Friday, July 20, 2012

Monica Wood's "When We Were the Kennedys"

Monica Wood is a novelist whose first memoir is just out: When We Were the Kennedys: A Memoir from Mexico, Maine. In it, she tells the story of 1963, a year in which her beloved father, who worked in the woodyard of the local paper mill, suddenly died; the president was assassinated; and her small mill town braced itself for a prolonged labor strike.

She applied the “Page 99 Test” to When We Were the Kennedys and reported the following:
On page 99, readers will find themselves in the middle of a scene of three death-scarred little girls drawing at their kitchen table, using paper their father had made. “We drew our neighborhood, all the houses and flat-topped blocks, the neighbors and their swing sets and their porch chairs. We drew the mill, too: the stacks and conveyors and brick walls and smoky windows and the colorful hills beyond.”

What I tried to do in this book is tell the story of one family’s tragedy against the largest possible backdrop, to create the largest possible landscape for understanding the human condition. Page 99 does a fair job of suggesting this.
Learn more about the book and author at Monica Wood's website.

--Marshal Zeringue