All We Knew But Couldn’t Say by Joanne Vannicola (Review By Kylie Rae Newman)

2 min read

Star Rating: 3.9/5

Within the first chapter my heart was viciously ripped out of my chest and stomped on. Joanne Vannicola had me hooked and desperately needing to know more and share in her pain.

A window into Joanne’s past, that tells the story of not only her struggle of being a lesbian in 1980s Hollywood on top of the issues women deal with in the industry, but also the painful truth that not everyone is meant to be a parent and the vicious cycles of abuse. With Joanne’s mother on her death bed she is hoping for answers and some closure. Joanne’s mother was sexually abused by her mother, father and passed around the community. This woman you hate so much for being a monster to her children, you start to feel sorry for. It is in no way an excuse for her actions towards her children, but you begin to understand where this has stemmed from. It is hard to break the cycle of abuse, Joanne and her siblings are not perfect, but they have worked to break the cycle. It is an important story to share, and hopefully it will help others be more understanding and aware of these situations and more willing to step in and help.

Joanne struggled through life with no one to turn to or understand that her mother sexually and emotionally abused her, while her father physically abused her from a young age. It says a lot about society and our evolution with social and human rights. While we have as a country moved forward where there are now consequences for harming children, women and LGBTQ2+ individuals there is still a lot of abuse, hatred and ignorance that many are unaware of. It is important to realize that we need to help, speak and stand up for those in need.

While loving the rich and controversial content that Joanne was able to express and share her story to help heal and enlighten others, I did not adore the delivery. The telling of the past is mixed in with the present in a way that is not entirely clear and can get confusing. Due to the writing style I am only giving it a 3.9 stars out of 5.

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