A life’s journey

This particular happiness by Jackie Shannon Hollis (Forest Avenue Press) reviewed by Jean Ellis-Parr.

Jackie Shannon Hollis was raised in Oregon with the expectation that one day she would have children. After a few unsuccessful relationships she met and married Bill who did not want children. This Particular Happiness tells the story of how Jackie reconciles herself to this situation.

I was raised in a small, working class town in Northern England. I had dreamt of motherhood until my 30s when a cancer diagnosis ended those dreams. I remember my mum saying, ‘you’ll always be a mother to someone’ and curiously I found that fulfilment supporting others through their cancer journey. It was through that experience I developed the confidence in my innate skills to apply them as an Executive Coach and develop my knowledge of, and interest in psychology.

Still, I was initially drawn to this book as a story of childlessness. I thought it would give me the silver bullet to forget that particular void and find happiness in spite of it. Rather I found a beautiful story, written in a clear and matter of fact way, of a life’s journey; told with the sort of insight you might expect from someone who works as a counsellor (as Jackie did). A life with trauma, expectation, disappointment, joy, connection, pain, love, loss and acceptance. A life all at once different to mine and yet with the same desires and disappointments. Within this deeply intimate exploration Jackie shares great insight and teachings in how to find happiness. A beautiful lesson for anyone and for all time.

- Reviewed by Jean Ellis-Parr, Business and Executive Coach and Transformation Leader in NHS.

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