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All We Knew But Couldn't Say

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  36 ratings  ·  28 reviews
Joanne Vannicola grew up in a violent home with a physically abusive father and a mother who had no sexual boundaries.

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 ov
Paperback, 264 pages
Published June 1st 2019 by Dundurn
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4.36  · 
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 ·  36 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 a
Apr 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Wow, I am not so sure how to even start writing a review for this book. It was heavy, heart breaking and I should definitely start off by giving all the trigger warnings for violence, abuse in all it's forms, slurs, homophobia..etc.

Joanne Vannicola shares the story of her life and her childhood growing up with abusive parents, having her sisters kicked out, fending for herself from a young age, discovering and learning about her sexuality and finding acting jobs and becoming an actor. The book
All We Knew But Couldn't Say is unputdownable and gut wrenching at the same time.
Mrs. Vannicola talks about about growing up and maturing in some of the most horrific circumstances. When she talks about the abuse she endured it isn't easy to read, not with how well she encapsulates it. But I can't help but admire her bravery in sharing it all, especially with how poised this book is.
It's beautifully written. It's raw and emotional. It's powerful throughout.
It's an important book.
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Forgiveness? Is that even possible when a person goes through the hideous acts put upon Joanne and her siblings. This is an emotional read that is like watching a train wreak unfold. You know something really bad is going to happen but you cannot turn away, but you may close your eyes every now and then to regroup. I had to put the read down every now and then to process and reflect upon what I had just read. Parenting is tough stuff and in this case, I wish these parents had a manual for what t ...more
Amie's Book Reviews

This book contains scenes of child sexual abuse and physical abuse of children. If any of these topics cause emotional triggers for you, I strongly suggest you do not read this book.

There are many memoirs that contain disturbing subject matter and ALL WE KNEW BUT COULDN'T SAY is no exception. However, the difference between other memoirs and that of Canadian Joanne Vannicola is that Joanne somehow managed to live through her
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
First I will start with a prediction, this book is not officially out yet, but it will gain a high level of love and interest when it will. I'M the third reviewer now, first two give five, but I expect it to maintain a 4,25 and attract lot of lover... Will see how it goes, maybe I will look stupid and it won't but I think there's a strong public for that kind of book.

For my appreciation now. I didn't enjoy this book that much because of the subject and the fact that it didn't resonate in me. It
This book was very hard for me to read, but at the same time I found it cathartic, inspiring, and an absolutely important read. As a survivor of generational trauma and abuse and intent on breaking the cycle once and for all, there were areas where I completely related to Joanne Vannicola’s childhood, her thought processes, her actions and reactions.

There are descriptions of violence, child abuse, anorexia, and pedophilia that may be difficult to read for many people.

Joanne Vannicola is a Canadi
Madeline Nelson
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Quality of Writing: 9/10
Pace: 10/10
Plot Development: N/A
Characters: N/A
Enjoyability: 8/10
Insightfulness: 10/10
Ease of Reading: 7/10
Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
So, I don't normally put trigger warnings, but you will have a hard time reading this book if you are sensitive to the following: eating disorders, suicide, child abuse, sexual abuse, or child prostitution.
I had never heard of Joanne Vannicola until I received this Advanced Reader Copy through NetGalley, but I definitely have an appreciation for h
Jun 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley, 2019
Thank you to Dundum and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Trigger warning: contains graphic descriptions of eating disorders, sexual abuse, violence and suicide.

This book recounts the horrific childhood and young adulthood of the author and her siblings. They were raised in a family where neither parent nurtured or nourished their children. Instead, violence, abuse and inexplicable events (from the point of view
Breakaway Reviewers
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
A gut-wrenching memoir that leaves nothing unspoken.

Trigger warning: contains graphic descriptions of eating disorders, sexual abuse, violence and suicide.

I love memoir and the untethered bravery of those who choose to take on this genre. I love that emotional tug, that contradictory feeling of reading about someone’s life, a life that is so horrendous and filled with unprecedented pain, all while holding in mind, almost in disbelief, that those events really happened to an actual person.

And so
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Joanne Vannicola's book is truly heart wrenching. She survived years of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse at the hands of her own parents. Around age 14, Joanne is already a working actress and her mom pressures her into leaving home under the guise that it's for her career. Joanne is on her own. She cuts her mom out of her life and she spends years dealing with her own mental un-wellness, barely surviving. She eventually does the hard work of trying to heal herself. Fifteen years later she ...more
Tracy Wood
Apr 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, 2019
Joanne Vannicola is an exceptionally strong willed and principled young woman. This hasn't always been helpful but has shaped her life as she tried to escape a traumatic past and make her future one of hope and positive experiences.

The idea that a mother could be as abusive as a father in a dysfunctional family wasn't readily accepted when the Vannicola siblings were small. There was also far less understanding of how the resulting psychological scars would be deep enough to effect a lifetime of
Jun 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Everyone needs to read this book!

I read so many books that, while they're usually really good books, I'm on to the next one without a lot of thought to the last one. This book is not one of those books that I will soon forget. Even though I may read several other books in the coming days and weeks, the thoughts this book evokes will stay with me.

One of the lines in this book is, "It's possible to love the broken". Vannicola was such a broken woman who came from a totally broken family, and how s
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Received a copy through NetGalley for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

This memoir discusses trauma and how it carries into generations. Joanne Vannicola gets a call that her mother is dying from cancer. She has been estranged from her mother for fifteen years, and has questions that need to be answered.

All We Knew But Couldn't Say is the questioning of why did things happen the way they did, and sometimes not receiving the direct answers that one may need.

The book starts with the d
Joanne Vannicola's heart-wrenching memoir is bound to make you uncomfortable, sad, and angry, and it will find its way into your thoughts at random moments of the day.

Vannicola's childhood was far from normal. Between the topics of child abuse (including sexual abuse), violence, unhealthy coping mechanisms, and suicide, this certainly was a depressing read. If you're very sensitive, you may want to wait until you can handle the subject matter. Nonetheless, it's an important book and I think any
Emi Bevacqua
Joanne Vannicola is an award winning actress and activist; her autobiography bravely addresses trauma and abuse she survived at home growing up in Canada. As a child Joanne was very involved in dance and theater, but other than these organized activities her life, and that of her three older siblings, was violent chaos. Not only did she survive her brutal father, her sadistic mother, the disappearance of her oldest sister, alcohol and drugs, mental illness and anorexia, incredibly she thrived, f ...more
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book absolutely blew me away. Before I read it, I wondered if the dark subject matter would be too difficult to bear, but over and over, Vannicola's clear-headed, honest, bright storytelling and language lifted me through the read. She shines a light over the often tragic events of her life, while never shying away from the impact these events have had on her. That light is visceral. It illuminates and has at its core hope and a deep respect for process. It allows the reader close to her ex ...more
Bex Wiles
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is a painfully honest account of being a child of abusive parents. Its structure is reflective in that it jumps between time periods in an effective way so that we hear how Joanne experienced things at the time but also how she feels looking back on them.

It is well written especially in how the people mentioned in it are characterised - I feel like I had a good idea of the essence of the different people in the author's life.

It is hard to read because of its content, but I would defin
May 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley, 2019
I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I thoroughly recommend this memoir.

It feels wrong to say I enjoyed reading about the struggles Joanne Vannicola faced growing up. It was impossible not to feel her pain and want to save that little girl.

But Joanne has written a very measured account of her life and although it was too difficult for her to describe in detail all she endured, we were able to still appreciate the horrors she faced and travel the road with her.
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
**Trigger warning: contains graphic descriptions of violence against animals and people, suicide, eating disorders, drugs, prostitution, and sexual abuse.**

This book is well written, but extremely hard to read. Joanne gives a no holds barred account of their upbringing in an extremely violent and abusive home. Their experiences as a young actress living on their own at 14. Their struggle with their body image and eating disorder. Joanne's multiple suicide attempts. Their journey of discovered t
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm embarrassed to say that prior to reading this, I had no idea who Joanna Vannicola was and was instead intrigued by the synopsis. Suffice to say having read her fascinating and well-written memoir, I'm incredibly impressed by this woman and inspired by what she lived through and who she became.

ARC provided by NetGalley
Aya Bara
rated it really liked it
Jun 21, 2019
rated it it was amazing
Jun 21, 2019
Aleana Harris
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I ARC received via NetGalley and in exchange for an honest review.

Joanne grew up in a violent home at the aged of fourteen her mother pressure her to leave home so she can start an acting career.

As years went by Joanne made a name for herself and decide to cut her mother out of her life but when she get word that her mother is dying she decide to go see her and learns some devastating secrets that rock her.

As she struggle to connect and forgive her mother she learns that she survive with that le
rated it it was amazing
May 09, 2019
Macy Rodriguez
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
All We Knew But Couldn't Say is a gut wrenching looking into the life of, Emmy Award winner , Joanne Vannicola. .

As she gets news of her mothers pending death she is forced to look back on her life and relive childhood traumas . From physical, sexual and emotional abuse at the hands of her parents to struggles with anorexia and drugs all the while trying to discover her own identity.

A memoir filled with real demons, heartbreaking truths and finding oneself in the midst of all the madness.
Torrie Tovar
Mar 22, 2019 marked it as to-read
Such a heartbreaking memior. A book that is important about childhood trauma and definitely ome that needs to be read.
Geonn Cannon
rated it it was amazing
Mar 26, 2019
Gabrielle Manning
rated it it was amazing
Jun 14, 2019
Mar 17, 2019 rated it liked it
This was a hard book to read. Knowing that the author had gone through so much, abused and not taken care of.

Thanks to author,publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book. While I got the book for free,it had no bearing on the rating I gave it.
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