What skill and mastery Vannicola employs, particularly in the face of her most brutal moments, which others may not have survived...Vannicola does this work with grace, skill and grit, which makes this novel truly one of a time when it is most needed.
A story fit for this time and the landscape of our culture. Incredibly raw, moving, and honest. Joanne has survived so much and come out triumphant. A book worth reading.
Denys Arcand, Oscar-winning filmmaker
Joanne Vannicola weaves a compelling narrative about hardship, survival, and resilience that reminds all of us about the enduring importance of forgiveness, family acceptance, and love.
Sarah Kate Ellis, President & CEO, GLAAD
What you need to know about All We Knew But Couldn’t Say is how brilliantly Joanne Vannicola says what couldn’t be said. She writes about mayhem and emotional violence with such precision that it’s like becoming mesmerized by a tornado moving directly towards you. Becoming an actor may have been Joanne Vannicola’s first step in avoiding the path of destructive forces heading her way, but it’s her writing that feels like a storm contained. This is a story you won’t soon forget.
David Layton, author and Diaspora Dialogues mentor
I am completely gutted by reading Joanne's beautifully penned heart-wrenching memoir. When every important relationship that shapes us is broken and lacking in nurturing love, it stands as a testament to the power of becoming whole. Raw, unflinching, brave and important, it makes me grateful to know that a voice with this power and honesty is sharing her truth with us all.
Cynthia Dale, actor
Jo Vannicola’s memoir is shocking, upsetting and occasionally graphic, yet what sets it apart from other similar accounts is an underlying sense of optimism. Out of despair there has emerged a beautifully written account, where the author has not only come through the tribulations of her early life, but become a leading voice for the overlooked and the marginalized. I cannot recommend it enough.
Linda Riley, Publisher, DIVA Magazine
This frank, sometimes harrowing, always inspiring memoir should be mandatory reading for all — for those afraid of being true to themselves or anyone who needs a hero that demonstrates what personal courage and determination can do.
Colin Mochrie, actor and comedian
Stark. Unflinchingly honest and filled with a type of determination that is seen in LGBTQ people who want more than just survival.
Roland Emmerich, Director, Producer
In this moving memoir, Joanne Vannicola writes herself — and so many of us who have experienced oppression and trauma —onto the page. As a writer, I enjoyed her beautiful, well-paced and evocative storytelling. As a therapist and survivor, I found myself pausing and nodding as she articulated so well her deep and layered understandings of trauma and marginalization. Throughout, I found myself rooting for and cheering on the young girl, actor, activist, and woman of this story.
Farzana Doctor, author of Six Metres of Pavement
Joanne writes the way she lives, with heart and hope and honesty. A must read.
Helen Shaver, actor and director
The book has a cinematic feel to it...All We Knew But Couldn’t Say is a story about someone figuring out their own identity and claiming it, pushing past layers of abuse, confusion and cultural resistance to define themselves as non-binary long before there was a word for it.