I have just finished reading Who Could Have Imagined: Change Your Perspective, Transform Your Destiny by Dr. St. Hilaire.
The book begins a little like a conversation with an old friend. Bits and pieces of the story are thrown together a little haphazardly, but imaging yourself sitting at a table with a beverage and nodding along, the story pieces come together. The shocking teasers that the author both had her eldest child and was legally married (in the US) at 13, just pull the reader in deeper.
I appreciate the author’s point of view that marriages should be worked on and held together through tough times. However, I do not agree with her 7 year old self that it is better for a couple to stay married while arguing all the time. It is not necessarily better for the children than two happy homes. On the flip side, she certainly saw her share of failed and challenging homes. It is admirable that she chose to live her life differently for the sake of her children. Learning from her own childhood what she does and does not support and want for her own family.
This book is filled with powerful concepts like “Shame was a weapon for people who were not going to help but only judge.” (p61) At 13, the author had realized how much power she had to control her own life even though she was sorely lacking in understanding the world. Indeed this memoir is a mix of uneducated innocence and independent self-reliance. Intermixed is the honest relief when others used their knowledge to help or show compassion.
The most powerful lessons in this book center around deciding to survive, and choosing to last. She has many strategies that she used growing up to get through tough situations. However, through her marriage, it is the choosing to make time for each other and choosing to get through tough situations that has accomplished their goals. “Their goals” it is lessons like this changing their life from “Her/His goals” to “Their goals”.
The author does a fantastic job of keeping the tone of the book conversational. Occasionally, it is a little repetitive as if there was a break in the writing between chapters and the author is restarting the conversation by repeating the last thing said. However, most people would also read through the book this way, and a little review is helpful. Religion has its place in this story, and certainly been a huge influence on the author, however she does not beat the reader over the head with it, rather she shows how beneficial it has been for her, her family, and her community. I would recommend this book to any public library or anyone seeking to adjust their view on their own life to set tangible goals and learn from their experiences.