Read The Possibility of Everything: A Memoir by Hope Edelman Online


 Look for the discussion guide insideIn the autumn of 2000, Hope Edelman was a woman adrift, questioning her marriage, her profession, and her place in the larger world. Feeling vulnerable and isolated, she was primed for change. The Possibility of Everything is the story of the change that found her. A chronicle of her extraordinary leap of faith, it begins when her three Look for the discussion guide insideIn the autumn of 2000, Hope Edelman was a woman adrift, questioning her marriage, her profession, and her place in the larger world. Feeling vulnerable and isolated, she was primed for change. The Possibility of Everything is the story of the change that found her. A chronicle of her extraordinary leap of faith, it begins when her three-year-old daughter, Maya, starts exhibiting unusual and disruptive behavior. Confused and worried, Edelman and her husband make an unorthodox decision: They take Maya to Belize, suspending disbelief and chasing the promise of an alternative cure. This deeply affecting, beautifully written memoir of a family’s emotional journey and a mother’s intense love explores what Edelman and her husband went looking for in the jungle and what they ultimately discovered—as parents, as spouses, and as ordinary people—about the things that possess and destroy, or that can heal us all. ...

Title : The Possibility of Everything: A Memoir
Author :
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ISBN : 9780345506511
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 368 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The Possibility of Everything: A Memoir Reviews

  • Snow Ford
    2019-05-19 05:04

    I mostly believe in the saying "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all", but there are a few things I need to share about Hope Edelman's book, The Possibility of Everything. In this memoir recounting her family’s experience of going to Belize to exorcize her 3 yr old daughter of the imaginary playmate "Dodo", Edelman says she thinks there are two types of mothers. Those who trust and those who do. She pegs herself as one of those who "do", a tinkerer always trying to fix her daughters life. From my experience though there are two other types of mothers. Those who believe that their role is to be a leader for their child, guiding them as best they can to best decision. Then there are the mothers who totally let their children run the show, make the decisions and lead the parents, as if the parents are some type of biological servant. Hope Edelman seems to fall in the camp of the latter. From her descriptions of her exchanges with her daughter, it rarely seems like she takes any type of leadership role with her daughter or sets any boundaries. And with regard to letting her daughter blame all of her bad behavior on "Dodo", it goes to the extreme. My second son had an invisible friend. He was clear to point out to us that Rolo was "invisible" not "imaginary". Rolo had an invisible mom, brother, extended family. He lived at a local church and he also made the trees move. If my youngest tried to pawn off any of his behavior on Rolo, I was clear, maybe Rolo did it, but Chance was the one who I could see and give a time out too, Rolo would just have to get a time out from his invisible mom. Because really, what does it matter what the reason your child hits you? It's still wrong. You wouldn't let them get away with it if they said "Billy over there told me to do it". Why let them off the hook because they are creative enough to pin it on some one conveniently hard to locate? While I am happy equilibrium was reestablished in Hope's family after her daughters healing. I wonder how much of the process was protracted by the parent’s lack of self assuredness. One can only hope that this experience made her a more confident mother, one willing to play and be creative with her child, met her at her 3 yr old level and then take her by the hand and gently say, "Now we are going to go this way".

  • Rachel
    2019-05-09 00:09

    I had a hard time with this book. I felt Ms. Edelman was an over-anxious mother making a mountain out of a mole-hill. Yes, when it's your child that is going through something, everything seems like a big deal; but it was hard to read about it in this book. I kept thinking, if she is so worried about her daughter, why doesn't she just get rid of the nanny, the daycare/pre-school, and spend more time with her being her mother! Young children today are too scheduled and farmed out - as mothers, our primary responsibility is to be at home, available to our children particularly when they are young.Okay off my soap box, I am happy to learn that Ms. Edelman did find hope through her experience. Everything IS possible with faith in God and prayer; at least she started to see a glimpse of that. It was interesting reading of their family's travels in Belize. Ms. Edelman did a good job of describing her experiences there and I also enjoyed learning more about Shamans and what they do. So the book wasn't a total flop but just not my style.

  • Margie
    2019-05-15 06:25

    I won an advance review copy of this book via GoodReads giveaways. The book will become available in September 2009.If I could give three and a half stars, I would. The strength of Edelman's writing is evident in the fact that I was engrossed even though Edelman herself (as a character in her own story) drove me bananas. My parenting style is so different from hers, and there were so many points in the story where I felt like yelling, "You idiot! Why would you do that?!?", that a lesser writer would have lost me as a reader.There were some spots in the book where it seemed as though she was more comfortable writing travel articles than memoirs; some bits just didn't fit well together. The writing itself is good in both areas. They just don't meld as well as they might.It's not the type of book I would normally pick up at a bookstore, but I'm glad to have read it. It didn't feel like a waste of time.

  • Gena
    2019-05-18 05:20

    The letter from the publisher that was enclosed with this advanced reader copy entreated me to suspend my disbelief for a while. It also should have told me to stop thinking how I would've handled the situation, and just go with it.I truly enjoyed the parts of the story that were focused on their sometimes difficult but always loving family dynamic, their interactions with the other travelers and the beautiful people of Belize, and I sometimes felt voyeuristic reading what felt like the pages of a personal journal. The interspersed historic details about the Maya calendar, the stars, the Maya kings, etc. were sometimes very dry and I would skim over them. I know the author was trying to make a bridge between her story of her family's struggle and the culture they were traveling within.Hope Edelman is a complicated, introspective and firmly grounded woman trying her best to juggle the roles of loving wife, mother, and working author. That was clear. Her own struggle accepting and having faith in the shaman's recommendations to "cure" her daughter made it an easier, more believable read for me. Instead of attributing faith to something specific, she expounded upon her belief in the "possibility of everything." I actually appreciated and enjoyed reading her viewpoint on that and also her understanding of herself as a mother who "does" things to insure the success of her child instead of being one who can "trust" their child will naturally be a success.Ultimately, I enjoyed this book enough to actively find time to read it. I wanted to know what happened next whether or not I bought into the premise. I also am drawn to read the author's earlier memoirs about losing her mother at an early age. Even in this memoir, being a motherless daughter is something that clearly haunts her every single day, and I wonder how much that loss contributed to her exploration of any avenue -- spiritual or otherwise -- to ensure she is being the best mother to her own daughter.

  • Deb
    2019-05-13 04:58

    Ugh. The only thing that saved this book was the details provided about Belize and the Mayan culture. Hope Eddleman is hopelessly neurotic and self indulgent. Unfortunately, she also chose to read the audio version and it was just as whiny as I imagine her to be in real life. She is part of the mommy subculture who do Waldorf school (only to brag about it), have play dates with celebrity moms (only to brag about it), and have a nanny (all the while whining about how much time being a mother steals from her career). The children of these people are often wild and crazy with little discipline, whose parents wheedle and bargain "good behavior" from. She castrates her husband for working 90 hours a week, leaving her to raise Maya "alone" with the nanny, daycare and playdates. Seriously, having kids is not that hard, especially for those who seem to have it all. Try working full time and raising 5 boys! I think Ms. Eddleman would be a pile of jelly. But hey, at least she would have lots more material for future books. I will pass on those though.

  • Barbjo
    2019-05-17 23:56

    I bought this book for Kindle after hearing the author speak on a local public radio show. The show is kind of new-agey, so I should have known what to expect. In reality, there was another book featured on the show that I'd wanted to buy, but it wasn't available yet, so I settled for this one.I spent the first half of the book constantly aggravated by the author/narrator's myopia as she agonized over her three-year-old daughter's imaginary friend. She seemed like one of those overly-anxious, overly-perfectionistic mothers who both spoil their children and spoil their fun.By the time I was three-quarters of the way through, though, I'd come to be fond of this little family and of the narrator and admired her ability to change and grow. I enjoyed their adventures in Belize and their ability to appreciate those around them and even to confront people who challenged them with grace and honesty.In the end, though, I was shocked that the author never saw that the imaginary friend was probably a response to her own overweening parenting style.

  • Laura
    2019-04-26 23:59

    I listened to the audio version of this book, which is wonderfully read by the author herself. The story was so engrossing that it was difficult to get out of the car when I'd arrive at my destination! Edelman reminded me of so many modern, rational, well-traveled and highly educated American mothers who approach parenting as a project for which one can do extensive research, consult the right experts and feel prepared for anything life throws at you... Very much the approach I've taken myself, in fact, as well as most of the mothers in my social circle.So what happens when this approach stops working and the previously impossible and even inconceivable actually comes to pass? The experiences Edelman and her husband and daughter had with shamen in Belize are hard to explain using the usual constructs. All I will say is that it is worth reading this book with an open mind. And if you like this one, also read Rupert Isaacson's "The Horse Boy."

  • Keely
    2019-05-16 01:20

    I loved this book not only because I could relate on many levels (the trials in parenting and marriage, dealing with one's own skepticism and reality, being in a constant state of healing from early motherloss), but because Hope Edelman is just a great writer. She's honest and funny, and not in a "trying to be really funny" kind of way. I loved the pace of the story, as well-- I dig the details and the how's and why's. The trip to the Mayan ruins was so friggin' detailed, I felt like I was trudging through the heat alongside her, trying to keep up her with kid. Sharing the somewhat spooky tale of her daughter's "imaginary friend" was nail-biting, especially because I have a 3 year old of my own. I'd suggest this to anyone who enjoys "different" memoirs, other mothers, especially those who have dealt with motherloss, and anyone who is married and feels that love gets a little sticky sometimes. Loved it.

  • Pamela
    2019-04-27 06:26

    After reading this book I realized I must be the most laid-back, non-neurotic, un-self-actualized mom (of 3) on the planet. I actually had to go back to the beginning and confirm that in the space of three or four months this woman took her three-year-old's imaginary playmate from a normal part of development to a condition requiring the intervention of -- well just about anyone who had an idea about what was 'wrong' with her child.

  • S. Div.
    2019-04-28 03:26

    I really wanted to get into this book and enjoy the author's journey to finding more to Life. As a shamanic practitioner, I am very interested in stories of modern mystics, considering the lack of tribal support, and I am equally drawn to the tribeless who seek them for healing. Given that, I never felt drawn into the story. I wanted to feel the passion of her journey, but all I felt was her insecurity, anxiety, doting worry. This is a modern woman's "Jonathan Livingston Seagull," though not nearly as heartfelt or poetic. I enjoyed the writing, for the most part, though the author's cynicism frequently interrupts the flow, creating distance rather than drawing me into her perspective. Her rigid insistence against the spiritual, even when she doubted her beloved science, did not make me sympathetic to her at all. In fact, at times I just felt flat out sorry for her husband and child. I got a little lost with the constant references to her mother's death, which seemed poised to burst into some kind of present observation and never did. She just talks around learning to cherish every moment and knowing that through her daughter she gets to re-experience her mother, to some degree. Likewise her meandering through memories of lovers and former relationships, the illness of her father, combined with leaps forward, beyond the chronology of the story just didn't work for me. They came across disjointed and not tied into the plot. It read like a private journal and not as a polished, edited book.In terms of her leap of faith, I applaud the author and I firmly believe the experience chronicled in this memoir was life-changing for her. I just didn't feel that she conveyed it with the passion or power it gifted her. Having spent time in Belize, I thoroughly enjoyed her descriptions of the people, places and cultural nuances of her travels, though her observations of being a reasonably wealthy American in a poverty-stricken country were oddly limited. She touches on the cultural appropriation of venturing to Belize for her own gain but she never develops the idea, let alone devises how she can give back for the gifts her family received. I know that part of the proceeds of the book go to charities there, but that was not included in the story. It's a side note on her website.For those who are testing new spiritual boundaries, this book will speak to them. For those who comfortable outside the box, this book will likely be coarse and be a welcomed reminder of compassion.

  • Glenn
    2019-05-06 01:18

    I won this in a Goodreads giveaway. The memoir is about a husband and wife who have a daughter named Maya who starts acting out after acquiring an imaginary friend named Dodo. Most of the book centers around their travels to Belize for vacation in late 2000 when Maya was 3 years old and they decide to visit a shaman to see if he can help her.I don't know how to feel about this book. At times I wanted to tell the mother she was trying way too hard and that her daughter Maya would eventually grow out of having an imaginary friend named "Dodo" and acting out, sometimes violently. At other times, it seemed as if Maya was one of the special extreme cases where help would be required to address her behavior issues. At times I felt frustrated at the parents, who should have put their foot down and let Maya know that they were the parents and she was the child and they weren't going to stand for her outbursts. At other times, I felt empathy for them as parents having great difficulty settling down an unruly child. At times, I felt the parents were wasting time seeing a shaman while vacationing in Belize. I won't give away the results of the prescibed treatments by the shaman, other than to say they seemed somewhat unbelieveable to me.Overall I felt ambiguous and on the fence about what the parents did to try and help Maya, but I guess it's easy for an outsider to make these statements from afar, and unless you live it yourself, I imagine it's difficult to understand.Overall, the memoir was well written. One pet peeve - she makes mention a couple of times about the 2000 election being stolen by George Bush. She injected her political views into the memoir even though they were not integral and had nothing to do with the storyline.

  • Terri
    2019-05-18 07:02

    If this rating system would allow, I would have given this book 3 1/2 stars. This book was a quick read for me. The writing was smooth and kept my interest throughout. I couldn't put it down because I was dying to know how Maya would end up as well as how Hope, Maya's mother and the author, would evolve. Or if she WOULD evolve. I didn't know much about the Mayan's before reading this book other than their calendar and how advanced their civilization was. I learned a great deal more about their social structure, their buildings and their spiritual beliefs. I found it fascinating how in Belize no one bats an eye over the belief that a small child's imaginary friend is connected to her spirituality. I loved that they understood and still understand that spirtiual/mind/body are all linked together. And here in America we think we are advanced! I found the subject matter to be extremely interesting and if you are interested enough in the summary of this book to pick it up, then you will most likely feel the same way. The only negative I had about the book was that while I was dying to find out the spiritual answers to Maya's problem, I was led through the history and intricacies of the Mayans and the interactions of this family with other resort guests. However, now that I've finished the book, I feel that all of these contributed well to the story and gave a well rounded picture of this family and what led them on this path of searching for answers, other than the typical answers one would find in our modern world.

  • Cindy Meilink
    2019-05-12 02:00

    I began the book on Sunday and finished on Monday, so perhaps that gives you some idea of what I thought of the book.This is the first book I've read by Hope Edelman, and it won't be my last. Some so called "memoirs" are written solely because the author thinks he/she has something that everyone will want to read about and are written without regard for how it will be received by the reader. Words are flung about without form or function and the result is a flat narrative that puts the reader to sleep halfway through the second chapter. Not so with Ms. Edelman...This author has the ability to take a story about her daughter and draw the readers in so that we take the journey with her. She has that unique talent of knowing how to pace the story and how much background/historical data to impart to keep the reader turning the pages. She is a wordmeister who chooses her words with care, keeping the story flowing throughout.I try to read about 100 books a year and The Possibility of Everything will go on my top 10 list. The book comes out in September (I lucked into an advance copy) so be sure to give it a read.Cindy

  • Beth Anne
    2019-05-11 04:17

    a goodreads win, continuing my streak of exceptional advance copy reads.i was extremely engrossed in this book, from page one straight through to the end. i found the story of this families' trials and tribulations due to a newly discovered "invisible friend" of Maya, the 3 year old daughter, very intriguing. i was immediately surprised and taken aback by what the parents thought the invisible friend really was, and the decisions that both parents made to release their family from it. what i found most interesting, though, was that the author didn't quite believe in her own decision...and this memoir chronicled the struggle that she went through to "believe" in something bigger than order to keep her family together.i can't say i was inspired...which is what i think she was going for...but i can say that i found the story incredibly interesting...and well written.

  • Terry
    2019-05-23 00:21

    Mmmm... I think some of the aspects of this book were very interesting, especially the parts about "alternative" healing, so anyone with an interest in that might like this book. But you'll have to wade through a lot of complaints about how hard it is to be upper middle class. *cough* I feel also that Edelman was pushed to make the book longer, and so there are E X T E N S I V E swaths of history of Mayan pyramids that didn't seem connected to the point of her book. I also have to say that her daughter's mysterious "dis-ease" was fascinating, but some of the descriptions of her behavior and Edelman's defensive responses read a lot more like pure brattiness and entitled-mother-who-can't-believe-people-in-restaurants-would-criticize-her-for-letting-her-daughter-scream-and-crawl-under-tables.

  • Julia Smillie
    2019-04-26 03:23

    When Hope Edelman's three-year-old daughter develops an imaginary friend who has a dark impact on her behavior, the pragmatic Edelman and her decidedly more spiritual husband embark on a vacation to Belize -- where they take their daughter to see a Maya shaman in the hopes of healing her.It would be easy to dismiss this whole journey out of hand: "Take a child to a shaman for an imaginary friend? Nuts!" What makes this book so riveting, though, is Edelman's brave honesty about her own inner conflict, how she questions the sanity of everything they do, while at the same time she is driven by a deep, primal desire to see her child get well. It's a beautifully written account of how her instincts as a mother ultimately trump -- or at least rival -- her skepticism and the willingness that opens up against the magical backdrop of Belize and its ancient Maya culture. A lovely book.

  • JillRock
    2019-05-10 07:18

    I was fortunate to win an advanced reader copy of this book through story is about a mother's quest to rid her daughter of her imaginary friend through whatever means necessary, even if they are unconventional, to say the least. It reads as part memoir, part travel diary, and part spiritual guide. While I went into the story with my defenses up (seriously? a spiritual healer to get rid of an imaginary friend?), the book quickly appealed to the new mother in me. It had me questioning what I would do in a similar situation and helped me to view spirituality as less of a black-and-white issue. While I found parts of the story to be too history-laden, for the most part, I was sucked in from the beginning.

  • Debra
    2019-05-19 02:17

    I found this book hard to get into, possibly because I'm past that stage of having small children to raise. Also, I don't think I would ever take my child to a shaman in Belize to find a cure to get rid of an imaginary friend. The Mother seemed to make all the problems worse by the way she reacted to them. There is a lot of detail about the Mayan pyramids which I think could have been excluded since it didn't add anything to the story. It was interesting to hear about alternative ways to cure ailments but it's not something I would ever do myself.

  • Marit
    2019-04-29 05:02

    Worst book I've read in years. 'Nuff said.

  • Mia
    2019-04-29 05:25

    Ugh. Whiny self-centeredness + self-serving parenting + dash of mysticism-of-the- month = this book.

  • Amy Meyer
    2019-05-11 03:02

    Title: The Possibility of EverythingAuthor: Hope EdelmanISBN: 978-0-345-50650-4Pages: 323Release Date: September 15, 2009Publisher: Ballantine BooksGenre: MemoirRating: 4.5 out of 5Summary: In the autumn of 2000, Hope Edelman was a woman adrift, questioning her marriage, her profession, and her place in the larger world. Feeling vulnerable and isolated, she was primed for change. Into her stagnant routine dropped Dodo, her three-year-old daughter Maya's curiously disruptive imaginary friend. Confused and worried about how to handle Dodo's apparent hold on their daughter, Edelman and her husband made the unlikely choice to take her to Maya healers in Belize, hoping that a shaman might help them banish Dodo—and, as they came to understand, all he represented—from their lives. An account of how an otherwise mainstream mother and wife finds herself making an extremely unorthodox choice, The Possibility of Everything chronicles the magical week in Central America that transformed Edelman from a person whose past had led her to believe only in the visible and the "proven" to someone open to the idea of larger, unseen forces. This deeply affecting, beautifully written memoir of a family's emotional journey explores what Edelman and her husband went looking for in the jungle and what they ultimately discovered—as parents, as spouses, and as ordinary people—about the things that possess and destroy, or that can heal us all. My thoughts: I've read Hope Edelman before. Her first book, Motherless Daughters (published in 1994) was a sad and moving book, but at the same time I found it inspiring and supportive. It gave me the strength and courage I needed to move forward with my life at a time when things were not so great. Therefore, when I had the opportunity to read her new memoir, The Possibility of Everything, I jumped at the chance. And I wasn't disappointed. The book is a brutally honest, captivating story of a mother and wife on a quest to rid her daughter, and by extension, her family, of a troubling imaginary friend (who also plays the role of foe) and discovers the love, the strength and the joy that binds her, her husband and her daughter together.Hope is a woman who worries about everything, particularly anything related to her daughter, Maya, her husband Uzi, and her family. She also has intense control issues. Thus, when Hope has something concrete to worry about, she imagines the worst possible outcome in order to guard against it, despite the fact she thinks of this imagined outcome as a given. She lives in constant fear of anything and everything from rats to car-jackers, mean-spirited book-reviews to breast cancer. She doesn't think her husband cares about or is concerned enough about the family. He works late and Hope sees this as evidence that he is distant and a less than perfect parent. At times she seems sure they shouldn't be together. Although Hope says she's aware of the differences between mothers and fathers as parents she expects Uzi to be very similar to her. She wants him to remember every detail of Maya's life and when he doesn't she resents him and writes him off as a lesser parent. Despite these seemingly frustrating traits, she is a likeable character because she admits her faults and realizes the occasional absurdity that results from her thought processes. This in turn allows her to laugh at herself which lets us laugh along while perhaps seeing similar traits (if not always, certainly occasionally) in ourselves. Hope, despite her name, so, one might say ironically, doesn't believe in faith or anything even remotely connected to spirituality. Something exists and is real only if she sees it. She is a strict disciple of Rational Positivist Thought. Even so, what she can't ignore is her three year-old daughter's new imaginary friend, Dodo. Maya's behavior and it seems, her personality, changes considerably and for the worse once Dodo appears. Hope is a very good mother and very in-tune to her daughter. The kind of mother whose concern and worry are evidence of her love for her daughter right now but could become a troubling obsession in ten years time. Perhaps sooner, perhaps later. Dodo doesn't seem to be a "normal" imaginary friend. Even Uzi is concerned and believes Dodo has a troubling hold on Maya because her behavior is suddenly and often aggressive and petulant.Unlike Hope, Uzi believes in determinism, reincarnation and other concepts that Hope considers questionable (and that's a charitable description). Uzi thinks they should take Maya to a Shaman in Belize while they are there on vacation. Asking Hope to try and be open about it, she is both intrigued and repelled by the idea of a Shaman. It freaks her out that Uzi agrees with their housekeeper, a native of Nicaragua named Carmen, who believes Dodo is a spirit that must be chased from Maya's body. To Hope, there's a duality here - it's not "real" but, she also acknowledges that she likes the idea of Dodo as a spirit because if Dodo is a spirit he can be chased away. Part of Hope desperately wants to believe as she honestly admits to her readers: "Here's the thing about me and Shamanism: no matter how hard I try, I can't make myself believe in it. As much as I like the concept of a mortal journeying into the spirit world for answers and bringing them back to this world for execution, embracing the idea as fact feels as if I am betraying a basic commitment to common sense. Yet, a small, insistent corner of my personality wants to believe, badly needs to believe, in the prospect of such magical phenomena, and I don't know how to reconcile this duality. How is it possible to simultaneously discredit an idea yet hold forth hope in its existence."The answer to this question and many others will come by the end of the vacation. Hope has seen some cases of these "alternative" practices work before bringing Maya to a Shaman, but still, it isn't enough. Unconvinced, she wants to be able to see the mechanics of the spirituality at work. And she wants to be convinced before she commits to subjecting her daughter to this kind of extremely foreign method (according to Hope) of healing. Aware that this need and her disbelief may actually render her unable to witness something so profound as the work of a shaman, she realizes the alternative is to live with Dodo, which is something she really isn't ready to do.Uzi is frustrated by Hope's ambivalence, particularly when there is evidence and proof that some spiritual acts work. Uzi is a very patient man, easy going, laid back and veryintelligent. He believes that at some point you have to let go of rational thought and just believe. Aware of how stressed out and worried his wife is and how different Maya has become, he believes getting away from home as a family will help them. Uzi tries to reassure Hope, asking her to be open to the possibilities of spirituality and shamans. But Hope's many biases towards the shamans, including their appearance and choice of clothing, prevents her from accepting them and the way they work.As the days go by during their week in Belize, Hope comes to know the Tut Family at The Crystal Paradise Resort. With her family, they canoe down the Macal River at Cristo Rey, visit Tikal National Park, also called the Place of the Spirit Voices, and she enjoys her surroundings and the people she meets. Eventually, she lets down her defenses and the walls she's erected between herself and the rest of the world. It is then that Hope begins to question some of her beliefs and attitudes and, as she begins to let go of her need to control everything she realizes what's been driving some of her behaviors. As she learns about and begins to understand the beliefs of the Mayan people, she relaxes and lets go of many of her worries and fears and celebrates this time with her Uzi and Maya.I thoroughly enjoyed Hope's memoir and the story of her families experiences in Belize. She is a fantastic researcher and did a great job at unearthing myriad details of Belize and the Mayan people and culture. But at times I found it to be too much information. I struggled with the extensive accounts of some of the places the family visited such as Tikal National Park. I found it difficult to follow after a while not having any pictures to aid in the description and not being there or having been there myself. Similarly, Hope provided extensive coverage of some of the cities and towns they stayed in and passed through, more than found in many travel books. If I ever travel to Belize, and I hope to, I will be sure to read some of the pages in this book beforehand.The Possibility of Everything is well written, keeping you interested and sympathetic towards Hope and her family. It is often humorous and most of all, eye opening. Edelman does a great job of conveying her thoughts and dilemmas, her frustrations and prejudices, and let's you in as she allows the barriers to come down, so that you can celebrate her liberation from old ways. As a writer, Edelman conveys the human condition and all its frailties and its strengths, which often comes from the ability to change and grow, in a way that so many of us can identify with, which, in my opinion, is quite a feat since most of us have not gone through, specifically, what she has. Her ability to make it accessible is what makes her such an effective writer, and makes this book so universal.

  • Heather
    2019-05-18 00:06

    I have been waiting to read this book and didn't even know it. If you have experienced mother loss, read this book. Especially if you have since had children. Hope Edelman explores the relationship between child-rearing, spirit, illness and mother loss in this book in a way I haven't read before. The journey that she embarks on in order to cure her little girl's ailments is simply this: a choice between fear and faith. So many passages spoke my heart...whether it was about the loss of ancestry that is gone once your maternal lineage is absent, to the ache that returns whenever you feel alone. This book was an ideal companion and made me feel less alone. In a time of my life, and in the history of the US, of great frenzy, uncertainty and sometimes isolation, this book gave me solace. I listened to this and it was read by Hope Edelman. She is one of my favorite authors due to her extensive work on mother loss and the profound effects it has on a daughter's life. To the people that have written reviews that are getting wrapped up in how she mothers in this book...if you haven't lost your mother or perhaps a child, you simply don't understand. This book, to me, is less about the minute choices she makes as a mother and more about how she mothers overall. She does speak about two kinds of mothers: mothers that "do" and mothers that "trust". This made me think about which kind I am. And I don't fit neatly into either category, but it is interesting for me to consider. I think I have come to the conclusion that I straddle both of these worlds. There are some things that need doing, or addressing, so that the mole hill doesn't turn into the proverbial mountain. But, there is also an element of trust that needs to be present, otherwise you potentially can drive yourself mad. Learning how to navigate that fine line is important. And, I can say that, my learning curve with my firstborn was such that, when my second child was born, we were all better off. But then it also depends on the spirit of the child. My next step is buying a copy of this book. I usually get my books from the library, but this one is worthy of owning. For me, I would even venture to say it is a necessity.

  • EmmaB
    2019-05-06 06:21

    Just what I needed, just before the end of the solar year: travelogue, parenting, mothers and daughters, mysticism, love of family, and grace in the universe. Maybe a few other things as well. I reread/ heard (Edelman read Edelman) the last few chapters several times on the way home. I'd like to read it again.

  • Heli Powell
    2019-05-24 01:09

    I can sum up this book with one word- annoying. The mom is annoying. The kid is (super) annoying. The story is annoying. I've read books that do not have endearing characters but this one is impossible to feel any compassion for these people.

  • Sarah Goetz
    2019-05-14 00:26

    self indulgent crap

  • Kayla Tornello
    2019-05-05 05:19

    I had a hard time with this book. The author is so anxious about everything that she makes herself completely miserable for no apparent reason. Then she gets freaked out over her three-year-old's imaginary friend. Then, when the child gets sick with croup, she still decides to take her on vacation to Belize anyway. She is very worried about her daughter's cough, yet refuses to use the cough medicine the doctor has given her. This is so far from my parenting philosophy that I had a really tough time reading it without wanting to yell at the author.I did enjoy the travel descriptions of Belize, though. It sounds like a fascinating place to visit. I'm also glad that the journey appears to have benefited this family and the author became less neurotic afterwards. Thank goodness.

  • Erin
    2019-05-21 02:04

    When I first heard an interview with Hope Edelman on a podcast a couple of years ago, I was very intrigued. I loved the title, which summed up my own spiritual beliefs as well as it does hers. I was on Edelman's side, and felt irritated with the interviewers, who kept implying that she had made a mountain out of a molehill. "She's the mom, she was there, she knows when she has something to worry about," I thought. However, this conviction changed as soon as Dodo was introduced. Edelman latched onto the idea that Dodo was different from other imaginary friends and NOT NORMAL much too quickly. As soon as he appeared, it seemed like she needed a problem and Dodo was just what she'd been waiting for, while what Maya needed was a mother strong enough to handle an imaginary friend and a whole lot more. In fact, Edelman seemed obsessed with the idea that she and her child were far more complicated and abnormal than the rest of the world, repeatedly saying how nice it would be if they were nice, happy, simple folk. This kind of thinking generally leads me to believe that a person doesn't have an appreciation for the fact that everyone is fighting a complex internal battle--yours only seems unique because its yours. Is it any wonder that , over time, Dodo grew into a much bigger problem than he needed to be? Maya was only giving her mother what she wanted. Edelman even refused to accept Maya's teachers' repeated assurances that they saw no cause for concern. I'll allow for the possibility that something was lost in translation. Maybe there were good reasons to panic as so quickly after Dodo appeared. But if so, I'm inclined to blame the writing. If Dodo was a pathological force from the start, she failed to communicate it. Dodo originally seemed like a normal, potentially delightful imaginary friend. The fact that Maya blamed him for her misbehavior doesn't seem like it should set off alarm bells--of *course* children have strong, conflicted feelings towards their parents and caregivers, and of *course* they will try to pin it on a third party. It seems like a transparent childhood ploy, something parent should understand and deal with as lightly and confidently as possible. Normally I have a high tolerance for anxiety and self-doubt in others, since I am so plagued by it myself. I dislike the judgmental term "naval gazing", and am not the type who likes to blather on about how horrible modern, permissive parents are. So I had to wonder why this book tested my patience so much. When Edelman desperately looked for a problem with her daughter, who seemed only to be responding to her mother's anxiety, when said daughter disrupted a tour of Mayan ruins because she didn't like the tour guide saying her name, when she actually refused to drag her child out from under someone else's table in a restaurant, but instead sat on the floor and reasoned, I wanted to shake her. So why did I give it three stars? Towards the end, I finally gained some compassion for what Edelmen was really struggling with. Had I read "Motherless Daughters" (which I still haven't, but I know the gist of it), or, perhaps more importantly, if I had any reason to read it, I might have understood all along. What seemed to me like self-indulgent upper class angst was genuine pain. It ultimately became clear how lost she felt as a mother with no mother of her own, and how much she needed someone to hear her and take her seriously seriously instead of dismissing her in exactly the way I did above. I hope she felt like this is what she got in the end, even if it's the kind of need that can never really be filled.

  • Audrey
    2019-05-01 02:15

    Lovers of memoirs; anyone looking to find a sense of hope in a difficult world; anyone willing to believe in the possibility of everything.What I Have to Say: This was an amazingly beautiful, hopeful book that ignited my love of travel and adventure while at the same time reminding me how beautiful it is to have the option to choose to believe in whatever we please. In this memoir, Hope and her family travel to Belize on what starts off as a vacation but in the end turns into a journey of healing and faith. Her daughter is sick, and though she may not have previously realized it, her marriage is in a shambles. On their trip to Belize, Hope will be forced to test her faith over and over and over again. At on point in time in the book, she says "I still have no idea how it's possible to believe in the potential of something while simultaneously refusing it the right to exist, but it is." For me, this one phrase just about sums up the entire book. Hope believes in the possibility of everything, and she wants so badly to believe in more than just the possibility, to believe in the existence of everything. Throughout the entire book she struggles with this, trying so hard to believe for the sake of her sick daughter, whose imaginary friend is changing her personality in so many negative ways. Does she have a negative spirit attached to her?At some points I found this frustrating. I also believe in the possibility of everything, but after that, I believe we can choose whether or not to believe. And, for the most part, I choose to believe. For example, no one has ever PROVEN that unicorns don't exist, so I choose to believe that they do. For me, it's more a question of choice than faith (is there a difference?), and it was therefore sometimes hard for me to see her struggling with something that seemed to me so obvious. Hope's book taught me, though, that, for most people, it's a question of faith. And Hope's struggle to believe in the power of having faith, and to learn how to have faith, is inspiring and powerful.With each Shaman they visit, each new mini-trip they take, we see Hope's faith growing. We see her doing things she never previously dreamed of doing for the love of her daughter, Maya. And through it all, we see how this heals her family when she didn't even know it needed to be healed. No, Hope doesn't magically transform from a skeptic to a believer in just this one trip, but we see this awesome voyage making many profound cracks in her skepticism, and we see how just having faith gives us the power to grow.Aside from the deep, emotional implications of this book, like I said, it also played on my love of travel. It takes place in Belize, and Hope does a great job of weaving on Shamanistic and Maya(n?) history. The book left me begging my boyfriend to agree to go to Belize with me for our next vacation, and I was excited to learn so much about the Maya Indians and their history."The Possiblity of Everything" is beautifully written and deeply touching while also being an incredibly enojyable, emotional, quick read!

  • mark
    2019-04-25 05:15

    This is an amazing book. The writing is exquisite and exceptionally honest. The story - that of a young mother with a difficult three-year old daughter and loving husband - should be read by all young adults BEFORE getting married and/or having children. That said - I agree with all the two star reviews. The author, Hope (a deterministic name if ever there is one), is a great writer, and maybe one of the worst mothers (with exception of neglectful or abusing ones) ever. Fortunately, through her willingness to seek help, she corrects what was headed for disaster. There is so much wisdom in this book and it is told in such a way that I felt totally invested in Hope's family, yet at the same time I did not like her at all, nor her child, Maya (another deterministic name). I did have great admiration for the husband and father, Uzi. I could stop here - great book, great writing. But, the nature of the book requires more. A comment on the personality of the author. As if in a court of law, she, the author, opened the door. What makes Hope a great writer, may well be the very trait that made her an awful mother - obsession. More specifically, maybe even an Obsessive/Compulsive Personality Disorder. It is painful (a testimony to the excellent writing) to be witness to her reactions to her daughter's behavior, which is obviously a reaction to Hope's anxiety about EVERYTHING! Maya is well on her way to developing multiple personalities in defense of Hope's hyper-neuroticism and perfectionistic drive. Fortunately, or as Hope lays out in detail at the end (p. 320), perhaps because of the nature of the Universe (chaos theory) this outcome is derailed. Another interesting psycho/social event is, what is often viewed with disdain, the "geographic cure," in this instance works! Hope calls it the "environmental cure," which she is warned against by "friends." The family, at the urging of Uzi, takes off to Belize, for a combination vacation/healing adventure with their physically, emotionally, and psychologically sick child in tow ... for the purpose of fun, and the healing methods of a famous bush doctor, a shaman. Edelman's writing is superb. Her obsessive nature makes for terrific detail in describing the beauty and ambiance of the rain forest, the Mayan Ruins, the history, the people ... and her anxiety. Moreover, I as voyeur, began to sense a shift taking place in her psychic state. As Hope begins to let go, and her personality begins to change, so does Maya's. I have hope for them.However, there is the possibility that Maya's improvement results in an adult with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder. (She is now twelve and famous. Stay tuned.) But hey, that's not so bad - she's got plenty of company and our culture actually favors those folks. As for Hope and Uzi, they had another child, and she has apparently returned to Belize to learn more about the nature of natural healing. That's probably a good thing. I wish them all the very best.

  • Sarah
    2019-05-07 05:01

    pg 73: "I believe the world is governed by polarities and paradoxes," he told me, "some that we can see, and some that we can't. Some we know about, and some we can't even imagine yet. We think polarities are there to create divergences, but really they exist to create dynamicity. And that's only a piece of it. To think we already know all there is to know or that we can see all there is to see, that's just our egos speaking. That's arrogance speaking. We know only a tiny speck of what there is to learn." While there are some beautiful passages of reflection, this book tried to be too many things, which made it an unsatisfying read overall. I was primarily interested in the spiritual healing aspect of the memoir. This content could have been satisfactorily presented in an essay approximately ten pages long. Edelman remains cynical through most of the book, but ultimately she’d prefer to believe in negative spirits rather than poor parenting skills or that her child’s going through a normal phase. (It frightens me how quickly she jumps to worrying that her three-year-old may have inherited a psychiatric disorder.) I am not a mother, but I was once three years old. Maya is an attention-starved spoiled brat. Whether the invisible friends were real is no more mysterious to any other child’s invisible friends. They may be imaginary or they may be real spirits (or other entities) that only young children can still see before they’re mired too firmly in this physical world. While I didn’t expect answers, I was hoping for new enigmas to puzzle over. Unfortunately, Edelman shines little light on this mystery, partially because she keeps getting in the way of her own narrative and search for answers.This was also a travel memoir. There is a lot of time spent in airports (I understand. Don’t fly TACA if you want to stay on schedule.), resorts, and cars, which she attempts to justify with a reflection that falls short. I mostly enjoyed the research of Mayan history and culture, but it sometimes felt out of context and drawn out. Some people may enjoy this, but I’d prefer a history book unless she’s directly reflecting it with her modern experience. I understand that she was trying to ground the book in something larger than herself, but she already could have done that with parenthood, spirituality, etc.What ruined the book for me were the long, mundane passages that became repetitive and tangential. She fantasizes about leaving her husband, but she’s terrified of him leaving her. (She admittedly likes to have control.) Her daughter throws many tantrums, regardless to how reasonably her mother responds. There is also a plentiful serving of humble-brags.Edelman can write some fantastic paragraphs, but, stretched into a memoir, the book’s ultimately disappointing.