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By Monica Wood
“Every few years, a memoir comes alongside that revitalizes the form…With beneficiant, targeted, and unsentimental prose, Monica wooden brilliantly achieves this . . . When We have been the Kennedys is a deeply relocating gem!”—Andre Dubus III, writer of House of Sand and Fog and Townie
Mexico, Maine, 1963: The wooden family members is way like its shut, Catholic, immigrant friends, all depending on the fathers’ wages from the Oxford Paper corporation. but if Dad without warning dies on his solution to paintings, Mum and the 4 deeply attached wooden ladies are set adrift. When We have been the Kennedys is the tale of the way a family members, a city, after which a kingdom mourns and reveals the power to maneuver on.
“On her personal phrases, wry and empathetic, wooden locates the melodies within the aftershock of surprising loss.”—Boston Globe
“[A] wonder of storytelling, layered and wealthy. it's, by means of turns, a chronicle of the well known paper mill that used to be either delight and poison to numerous generations of a city; a tribute to the ethnic stew of immigrant households that grew and prospered there; and an account of 1 family’s grief, love, and resilience.”—Maine Sunday Telegram
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Additional info for When We Were the Kennedys: A Memoir from Mexico, Maine
Ironing board nonetheless heaped with unpressed laundry, a bottle of starch dripping over a soggy shirt. The parakeet dancing on his perch, sugartime sugartime sugartime he sings, nervously back-and-forthing on his spongy toes, he desires out, he desires out, he wishes out. The cats have fled to conceal within issues inside of different issues. the form of our kinfolk has been upended and rearranged, its roof flattened, its gateposts ripped from the earth by means of God’s personal brutal hand, and purely the animals be aware of adequate to make a run for it. moving into this exploded, soft factor that may endlessly now be us, Anne decodes the muddled message ultimately. So easy, so razoringly designated: Dad died. She pulls herself jointly and, within the lingo of our time and position, starts to “do” for us. Make the calls. Greet the viewers. Feed tea and toast to our weeping mom. Fold up the ironing board. end the dishes. a person has to “do. ” And so. She does. My brother, a married Air strength veteran with boys, is a pipefitter within the mill, the place he will get the inside track in a equally convoluted approach. “You’re sought after at home,” a person says. So Barry drives heart-thumpingly home—to his domestic, a bit condo in Dixfield, the subsequent city downriver. “What’s fallacious? ” he asks Nila, who’s buttoning Stevie right into a little blouse after jogging Mike to his kindergarten. His spouse appears up, alarmed. “Nothing. What are you doing the following? ” “You didn’t demand me? ” She shakes her head, eyes darkening. “No. somebody referred to as for you? ” So Barry calls the mill again, stressed. “You should have one other John Wood,” he tells front workplace. In forms he is going by means of “John”—John Barry. Anne is Mary Anne; on Prince Edward Island you name kids by means of their hidden names. during this yr of 1963, the mill at its booming height, there may perhaps good be one other John wooden someplace between 3 thousand staff scattered over 3 shifts, an individual from Byron or Roxbury or West Peru or anybody of our surrounding cities, one other John wooden sought after at domestic for a cause not anyone has the nerve to provide an explanation for. “Are you John? ” “Yes. ” “You paintings within the pipers? ” “Yes. ” “Your father died this morning. ” He sprints again to his automobile, drives too quick to Mexico, and thunders up these 3 flights. we don't see my brother frequently, but if we do, he brings his spouse and boys and his cherished may well Belle acoustic guitar and takes over the parlor, the place we beg for melodramatic rockabilly songs approximately heartbreak and ignored percentages in a velvety timbre that Dad referred to as “fearful-grand making a song. ” yet he brings not anything with him at the present time yet a strong experience of dread as he bursts during the door and appears into the tired face of our mom and asks, “Is it actual? ” Our condo harbors few locations to grieve in deepest: 4 rooms and in basic terms with a door. Barry drags a chair from the kitchen and slips into the bed room, the place after a couple of minutes I crack the door open to the incredible sight of my grownup brother, dealing with clear of me, sitting astride the spindly chair, his head down, his hands cradling the chair again, a pose now not in contrast to the only he occasionally takes together with his guitar.