Monica Wood turns back the clock to 'When We Were The Kennedys'
On a warm, humid Sunday afternoon in the seaside town of Kennebunkport, Maine, Louis T. Graves Memorial Library Director Mary-Lou Boucouvalas introduced Maine's award-winning novelist and short story writer Monica Wood, who introduced her critically acclaimed memoir, When We Were The Kennedys (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; July, 2012), by reading the Prologue, which sets the stage for the memoir with gritty snapshots of the northern paper mill town of Mexico, Maine, her large Irish Catholic family, and the sudden death of her father. Wood then sketched the central threads of the book--family, a mill strike, and the Kennedy assassination--intertwined through the book spanning April, 1963 to September, 1964, a period of mourning and upheaval in Wood's family as in America. Wood wrapped her presentation with a reading of a scene from the memoir depicting life under the roof of immigrant Lithuanian landlords shortly after her father dropped dead on his way to work at the paper mill. Wood then took questions from the audience on the challenges of memoir writing in terms of fidelity to the truth and respect for privacy of people, dead and alive, portrayed in the memoir; fan reaction from readers who grew up in small towns across America; the family photo and artwork on the book cover; the authenticity and accuracy of dialogue recreated from childhood memories; how she chose the time frame and title of the memoir; the process of working with her editor, agent, and publisher through the editing process; and adapting to paper mill odors from chemicals as a young girl.
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