Cover image for What I thought I knew : [a memoir]
Title:
What I thought I knew : [a memoir]
Author:
Cohen, Alice Eve.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Viking, [2009]

©2009
Physical Description:
194 pages ; 22 cm
General Note:
Subtitle from dust jacket.
Language:
English
Contents:
Act I. Unbridled good fortune -- Act II. What I know -- Act III. An unexpected life.
ISBN:
9780670020959
Format :
Book

Available:*

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HQ759 .C644 2009 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
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HQ759 .C644 2009 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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HQ759 .C644 2009 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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HQ759 .C644 2009 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
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HQ759 .C644 2009 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
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HQ759 .C644 2009 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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HQ759 .C644 2009 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
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HQ759 .C644 2009 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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HQ759 .C644 2009 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
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Summary

Summary

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 fianc 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.

What I Thought I Knew is a page-turner filled with vivid characters, humor, and many surprises and twists of fate. With the suspense of a thriller and the intimacy of a diary, Cohen describes her unexpected journey through doubt, a broken medical system, and the hotly contested terrain of motherhood and family in today's society. Timely and compelling, What I Thought I Knew will capture readers of memoirs such as Eat, Pray, Love ; The Glass Castle ; and A Three Dog Life .


Author Notes

Alice Eve Cohen is a playwright, solo theater artist, and memoirist. She has written for Nickelodeon and PBS and received fellowships and grants from the New York State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. She teaches at The New School in New York City.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

In 1999, Cohen, a writer and performer of solo plays, was 44, divorced with an 8-year-old adopted daughter, and engaged to Michael, 10 years her junior. Neither wanted more children, and Alice, in fact, had been told she could never conceive due to abnormalities caused by her mother's DES during pregnancy. Thus, when she felt a lump in her abdomen, neither she nor her gynecologist suspected pregnancy not until she was six months pregnant: a 44-year-old . . . in her third trimester, with a deformed uterus and no prenatal care. It's too late for an abortion, though Alice is fearful of all the problems her baby might face, including genital ambiguity, due to the synthetic hormones she had been taking for 14 years. Cohen traces her steps through the medical insurance quagmire, her attempt to keep working despite being placed on bed rest, her daughter Eliana's birth with shortened limbs and scoliosis, and her postpartum depression. Eventually the bills are paid, Eliana's leg surgeries are scheduled, and Alice is off antidepressants and writing again as evidenced by her compelling and edifying memoir.--Donovan, Deborah Copyright 2009 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

In this chronicle of a late-in-life pregnancy, New York City playwright and theater artist Cohen recalls an unlikely chain of events that, at age 44, transformed her life: "Three weeks ago I found out I was pregnant. Two weeks ago, I contemplated and rejected a late-term abortion. One week ago I was put on bed rest. I accepted my role as a miniature hospital, protecting a fragile life by lying on my left side and drinking Gatorade." Already the mother of an adopted daughter, Cohen's first experience with pregnancy is a minefield of physical and financial dangers: "[A] woman with no prenatal care for twenty-six weeks is a lousy insurance risk. To an obstetrician, she represents an expensive malpractice liability." Cohen questions herself-health, commitment and emotional readiness-and others while sorting through a growing mountain of advice, ultimately wondering whether one can ever be fully prepared to bring a baby into the world. Compelling, humanizing, and deeply honest, Cohen's narrative will get readers rooting for her growing family. (July) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.


Library Journal Review

Playwright Cohen feared the worst when she developed alarming symptoms-a large, hard lump in her lower abdomen, tenderness in her breasts, morning sickness, et. al. At 44, she was vulnerable to a host of deadly diseases. Apprehensive, she hurried to the hospital and received a startling diagnosis: pregnancy. With a fiancEe and an adoptive daughter, she is wholly unprepared for pregnancy, and, later, for parenting a daughter afflicted by a rare hormonal disease. Nonetheless, she comes to love her daughter, and, ultimately, to value her experience. Readers interested in the emotional hardships of pregnancy will relish this debut.-Lynne Maxwell, Villanova Univ. Sch. of Law Lib., PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.