the sudden death of Dad, when Mum and the four closely connected Wood girls are set adrift. Funny and to-the-bone moving, When We Were the Kennedys is the story of how this family saves itself, at first by depending on Father Bob, Mum’s youngest brother, a charismatic Catholic priest who feels his new responsibilities deeply. And then, as the nation is shocked by the loss of its handsome Catholic president, the televised grace of Jackie Kennedy—she too a Catholic widow with young children—galvanizes Mum to set off on an unprecedented family road trip to Washington,

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1963, Mexico, Maine. The Wood family is much like its close, Catholic, immigrant neighbors, all dependent on a father’s wages from the Oxford Paper Company. Until the sudden death of Dad, when Mum and the four closely connected Wood girls are set adrift. Funny and to-the-bone moving, When We Were the Kennedys is the story of how this family saves itself, at first by depending on Father Bob, Mum’s youngest brother, a charismatic Catholic priest who feels his new responsibilities deeply. And then, as the nation is shocked by the loss of its handsome Catholic president, the televised grace of Jackie Kennedy—she too a Catholic widow with young children—galvanizes Mum to set off on an unprecedented family road trip to Washington, D.C., to do some rescuing of her own. An indelible story of how family and nation, each shocked by the unimaginable, exchange one identity for another.

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  • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Hardcover
  • July 2012
  • 256 Pages
  • 9780547630144

Buy the Book

$24.00

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About Monica Wood

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.

Praise

“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

“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. Though there’s probably not much to see in Mexico, ME, this reviewer plans to drive through the next time she’s nearby. Readers will feel like they know the town and its people too.”&mash;Library Journal

“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 gorgeously wrought new book…is a sharp, stunning portrait of a family’s grief and healing, and it also offer 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.”The Washingtonian “Best of Washington” issue