Friday 28 August 2020

Book ~ "All We Knew But Couldn't Say" (2019) Joanne Vannicola

From Goodreads ~ After Joanne is pressured to leave home at fourteen, encouraged by her mother to seek out an acting career, she finds herself in a strange city, struggling to cope with her memories and fears. She makes the decision to cut her mother out of her life and over the next several years goes on to create a body of work as a successful television and film actor. Then, after fifteen years of estrangement, Joanne learns that her mother is dying. Compelled to reconnect, she visits with her, unearthing a trove of devastating secrets.

Joanne relates her journey from child performer to Emmy Award-winning actor, from hiding in the closet to embracing her own sexuality, from conflicted daughter and sibling to independent woman. All We Knew But Couldn’t Say is a testament to survival, love, and Joanne’s fundamental belief that it is possible to love the broken and to love fully, even with a broken heart. 

Joanne Vannicola is a Canadian actress and, to be honest, I've never hear of her.  I read it because I saw actor Colin Mochrie recommended it on Twitter.  It sounded like an interesting story ... and it was.

This is Joanne's story.  She was the youngest of four children living in Montreal in the 1960s.  Their Italian father was abusive ... their mother would tell him that the children had done something and he would beat them to punish them, which excited their mother.  Their mother, who had a crazy abusive childhood herself, was extremely obese and lived vicariously through Joanne, encouraging her to take dancing and acting lessons.  Unfortunately she also sexually molested Joanne when she was young.  One by one, Joanne's older sisters were kicked out of the household.  When Joanne was 15, her mother sent her to Toronto to go to acting school.  Left on her own at such a young age, Joanne had to fend for herself and figure things out.

I like reading bios/auto bios.  Joanne went through a lot in her childhood with her abusive parents and then was left to deal with it and sort it out on her own as a teenager.  It sounds like she has come out on the other side knowing who she is and being comfortable with that.  The book ends in 2002 when the children gathered in Toronto to be with their mother when she died ... I wouldn't have been there if I'd had the childhoods they did.

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