Book Review: Of This Much I’m Sure: A Memoir
Monday, May 8, 2017 at 9:29PM
Windy City Reviews

Of This Much I’m Sure: A Memoir. Nadine Kenney Johnstone. She Writes Press/Spark Point Studio, LLC, April 11, 2017, Trade Paperback and Kindle, 329 pages.

Reviewed by Deb Lecos.

Of This Much I’m Sure is the author’s story of her brave fight to bring a child into her loving marriage. Nadine Kenney Johnstone answers the question, “How far will perseverance carry someone when there are no guarantees of a happy ending?” The author navigates the often demeaning and disempowering situations that accompany infertility as well as a medical disaster that nearly takes her life. The reader is brought into the story as the young woman is striving to use her voice, learning to trust her intuition, and grappling with balancing her needs with those of her extended family.

The experiences that shape Ms. Johnstone’s parenting journey are woven throughout Of This Much I’m Sure: the impromptu introduction to her husband, Jamie, and subsequent move to an unfamiliar and more rural area; her ongoing difficulty asking for what she needs; her painful and strained relationships with her mother and sister. The author is candid about the devastating moments when she wants to stop trying to conceive, the anguish that at times overwhelms infertile couples when friends and family become pregnant, and what happens when a pregnancy test is finally positive.

The pages of this memoir are full of frank descriptions of the toll infertility takes on a woman’s body and mind. The reader sees the moments of intuition that lead Ms. Johnstone to her own happy ending. Shortly after a doctor asserts to Nadine and Jamie that they are unlikely to have a baby without medical intervention, the Johnstone’s are shocked to discover that Nadine is pregnant. Though it seems the young couple scaled their biggest hurdle, their difficulties continue when an ultrasound shows their fetus with a potentially deadly malformation. Undeterred, the young mother continues fighting for her unborn child, courageously holding onto optimism when facts could have easily given way to despair.

Stories of infertility or difficult baby making are not often shared. Ms. Johnstone, however, shares the truth of what it feels like to be childless when it seems the world is full of children, which makes this memoir an inspiring and helpful read for others who may be searching for their own happy ending. She tells the truth about how couples struggle to remember who they were when they met, how they wonder if they’ll ever be content again, how they feel they must keep their pain hidden behind polite smiles when their friends become parents, and how they endure both the sadness and the joy that accompanies birthdays and holidays.

Ms. Johnstone’s gripping and honest account of her struggles to become a mother provides would-be and new parents insight into how to maintain peace of mind in order to experience what a difficult, spontaneous, and magical life has to offer.  


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