The Opposite of Certainty by Janine Urbaniak Reid | Book Review

What The Publishers Say About The Opposite of Certainty

What happens when we can no longer pretend that the ground underfoot is bedrock and the sky above predictable?

All Janine Urbaniak Reid ever wanted was for everyone she loved to be okay so she might relax and maybe be happy. Her life strategy was simple: do everything right. This included trying to be the perfect mother to her three kids so they would never experience the kind of pain she pretended not to feel growing up. What she didn’t expect was the chaos of an out-of-control life that begins when her young son’s hand begins to shake.

The Opposite of Certainty is the story of Janine’s reluctant journey beyond easy answers and platitudes. She searches for a source of strength bigger than her circumstances, only to have her circumstances become even thornier with her own crisis. Drawn deeply and against her will into herself, and into the eternal questions we all ask, she discovers hidden reserves of strength, humor, and a no-matter-what faith that looks nothing like she thought it would.

Beautifully written and deeply hopeful, Janine shows us how we can come through impossible times transformed and yet more ourselves than we’ve ever allowed ourselves to be.

What I Say About The Opposite of Certainty

From the opening line, Janine Urbaniak Reid’s memoir was instantly relatable – “I want to tell this story as if it happened to someone else,” she writes – and from reading about an experience that includes dealing with a  child’s illness, it is easy to see why a parent might want to remove themselves from the narrative. Boze grozi. Polish for What did you do to make God so mad at you? What did you do wrong that caused your child to be sick? Despite the difficult subject matter, the book was easy to read and enthralling all the way through. Janine describes challenges plaguing many mothers – deciding whether to work outside the home or devote her time to raising the children, and what that means for her other identities as a wife and indeed as a woman in her own right. But even more than that, she delves into the issues that existed long before she took on those other selves, exploring the depth of her early life. The memoir emphasizes religious faith and how its discovery helps in the definition and experience of the issues plaguing Reid and her family and it was inspiring to read about their overcoming the challenges.  I liked that the book begins in the future so there isn’t a tense will-he-won’t-he as we go through the diagnosis and treatment of her son’s illness because although we know he is changed, we also know he is alive and thriving and that allows the reader to focus on everything else the author wants to communicate – the difficulty of finding a diagnosis, championing for health care and the effects that the experience has on everyone involved. Reading this book invites introspection into our own experiences but it also gives hopeful perspective and spreads a feeling of warmth as though the reader has invited you into the intimacies of her life. The Opposite of Certainty is a book to recommend to any parent or any who’s ever navigated the health care system, either as a patient or a nervous care giver. 


What Her Peer Reviewers Say About The Opposite of Certainty

“Brilliant, rich…breathtakingly honest and sometimes very funny.”  —Anne Lamott

“Extraordinary.” —Caroline Leavitt

“Observant and warm…the finest company.”—Kelly Corrigan

Book Information

  • Title: The Opposite of Certainty
  • Author: Janine Urbaniak Reid
  • Pages: 273
  • Format: Paperback
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishing
  • Publication Date: May 12, 2020

Thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishing and TLC Book Tours for providing a complimentary copy of The Opposite of Certainty in order for me to complete this review. I was not otherwise compensated and the above reflects my honest opinions about the book.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

Connect with Janine

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Sara Strand says:

    It was so heartbreaking, and terrifying as a mom myself, but I could really relate to a lot of her feelings, for totally different reasons. Loved it. Thank you for being on this tour! Sara @ TLC Book Tours


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