What I Thought I Knew by Alice Eve Cohen

Author: Alice Eve Cohen
Pages:  208
Genre: Memoir

A personal and medical odyssey beyond anything most women would believe possible.

At age forty-four, Alice Eve Cohen was happy for the first time in years. After a difficult divorce, she was engaged to an inspiring man, joyfully raising her adopted daughter, and her career was blossoming. Alice tells her fiancé that she’s never been happier. And then the stomach pains begin.

In her unflinchingly honest and ruefully witty voice, Alice nimbly carries us through her metamorphosis from a woman who has come to terms with infertility to one who struggles to love a heartbeat found in her womb – six months into a high-risk pregnancy. [via GoodReads]
When I first agreed to review this book I thought this would be a serious memoir about one woman's struggles with a pregancy and new baby in her mid-40's.  And although it is that, it is also so much more.

Alice Eve Cohen's memoir is nothing short of inspirational.  With a very brutally honest voice she tells you her story.  And what a story it is!  I literally read her book in one sitting. 

Just when Alice Eve Cohen is happiest in life - she is with the man of her dreams, has a wonderful stepdaughter who she loves as her own and is financially stable - she finds out she's 6 months pregnant (at 44).  Because of her age and her pre-natal neglect, her pregnancy is considered to be high risk   Oh, and did I mention the problems with health insurance... yes, there's also that.  Her doctor's tell her that her baby will most likely have some type of deformity and/or problem and that is if she's even able to carry it to full-term.  She is also too far advanced in her pregnancy for a legal abortion.  What is a woman to do?

I must commend Ms. Cohen for  telling her story in such a light and witty voice - which more than once brought a smile to my face.   She realistically captures the terror, the indecision, the agony, the worry, and the joy too.  You don't have to be a mother or a wife or even female to appreciate this book. Highly recommended.

About the author:
Alice Eve Cohen is a solo theatre artist, playwright, and memoirist. Her memoir, What I Thought I Knew (Viking, 2009) won the Elle’s Lettres 2009 Grand Prix for Nonfiction. She has written for Nickelodeon, PBS, and CBS. Her plays have been presented at theatres throughout the country, and she has toured her solo theatre works internationally. Her writing about arts in education has been published in nine languages. The recipient of fellowships and grants from the New York State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, she holds a BA from Princeton University and an MFA from The New School. She teaches at The New School in New York City.
My Rating:


Melissa (i swim for oceans) said...

Absolutely brilliant review! I totally have a thing for memoirs, and this sounds right up my alley. The author is so brave for speaking so candidly in a book like this! :)

Missie, The Unread Reader said...

Wow Nely,

Memoir usually are not my thing, but as someone who has struggled with fertility and baby issues, I think I'm going to have to give this one a try.

Thank you for reviewing this book or I may not have known about it.

Anonymous said...

I'm not the kind who likes memoirs too, and when I saw this review, I thought 'nah, will not read'. But I gave it a shot and ended quite interested in the book. Sounds amazing! Your review was just awesome!

Rebecca Rasmussen said...

I always think we need books that show the reality of the transition for many of us from woman to mother. Anne Lamott did this, too. Very important for women, since most baby books assumed you feel nothing more complicated than pure joy.

Lola said...

Wow...what a brave memoir! This one definitely sounds interesting!!!

Audra said...

Normally I like memoirs and your review is great but as right now, as my wife and I are working on having a baby, I find I can't read pregnancy-related things without getting overly emotional. Still, Ms Cohen's situation sounds particular gripping.

alittlebookish said...

I have to say that this was a great review. I mostly read fiction but from time to time I dabble in memoir territory. This sounds like an interesting read. I have to say I love love love your blog. I check it everyday to see if there is something new. As a result, I nominated you for an award. The link can be found here:
Thanks and happy blogging!

Anonymous said...

She certainly had more than her share to deal with. I guess it shows we deal with what we must. It is up to us to make the best of it.
Thanks for the review. Sounds like a book worth reading.

Alice Eve Cohen said...

Thank you, Nely, for your lovely review of my book, and to all your readers for these thoughtful comments.

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