Words on Words: An interview with Monica Wood

3 mins read
Monica Wood

Monica Wood, one of Maine’s most nationally celebrated authors, will be coming to Farmington on July 13th to read from her new book, When We Were the Kennedys: A Memoir from Mexico, Maine, which will be released on July 10th. The book has received an avalanche of glowing reviews from Ken Burns, Andre Dubus, Oprah Magazine, Kirkus, and Reader’s Digest just to name a few.  Apart from being a childhood memoir,  When We Were the Kennedys explores the subtle ways in which the tragedy of the Kennedy assassination altered  a shared sense of identity as seen through the corollary of the personal tragedy of the sudden death of Monica’s father in April 1963. Truly, When We Were The Kennedy’s is filled with both both national and local interest. Monica was stalwart enough to step up here for a hard hitting Daily Bulldog interview.

Kenny:  When We Were the Kennedy’s represents your first memoir after four terrific novels . Let’s start with three questions on that topic. Poetry was once known as “Odin’s mead.” What beverage would stand as the norse metaphor for memoir?

Monica: Whoah. Let me think. Moxie?
Kenny: Did you find, when making an offering to the Muses, that a different sort of offering was required when crafting a memoir as opposed to a novel?

Monica: Actually, the Muses were quite kind. Novel muses are bratty little rhymes-with-witches, but Muses for memoir are—really—the beloved people you’re writing about. I wish I could write this book all over again.


Kenny: Do you have a favorite memoir (or any other book really) that you think anyone who loves your new book ought to read as a chaser?

Monica: The memoir I love most is called Girls of Tender Age by Mary Ann Tirone Smith. Also, everybody please read Middlemarch if you haven’t already. It contains almost everything we need to know about human nature.

Kenny:I think all the readers of the book will find the Norkus’ a compelling part of it. What would you have entitled an account of the Norkuses?

Monica: The Norkuses—our Lithuanian landlords—spoke broken English, enforced many rules, and, in their bewildering way, cared deeply about us. I was terrified of them. Their story would be called They Came to America with Rags on Their Feet. That’s what my mother always said, admiringly, about them.

Kenny: We’re very excited to hear you read on July 13th!

Monica: Friday the 13th. What could go wrong?

Impending disaster

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