Book Review: What I Thought I Knew

What I Thought I Knew

Alice Eve Cohen

Penguin

208 pages

*Spoilers Included*

In this engrossing memoir, Cohen details her pregnancy that occurred unexpectedly at age 44. Cohen had wanted children desperately when she was married previously, but after years of infertility, she came to grips with the fact that she would never bear her own child, and instead she and her then husband adopted a little girl.  Yet, years later, after struggling for months with an unknown illness, Cohen gets the shock of her life; she is six months pregnant.  After numerous tests and ultrasounds, a myriad of health issues are discovered, which only adds to Cohen’s confusion and grief.

What I Thought I Knew is an extremely difficult book to read.  Cohen is unflinchingly honest, to the point where she admits her intense grief over the pregnancy, as well as her consideration of a late term abortion.  I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to offer up such a candid insight to a subject that would normally be kept under wraps.  I will admit that my only issue was with the fact that Cohen’s child will likely read this book one day.  It would be a difficult pill to swallow for anyone, and I would guess that most people would have a difficult time coming to grips with something like this.

I feel strongly that What I Thought I Knew brings a voice to a subject matter that is not often discussed openly.  Not every woman is thrilled to find out they are expecting, and although it was difficult for me to put myself in Cohen’s position, I could certainly empathize with her.  Every woman has a right to her own reactions and emotions, and while I was relieved with her ultimate choice to have her baby, I didn’t fault her for exploring other avenues.

Be aware that this book is not for the faint of heart.  It definitely tackles some difficult issues.

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I borrowed this book from my local library.

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3 Responses

  1. That is definitely a gutsy topic for a book!

  2. I’m intrigued, but not sure if this is the book for me…

  3. This book made for a great discussion with my book club. So much to discuss! At first I was appalled that Cohen was so vehemently opposed to the pregnancy but with all of the health concerns for for the baby, I started to really feel for her. Not only might she have bringing a child into the world that would have a very poor quality of life, she would be committing herself to spending the rest of her life taking care of this child. I was relieved for her that her daughter seems to be relatively fine and so loved. But shame on those doctors!

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