There was a time in my life when I thought I would never have children, and I so wish I had This Particular Happiness then. Here, Jackie Shannon Hollis attempts to reconcile herself to the idea of forever living childless, and the result is raw, bittersweet, and painful. Examining every feeling of sorrow, jealousy, need, regret, and pain, she unspools her story like the counselor that she is, always asking why, always digging deeper. Can a woman live a happy, fulfilling life without having her own child? It's a question that is being asked more frequently these days than ever before, and one that deserves close scrutiny. Beautifully done with an open, honest voice, This Particular Happiness is a memoir of childlessness, happiness, and wholeness, and how those disparate things can entwine around a full life. Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
As a farm girl in eastern Oregon, feeding bottles to bummer lambs and babysitting her little sister, Jackie Shannon Hollis expected to become a mother someday. After a series of failed relationships, she met Bill, the man she wanted to spend her life with. But he was a man who never wanted children. Saying I do meant saying I don't to a rite of passage her body had prepared her for since puberty.
Told in short nonlinear chapters, This Particular Happiness explores the fracturing of female identity as Shannon Hollis questions her childless decision, navigates her roles as daughter and wife and sister and friend, and ultimately learns to listen to her own heart. This debut memoir is about what we keep and what we abandon to make space in our lives for love.
"We all know that having a child changes everything, but so, too, does not having one, and in Hollis's brave, moving memoir, she explores the bliss, the yearning, the making peace with a life she and her partner chose (and didn't choose), and how happiness takes on shapes we can never imagine. The perfect book for anyone contemplating motherhood — or not!" Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You
"This deeply engaging memoir wrestles with one of the most important questions of all: Why do we want what we want? Jackie Shannon Hollis explores how her own desires have been shaped by a culture that celebrates 'mother' more than any other role for women, and the possibilities that open up when she chooses not to play the role. A vibrant, absorbing, intimate book." Leni Zumas, author of Red Clocks
"With honesty, generosity, precision and insight, Hollis writes the story of her life — from her girlhood in rural Oregon, where she both broke and followed the rules, to her hard-earned self-acceptance at middle age. This Particular Happiness is a gloriously wise memoir about one woman's unexpected path to becoming." Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild
About the Author
Jackie Shannon Hollis, a lifelong Oregonian, resides with her husband in a home her friends call the tree house. Her education and work as a counselor pushed her to hold up the mirror to her own self. In addition to thinking she would be a mother, she once dreamed of being a June Taylor dancer or a racecar driver.
Jody Day is the author of Living the Life Unexpected and Rocking the Life Unexpected and the founder of Gateway Women, a network for childless women.
Jackie Shannon Hollis on PowellsBooks.Blog
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