When We Were the Kennedys

Photo: Ben Goldstein/Studio D

9 of 25
When We Were the Kennedys
256 pages; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
On a crisp April morning in 1963, Albert Wood of Mexico, Maine, sets out for work—as he had most days for almost 40 years—at the towering Oxford Paper Company on the banks of nearby Rumford Falls. Before he reaches his car, he drops dead of a heart attack, leaving behind a shocked wife and five children. In her intimate but expansive memoir, When We Were the Kennedys, Monica Wood explores not only her family's grief but also the national end of innocence when President John F. Kennedy is shot seven months later. Monica and her mother feel a special bond with Jackie and Caroline Kennedy, and Monica takes solace in identifying with Caroline when other children are "a little bit afraid of me because my father died." Braiding her own story of mourning together with the heartbreak all around her, Wood has written a tender memoir of a very different time.
— Judy Bolton-Fasman