The Year My Mother Came Back

A powerful, poetic, magical, meaningful new memoir

motherFor the first time in decades I’m remembering Mom, all of her–the wonderful and terrible things about her that I’ve cast out of my thoughts for so long. I’m still struggling to prevent these memories from erupting from their subterranean depths. Trying to hold back the flood. I can’t, not today. The levees break.

Thirty years after her death, Alice Eve Cohen’s mother – (who had taken DES when pregnant) – appears to her, seemingly in the flesh, and continues to do so during the hardest year Alice has had to face: the year her youngest daughter needs a harrowing surgery, her eldest daughter decides to reunite with her birth mother, and Alice herself receives a daunting diagnosis. As it turns out, it’s entirely possible for the people we’ve lost to come back to us when we need them the most.

Although letting her mother back into her life is not an easy thing, Alice approaches it with humor, intelligence, and honesty. What she learns is that she must revisit her childhood and allow herself to be a daughter once more in order to take care of her own girls. Understanding and forgiving her mother’s parenting transgressions leads her to accept her own and to realize that she doesn’t have to be perfect to be a good mother.

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What I thought I knew, Video with Alice Eve Cohen

Video by PenguinGroupUSA, Published on June 2009

Solo theater artist Alice Eve Cohen knew that childbearing was simply impossible – her own mother had taken DES, and Alice had a deformed uterus, among other disqualifiers. So when what doctors misdiagnosed as a tumor turned out to be a 6-month fetus, the 44-year-old Alice had to wrestle with clueless specialists, cavalier insurance companies, and her own no-see-um maternal instincts. A personal and medical odyssey beyond anything most women would believe possible.

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What I thought I knew

A Memoir by Alice Eve Cohen

What I thought I knew, a Memoir by Alice Eve Cohen on Flickr #DES #Pregnancy
Completely infertile, Alice’s doctor said. Then, she got pregnant…

Solo theater artist Alice Eve Cohen knew that childbearing was simply impossible – her own mother had taken DES, and Alice had a deformed uterus, among other disqualifiers. So when what doctors misdiagnosed as a tumor turned out to be a 6-month fetus, the 44-year-old Alice had to wrestle with clueless specialists, cavalier insurance companies, and her own no-see-um maternal instincts.

Her darkly hilarious memoir, What I Thought I Knew is a page-turner filled with vivid characters, 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.
Be aware that this book is not for the faint of heart. It definitely tackles some difficult issues.

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