Foreword Reviews

Woman Plans, God Laughs

Clarion Rating: 4 out of 5

Uplifting and inspirational, this memoir follows a woman through incredible challenges but remains positive throughout.

Woman Plans, God Laughs is Debie Monax’s account of her journey through diagnoses of multiple sclerosis and endometriosis, revealing the heartbreaking consequences of both. The lessons she learned from her struggles offer hope and reveal her genuine gratitude.

Just a few weeks before her wedding, Debie Monax went to the doctor with complaints of blurry vision; soon after, she was diagnosed with MS. When, a few years later, she and her husband attempted to have children, she discovered new medical issues she never thought she would have to encounter, including miscarriage and premature labor.

After the birth of her daughter, Monax’s cognitive function suffered. She left work on disability after a successful career as an accountant and auditor, adding another change in identity to the list. These sudden upsets in her life shifted her perspectives on family, marriage, and her career—for the positive, she concludes. Always trying to believe that everything happens for a reason, Monax humbly shares all the tragedies and joys she’s experienced.

In straightforward, unadorned, and friendly prose, the book generally moves in chronological order and is easy to read. It discusses pertinent aspects of Monax’s childhood, particularly the feeling of being a “new kid” (her family moved often because her father was in the military) and how these shaped her ability to handle tough changes in adulthood. It details how she decided on her accounting career, why she wanted children, and how she came to strengthen her religious beliefs.

Each chapter of Monax’s life is concisely explored but with plenty of room for inspiration. Though Monax describes her declining cognitive function, there is no evidence of this in the text; the writing is always clear. There is a lovely balance between straight-to-the-point passages and those that leave nothing out. The last couple of chapters become repetitive without sermonizing.

An upbeat and humble tone carries throughout. Monax achieves success in maneuvering difficult life circumstances by “focusing on what I do have and not what I don’t.” The book moves through heartbreak and happiness, retaining its grateful attitude and confidence through both. This positivity is contagious. Aside from a chapter dedicated to Catholicism, there’s even room for nonreligious inspiration.

Woman Plans, God Laughs is an uplifting memoir by a woman who remained true to herself even as her identity as a mother, career woman, and patient was challenged.

Reviewed by Aimee Jodoin

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the publisher will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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