Who Could Have Imagined

Change Your Perspective, Transform Your Destiny

Non-Fiction - Memoir
202 Pages
Reviewed on 05/18/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite

Who Could Have Imagined: Change Your Perspective, Transform Your Destiny by Aliette St. Hilaire is one woman’s story of adversity, resilience, transformation, and triumph. Though it may sound like your typical life story about overcoming the odds, you will find no romanticizing of the subject in its pages. What you get is the anatomy of a doctor - from her humble beginnings as a young immigrant to her journey to become a medical practitioner, mother, and wife. Choice plays an important part in her life story, as self-actualization or her desire for personal fulfillment features at the top of her personal needs hierarchy. Similarly, spiritual factors serve as an essential tool in helping her navigate through contemporary social issues.

Reading Aliette St. Hilaire’s Who Could Have Imagined gives you insight into her extraordinary journey and proves that the choices you make determine whether or not you can overcome adversities and improve your lot in life. Although this first-person narrative is simple in its structure, it has a powerful rhythmic flow where issues of status, gender, and faith reverberate. Moreover, it covers other relevant themes like marriage, immigration, discrimination, medical practice, and ethical issues. St. Hilaire is not trying to project herself as a hero. Her objective is to give you an unadulterated look into the events and circumstances that shaped her to become the person that she is. Her narrative is candid to the point that you can tell there is no masking of feelings, especially when she talks about patient discrimination. The sheer volume of problems and issues that she managed to handle in the course of her journey is inspiring. It is something that we can all learn from and a good reason to pick up this book.

Philip Van Heusen

Dr. Aliette St. Hilaire is an impressive T.O.G.G. (Trophy of God’s Grace). In her book, Who Could Have Imagined…Change Your Perspective, Transform Your Destiny, Aliette shares her story of how God took a social disaster and made her into an inspiration for all. Imagine an idyllic life in the Bahamas. Next, switch the image to Miami, where Aliette’s family moved for a better life. Unfortunately, the new life was anything but better. Aliette suffered abuse and rejection. Enter the next-door neighbor, Michelange. He informs Aliette that they are going to get married. It turns out he was right. At the tender age of 13, Aliette was pregnant and married Michelange, almost twice her age. Things were pretty hard and seemed to be going nowhere fast. Then, God intervenes and has Aliette listen to Tony Evans on the radio. When Aliette started writing about listening to Tony Evans, I literally had goose (Spirit) bumps. God comes on the scene, and when God comes into any situation, God changes everything.

God has the excellent habit of taking people who are broken and healing them. I always say that God uses broken pots. When we give God the ashes of our life, he always turns those ashes into something beautiful (Isaiah 61:3). Who Could Have Imagined… is gripping and inspiring. This is a true story about a couple whose marriage was doomed from the beginning. Aliette was pregnant and only 13. Michelange was going to prison, but God worked out the details and allowed them to marry. This exciting story shows the power of God to take any situation and turn it around. Aliette and her husband, Michelange, have three blessed children: Michael, Christopher, and Andrew. God had Aliette St. Hilaire beat the odds and earn her Doctor of Nurse Anesthesiology Practice from Barry University. She shares that if she can do it, so can any young woman, even in the face of pregnancy. She does not advise teens to become pregnant, but she has a love for them and understands from personal experience.

Rabia Tanveer

Who Could Have Imagined: Change Your Perspective, Transform Your Destiny by Aliette St. Hilaire is a memoir in which the author recounts the loss of her innocence, experiencing poverty, and then rebuilding herself as she found God. The memoir opens as Aliette shares how she is 43 years old but has a 30-year-old son. Born in the Bahamas, Aliette and her family moved from the Bahamas at age 6 and she got married to Michelange when she was just 13 years old. Society expected her to lose herself after she gave birth to her first child, but Aliette was different. She was determined to prove them wrong, and with God by her side, her journey is meant to be an inspiration for many lost souls. It wasn’t all roses and sunshine, but it wasn’t a sob story either. Her memoir is an example of men and women who go through tough times and still pull through.

I loved the narrative style in Who Could Have Imagined. Instead of feeling a sense of dread, the account was calm, collected, and cool. Aliette St. Hilaire brought readers into her life and shared every detail from her early childhood to adulthood. The opening of the book was impressive. Stating her age and the age of her eldest son Michael was the perfect shocker to entice readers and make them want to learn more. I loved how positive Aliette is. Even when she was going through the toughest of times, she kept her chin up and focused on her future. There wasn’t an ounce of anger at the world or what had happened to her. She was determined, kept her faith close to her heart, and decided to live life on her terms. I would highly recommend this encouraging memoir to anyone who needs a boost of optimism and confidence.

Jennie More

Who Could Have Imagined by Dr. Aliette St. Hilaire is a memoir detailing the author's life; impregnated at age 12 and married at age 13, marrying a man ten years her senior. From this very tender age, Aliette's life was already set out for her before it had even really begun and before she had the maturity to choose. In her memoir, she unpacks how she flipped the script. Instead of continuing her current life trajectory, with other people deciding for her, Aliette intentionally makes the choices that would propel her into a new future. She does so by building on the things she didn't ask for and developing these into a strong marriage and a beautiful family, something that no one could have imagined was possible for her. Who could have imagined it is about overcoming the bad cards that life deals you and not accepting them as your end, making good choices, persevering through difficulties, and having God at the core of it all.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Who Could Have Imagined by Dr. Aliette St. Hilaire. Her story has a tragic start and most probably would have remained that way as her childhood pregnancy could have become the defining moment in her life. However, she was persistent in telling a different story, her own story, a story of hope and faith. Aliette deals with complex issues. As you read her story, which is inspiring, it still leaves me thinking of the injustice of childhood pregnancy and how it results from absent parents and broken families. Who Could Have Imagined made me think deeply about the importance of a solid family structure to give children the foundation to feel safe, guided, and loved at home. It also made me think deeply about the importance of marriage and modeling a loving marriage to your children. The memoir left me feeling hopeful that anything is possible, no matter what has happened to you in your life. However, it also left me thinking about the injustices that children face in this world and the importance of thinking deeply about these issues so that we can find a way of addressing them.

Susan van der Walt

According to general opinion, girls falling pregnant at twelve do not have much of a future. But this was not the first time Aliette St. Hilaire defies the odds. At the age of thirteen, she convinced the judge to allow her to marry the father of her child, ten years older than she. Their marriage of more than thirty years started off rocky, and together they had to face many challenges. But Aliette realized at an early age that you determine your future through your choices. Living by this motto - 'Change Your Perspective, Transform Your Destiny' - has enabled her to build a happy marriage, raise three boys, and become a nurse anesthetist. In Who Could Have Imagined, Aliette tells her story to encourage and inspire other women to work toward the future they want.

Writing an autobiography takes great courage; to put yourself out there and have to face many painful memories from the past. I admire Aliette St. Hilaire for the honest way she shares her thoughts and feelings. Significantly, her pain when she discovered that her husband got her pregnant on purpose so that she would marry him led her to consider getting a divorce. Aliette's story will give many women hope that they can also reach their goals through grit and determination. But the author also teaches us about forgiveness, continuing to grow in yourself and your relationships, and how faith in God's plan will give you the strength to succeed.