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When Jo returns home after her mother’s death, she is shocked to learn of an unexpected inheritance, and her mother’s diary. Jo thought she could put to rest her darker past until an entry implies the messy aftermath of an uncle’s sexual advances towards her when she was fifteen. Like the diary, Jo’s memory of events is full of gaps, but one thing is certain, she will never regain what was lost. What is the full story of what happened between Jo and her uncle? And what is the diary not telling us about Jo’s mother’s troubles with him?
How We Remember traces the effects of alcoholism, mental illness and abuse on one Irish-Italian-American, working-class family. As Jo’s first person narrative weaves together past and present stories, she creates a portrait of her family’s life and her own as she faces new decisions amidst the tragic consequences of mismanaged grief.
Full of moments of light and dark, Monaco’s debut novel – set during a week that anyone would dread – provides a mesmeric narrative portraying the pain of grief, the tenuous nature of memory and the earth shattering effect that the death of the ‘glue’ of a family can cause.