Monica Wood’s new (old) book is fantastic

I love Monica Wood’s novels, as well as her wonderful book about growing up in Mexico, Maine. But I didn’t know I had not read her first novel, Ernie’s Ark, until it was republished this year. And I’m so glad it was, because it’s really good.

Its stories are very real, and I liked the way she went back and forth with the stories of two families who live in paper mill towns. On the front cover, Christina Baker Kline describes the book well: Ernie’s Ark is as true as life.

And I can’t describe it any better than this, from Publishers Weekly, on the back cover: Wood does a remarkable job of illuminating the character’s inner lives… skillfully layering their brief but complex stories with humor, empathy, and melancholy.

And I wasn’t surprised to learn that Ernie’s Ark is Monica’s favorite novel.

Monica has also written some short stories and great plays, one of which, Papermaker, Linda and I enjoyed at the Portland Stage.

Monica, who lives in Portland, has won many awards and had novels translated into 20 languages. Yup, she’s really popular!




George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.