All We Knew But Couldn’t Say by Joanne Vannicola
First line of the book: I never know what condition she’ll be in when I arrive at the hospital – if she’ll lucid, rambling, awake, sleeping, in an altered state, or gone.
Summary and Thoughts:
Joanne Vannicola went through a life of trauma and pain before reaching stardom. All of her childhood resurfaces once her abusive mother is on her deathbed. Vannicola’s life was a tale of eating disorders enabled by her mother, abuse from both of her parents, and sibling bonds torn apart from everything going on. Vannicola also delves into her sexuality, especially when she is entering young adulthood, from small crushes to the people she dated. She doesn’t leave out any part of her life so one can see the bad choices she makes in her life and how her upbringing influenced her growth. Vannicola goes back and forth between the past and present. The little things that her mother says or does currently sourly reminds Vannicola of her troubled family life.
I found myself to be easily lost in her world as Vannicola goes into deep detail of her setting and her strong emotions at the time. Anyone who has had a difficult upbringing will relate to the several ways that Joanne Vannicola tried to forget her living situation, especially during her younger years. My favorite one was the children’s obsession with music and always listening to it together in secret since I like to lose myself in music. I also did find some parts difficult and uncomfortable to read as I am a sensitive person. I believe this read is necessary for that reason; when I felt uncomfortable, I realized the points she was trying to make. If I felt horrible or angry then no doubt Vannicola felt it tenfold and would explain her problematic behavior, which I often got frustrated with. Overall, this book brought me a perspective that I usually find hard to think about.
I caution others that there are strong themes of abuse (self or to others), prostitution, sexual references, underage-drinking, and drugs. The author doesn’t hold back detail when it comes to these things.
*This book can be found via Hoopla or through Interlibrary Loan.*