Any Bitter Thing

A gripping and compassionate tale of family and faith, whispers and accusations, and the deeply hidden truths we’re compelled to uncover.

After surviving a near-fatal accident, thirty-year-old Lizzy Mitchell faces a long road to recovery. She remembers little about the days she spent in and out of consciousness, save for one thing: She saw her beloved deceased uncle, Father Mike, the man who raised her in the rectory of his Maine church until she was nine and he was accused of improprieties, dismissed from his church, and Lizzy was sent away to boarding school. Was Father Mike an angel, a messenger from the beyond, or something more corporeal?

Though her troubled marriage and her broken body need tending, Lizzy knows she must not only uncover the details of her accident, but also delve deep into events of twenty years earlier, when whispers and accusations forced a good man to give up the only family he had. With deft insight into the snares of the human heart, Monica Wood has written an intimate and emotionally expansive novel full of understanding and hope.

Reading Group Guide Downloadable & Printable PDF
A Conversation with Monica Wood Downloadable & Printable PDF


“Deserves a place on the shelf with modern classics such as John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany and Richard Russo’s Empire Falls….the story is full of suspense and surprise.”
Maine Sunday Telegram

Any Bitter Thing is genius . . . a heartstopper.”
Carolyn Chute, author of The Beans of Egypt, Maine

“Wood illuminates the grace in the average and the everyday, the miracles that lie within the ordinary life….[An] intimate exploration of love and faith, betrayal and penance.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“In prose as fresh and lovely as a Maine summer evening . . . Wood’s story unassumingly builds in power, right up to its moving final page.”
Publishers Weekly

“This emotional story is filled with crisp, rich details that linger in the memory….Wood’s stirring domestic drama is full of surprises as it explores the weighty themes of religion, perceived innocence, and the corrosive quality of best intentions.”

Any Bitter Thing is part of Godine’s Nonpareil series: celebrating the joy of discover with books bound to be classics. See here for a complete list of Nonpareils.

Monica Wood

Monica Wood is a novelist, memoirist, and playwright. Her most recent novel, The One-in-a-Million Boy (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), has been published in 22 languages in 30 countries and won the 2017 Nautilus Award (Gold) and the New England Society Book Award. She is also the author of When We Were the Kennedys (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), an Oprah magazine summer-reading pick and winner of both the May Sarton Memoir Award and the 2016 Maine Literary Award. Ernie’s Ark was excerpted on NPR's “Selected Shorts” and selected by several towns and cities as their “One Book, One Community” read.

Cathie Pelletier is the author of eleven novels, including The Funeral Makers, a New York Times Notable Book. The Washington Post calls her “An ambitious, fearless novelist…one of the funniest novelists at work in this country.”