When Alice Eve Cohen was in her thirties she learned of her infertility and decided to adopt a daughter with her first husband. At forty-four, Cohen is divorced and in a long-term relationship with the love of her life, at the best place she’s ever been career-wise, and loving the experience of raising her now nine-year-old daughter. After months of experiencing strange symptoms and undergoing rounds of tests and x-rays, Cohen is shocked to learn that she’s six months pregnant. What I Thought I Knew is an engaging and heartfelt memoir about the road Cohen and her family traveled upon learning of the pregnancy.
I accepted What I Thought I Knew for review because I am a sucker for memoirs and I vaguely remembered reading some positive reviews of it when it first came out last year. I almost never do this, but I accepted the book without really knowing what it was about. Imagine my surprise when I realized the book is about something I have absolutely no experience with – pregnancy and motherhood – and imagine my even bigger surprise when I ended up loving the book!
The main reason I loved the book so much was Cohen’s completely authentic, honest way of telling her story. She suffered a LOT of anguish and pain throughout her pregnancy, and she had to make decisions that most people hope to never be faced with. For a variety of reasons, she’d contemplated aborting and/or putting up for adoption her unborn child. She was completely upfront with the reader about the reasons for her thoughts and what impact the whole situation was having on her physically, emotionally, and mentally. She discussed topics that are definitely taboo to openly talk about, and her honesty was just so refreshing.
I can’t imagine going through what Cohen went through, but she brought everything to life in such a way that I almost can imagine it now, if that makes sense. Like I said, I have no experience with pregnancy or motherhood, but I was still instantly empathetic to Cohen’s situation because of how real she was and how much I connected to her while reading her story. Her personality made me feel instantly comfortable, it was almost like I was having a friend tell me about an experience, rather than read a book about a person I’ve never met.
I very much enjoyed Alice Eve Cohen’s brave memoir, What I Thought I Knew and can wholeheartedly recommend it. This is an extremely moving book with an authentic voice, one that I won’t soon forget.