Wednesday, September 9, 2020

On My Shelf: Monica Wood's Books Set in Maine

Maine Settings, Maine Author

I love to read books that are set in Maine. Some are memoirs, some are fiction, and some are children's. Today I want to tell you about two I read by Maine-born and raised author, Monica Wood. One is her memoir and one is fiction.

The first is When We Were the Kennedys.
This title appealed to me because my family name is Kennedy (no, not those Kennedys). This is Monica's childhood memoir of growing up in Mexico, Maine, a mill town, but her name was not Kennedy. 

The story takes place around 1963, the same year President John Kennedy was assassinated. She writes about how she lost her own father earlier that year suddenly when he was on his way to work at the paper mill. It is a sweet story about surviving loss together as a family in a close-knit neighborhood. Although I didn't grow up in a mill town, I can relate to the feel of growing up in small town Maine. I've been to Mexico and can see that mill town feel as I read this. Her writing is clear, and if you like somewhat sad but not downer memoirs, you'll enjoy this. I also love the cover that shows Monica's family in their now retro clothing styles. It screams summer in Maine circa 1965. 

I recently finished Wood's 2015 work of fiction The One-in-a-Million Boy, that also deals with a death, that being of a young boy. It is a sweet story that shows the difference one life, even a child's life, can make. The story is also set in Maine but admittedly it has less of a Maine feel than her memoir. It has a lot of characters who need healing. I at times felt a little lost, and didn't connect well with the parents of the boy in the book. The boy and the older woman, Ona, are very likable, and I wish the story had been more focused on the nameless boy and his 104-year-old friend, Ona.

I recommend both of these books that take place in Maine.

Here is a link of Monica Wood describing her memoir.
Here is a link of Monica Wood discussing The One-in-a-Million Boy.
Here is Monica Wood's website.

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