Reviewed by Aimee
Monica Wood’s heartfelt, and at times touching memoir relates the story of how her childhood in a mill town in Maine is forever changed by the sudden loss of her father. When her father, the breadwinner of the family and a longtime employee at the paper mill in Rumford, Maine, suddenly dies from a heart attack on his way to work one morning, life changes drastically for Monica and family. Her mother, who has some issues of her own, is left to care for four daughters, one of whom is developmentally disabled, by herself. The death of her father and her mother’s absence due to working to support the family start to change and shape young Monica’s life. Having to stay at her odd neighbor’s house until her mother gets home, and seeing her best friend with a happy, whole family causes conflicting emotions for the young girl and her sisters. She finds solace in reading and in her favorite Nancy Drew novels, and in drawing and writing on the paper her father once made. Through their hardships, the family manages to find some comfort in small things, like visits from an Uncle or a warm, home cooked meal. As the family begins to heal, they realize that even though times are hard they still have things to be thankful for. I actually read this book for a class I was taking, and even though it was not what I usually choose for myself, I very much enjoyed reading about Monica and her family, mourning with them and celebrating their triumphs. Monica’s story is very honest and relatable and her writing is easy and beautiful to read. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a good memoir to settle in with.