Cover Image: All We Knew But Couldn't Say

All We Knew But Couldn't Say

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Member Reviews

While I enjoyed the plot and story as it goes, I felt like this was perhaps too much of a slow burn for my liking.
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Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the review copy!

I haven't read much non-fiction/memoirs, but of all the non-fiction/memoirs I read, this was the most difficult one to read and review. I just don't think its appropriate to rate someone's life, especially when its the story of a person who had to face abuse. So may rating an review is only based on  the writing style. I cant say I enjoyed this book beacuse of obvious reasons but I am glad that I got the chance to read this book.
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I feel bad for this actress/person and what she went through but I have no idea what the point of this book was.  I was expecting some horrible horrible details and to get dragged into this cluster of her life and really it was just a book about how her dad was horrible to her and her mom one day asked her to get into bed with her while the mom was naked.  Then how she stood on her own two feet and now is a comfortable lesbian woman who is an advocate for others in the LGQTB+ community.  Her story was written well, just not sure why it had to be written.  I think I lost something that was supposed to be poignant and I didn't get it.   Received this book as an ARC and I am voluntarily giving my review.  I am giving it 3 stars as she put her life out there even if I didn't care for the book.
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The author, an award winning actor, activist, and writer, hides nothing and most importantly is honest with herself as she relates her real life story in raw, lyrical detail.

It’s a book telling of abusive parents, of being a professional actor since she was 8 years old, of brutal battles with anorexia, drugs, and alcohol before the age of 15.

It’s very difficult to read early on because you’re thinking, she’s 5, 8, then 11 years old, a child who is experiencing heinous acts, physical and sexual abuse, attacks on her psyche by the people in charge of her, parents, teachers.  Her friends are in no better shape, skinny, gay kids like herself making it on the streets by any means or being shamelessly exploited by adults in the industry or who are in other roles of authority. 

Then we follow her to Toronto at 14 years old, living on her own, still working as a professional actor, not even knowing simple adult things like cooking or even being able to afford a meal, doing laundry, or buying shoes because, again, she’s an exiled child with an already bitter and scarred disposition and no practical life experience. We wait for the bottom so that we can watch her make her way up. The author is alive to tell the story so we know there’s salvation in the end.  No heroes come to her rescue. It’s the author’s own strength that not only
saves her but also gives her the insight to help others to climb out of the same type of “wreckage.”

If you can bear it, this is a hell of a read.
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Wow,  this book was a true testament to Joanne's strength and her survival skills.  Joanne grew up in Canada as one of four children with a controlling mother and physically abusive father. In 2002 she sees her mother for the first time in 15 years due to the fact she's dying of cancer. This brings up so many of the horrific and devastating things that happened to her ands her siblings during their childhood.  

Power, engaging,  horrific,  haunting read.
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A brutal and emotional memoir that is a tough read content-wise but powerful, compelling, and inspiring.
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Hard to read.  The early abuse is heartwrenching.  In the end the power of the individual and perseverance comes through.  It's hard to believe how much people can overcome on there own.  Inspiring.  I recommend this book.
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This book was very well written but damn was it heartbreaking. I struggled to get through parts of it because it was so heavy. It blows my mind that these are real
Things that happen in people’s homes. This memoir reads like that of Educated or the glass castle which are both tough but worth it. I was not familiar with joannes work as an actress but as a person I feel like I know her like an old friend now.
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While this memoir is hard to read as Joanne Vannicola recounts her childhood in an abusive family setting, it is a story about a strong woman not letting her hardships break her down.  Although she had every right to turn into a hardened, bitter person, she is instead is a shining light that proves that good can come out of bad.  She has the power of forgiveness and strength when she could easily have given in.
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It was a very heartbreaking and sort of hard read. Because i most of the time wanted to hug Joanne, make it so that they didn't have to go through this her and her siblings. It was devestating that it happend to them, because in the end it should'nt have.
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Well written and heartbreaking. The author evokes many emotions with her words and the story flows well. 

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing an ARC copy of the book. The opinions expressed above are my own.
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This book is simply amazing (what a weird thing to say about this sort of book), one of my best read this year so far. As someone who grew up with a loving family, it's always hard for me to imagine that a child can be abused that much and at such young age (she was so young, too young). And the fact her parents were so evil *shivers*.µ I truly wish happiness to the author and hope life will only be nice things to her.
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This was a great book. Thank you for sharing your story and I commend the author on the strength it took to share.
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I really enjoyed this book, perfect for those who read biographies and Memoirs.  This book was generously provided to me through NetGalley.  Highly Recommended!
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Really emotional book to read and to put down a few times it just got to me! Wonderful story line and you feel these characters in the book! He prepared to go through emotions! Never really read something like this before but so glad I did !
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I was unable to complete this book as it was too upsetting and had details of abuse that I could t read. I don’t feel I should mark this book as bad because of my own issues with it.
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I am yet to give this a star rating. As a consequence I've listed it as 5* until the book proves otherwise.

Unfortunately I didn't have the time to read this before it was archived, but the plot sounds so interesting that I shall be purchasing it to read at a later date, I'm looking forward to it.
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When I decided to read All We Knew But Couldn’t Say by Joanne Vannicola, I knew from the blurb that this memoir would not be an easy read, and I was right. It is not easy to read parts of this tale, but I am so very glad that I did.

This is a memoir, an autobiography of Joanne Vannicola’s life from the age of five until the present day. As a young child, she and her sisters endured what I can only call horrific physical, emotional, and (at least for Joanne) sexual child abuse. What makes it even more horrifying, this abuse comes from her parents. Her father was a monster who used to physically beat the children for minor infractions. Her mother was mentally and emotionally unstable, and unfit to be in a parental role. Ms. Vannicola is brutally frank about what she went though as a young girl and how it affected her later as a teen and young adult.

This sounds like a depressing story, and obviously part of the story is hard to read, but it is also inspiring. This is a story of survival. This is the tale of a person who survives an extremely horrible childhood, and works through the trauma to become an Emmy award winning actress, an activist for women, for children of sexual abuse, and for the LGBTQ2+ community. Joanne Vannicola is an inspiration to me, and if you read her book, I think she will be one for you as well.

I must give a trigger warning here. This story discusses episodes of child abuse that occurred in the author’s life. If these stories could cause triggers for you, you might want to read another book. 

I received this as an ARC from NetGalley and Dundurn Press for an honest review.
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I received an ARC of this book from Dundurn through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

TRIGGER WARNINGS: Child abuse, sexual abuse/assault, eating disorders, alcohol/drugs, and anxiety/depression

This memoir written by Canadian actress Joanne Vannicola is both profound and appalling.  Joanne writes on her life growing up from the age of 3 to her early twenties, and delves into her darkest parts of her past.  Being a victim of physical abuse from her father and sexual and mental abuse from her mother, Joanne has led a life that I would not wish upon my worst enemy.

The content itself is disturbing for the fact that everything is written bluntly and without a cushion.  This is not a book for the feint of heart, and it WILL leave you scarred.  I cannot express how many times while reading this book that I was either enraged to the point I wanted to throw my book across the room, or breaking down and sobbing at the disgusting nature of the parenting that Joanne had experienced and how it ultimately nearly killed her several times throughout her life.  

That being said, I enjoyed the bluntness and rawness of this memoir.  Joanne didn't shy away from exposing almost every single detail of what happened to her and her sisters growing up, and how damaging it was to her psyche and overall physical and mental health.  She explores her alcohol and drug abuse as a teenager and young adult, and doesn't redact any of the things that she experienced trying to make it as a Canadian actress.  She also discusses her developing sexuality from her teenage years to her first adult relationship with another woman.  The writing itself is self-reflective, and shows that Joanne has come a long way from when she was a child, but she understands that she no longer has to put up with any of what she endured growing up.  

Joanne's life is truly held on display in this memoir, and reminds me that I truly will never know how someone else's life is until they tell me themselves.  There is no way to know what someone else has been through, and it is incredibly important that that is remembered, as what we don't know and assume about another person can damage them and make things worse.  Never make assumptions about anyone's life being "perfect".  More often than not, it is the complete opposite.

Rating: 5/5 stars
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The author doesn't hold back in this masterpiece and I felt all the emotion with this. The things the author goes through as a young girl is just so sick. I had a hard time reading this but it was worth it in the end.
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