The Possibility of Everything: Book summary and reviews of The Possibility of Everything by Hope Edelman

The Possibility of Everything

By Hope Edelman

The Possibility of Everything
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

  • Published in USA  Sep 2009,
    352 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

From the bestselling author of Motherless Daughters, here is the real-life story of one woman's search for a cure to her family's escalating troubles, and the leap of faith that took her on a journey to an exotic place and a new state of mind.

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.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. The book is equal parts a meditation on the trials of motherhood and marriage, a travelogue and an exploration of faith, which she braids together into a highly readable, insight-laden narrative." - Publishers Weekly

"Though Edelman is an accomplished, mostly insightful writer, the narrative is overly dependent on descriptions of her child's increasingly dramatic temper tantrums." - Kirkus Reviews

On a family trip to Belize, Hope Edelman confronts the very heart of darkness only to be ambushed by the healing hope of things unseen. Edelman writes like a dream and like a dreamer, with a novelist's rhythm and a journalist's unsparing eye. The Possibility of Everything kept me gasping and turning pages, awed by Edelman's unwillingness to compromise the truth. This book makes everything seem possible - except putting it down. - Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean

The information about The Possibility of Everything shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

Write your own review

Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Nancy C. (Overland Park,
The Possibility of Everything
The Possibility of Everything by Hope Edelman. As a memorist Ms. Edelman has accomplished what every memorist hopes for: to be able to surrender fear and be willing to reveal one's inner truth, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Having said that it is fair to say that this book is a much as a travelogue with Belize as the subject. The main purpose of the journey, to help daughter Maya seems to take second place. Ms. Edelman does give insight into what is ultimately important to ordinary people and about how we are healed through a quest.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Dolena W. (Dallas, TX)
The possibility of the unexplainable
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was moved by the author’s transformation by events that unfolded on a family vacation to Guatemala and Belize. I felt I was actually there with the author and her family (husband Uzi and 3 year old daughter Maya) as they together (more or less) experienced that which cannot be seen and cannot be explained.

I ended up pulling out my yellow highlight to mark those conversations that “pitted” the author (“I have to see to believe”) against her more accepting husband (“You need to have more trust….In the universe”). The author’s difficult struggle to move beyond what she describes as “the sacred triad of observation, experimentation, and proof” is beautifully written. Out of the mystery of the setting of Mayan temples, exotic plants, Shamans and ancient practices of spiritual healing comes the author’s moving revelation that, if we but move out of the way, we can come to believe and accept the presence of “subtler levels of reality” that we cannot see or quantify. If we open ourselves to the possibility of subtler levels of reality, then anything is possible.

This memoir is joyful, humorous and definitely thought provoking.

Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by C H. (Wauwatosa, WI)
More like a travelogue
I enjoy Hope Edelman's writing style and based on the title and book description was looking forward to her views on the "leap of faith" that transformed her life. For me, that is where the book was lacking. What I wanted and what kept me reading was for her to tell more about her experience in the Belize jungle with her daughter and the healers that changed life for them. I wanted to be in her head with her thoughts and emotions, but that is where I felt the book fell flat and became more of a description of their travels and less of their experiences.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Pam C. (Lafayette, CA)
A memoir to Remember!
This book is aptly titled. Not sure what is causing her child's odd behavior but certain that it is something out of the ordinary, Hope Edelman begins looking for an answer. Her search ends in Central America where she also finds answers to other questions in her life. Loved it!

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Julie B. (Menomonee Falls, WI)
A Beautiful Journey
This book describes a mother's journey from doubt and fear to being open to the potential and promise of things yet unexplored.

The story takes the reader on another journey through Belize. The author helps the reader to really feel the beauty of the land and it's people.

I am normally not a fan of non-fiction, but I have recommended this book to a number of people. I found some of the author's insights to be so profound that I have been quoting this book ever since I finished it.

Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Julie Z. (Bennington, VT)
The Possibility of a Little Less than Everything, please?
I haven't read the author's previous books, but it's not hard to guess her primary focus. Here's four other titles listed in this book: Motherless Daughters, Letters from Motherless Daughters, Mother of My Mother, Motherless Mothers.

It comes as no surprise that Edelman comes across as a wee bit obsessive and humorless in this memoir. Her then only daughter, Maya, is three, and seems to be having her terrible twos late; and her husband is working many overtime hours. Maya's tantrums and her imaginary "friend", Dodo, prove to be more than her mother can cope with. Despite re-assurance from the child's pediatrician, seconded by a family friend/therapist, that Maya's behavior is normal, that she'll outgrow it, Edelman and her husband shlep her down Belize, hoping to take her to a healer, while having a family holiday.

Yeah, great idea, you're thinking, especially since she's running a fever, coughing, and Edelman's booked a passage on a marginal third world airline. Don't worry, you won't miss a single beat of this trip, it's so slow, you'll feel like it's happening in real time. By page 200, we'd only gotten to day five of the trip. It's not just that every whine and whimper of the child is described, Edelman tries to provide a little history of the Maya, but it's just not that interesting--it feels like she's filling in the space.

It's hard to care that much about this family. The reader doesn't dislike them, just wants them to relax--come on, it's hardly a serious, life threatening illness we're dealing with here. It seems that Edelman copes with Maya's misbehavior by standing back in awe while she quietly falls apart inside. How about a little discipline here? And she seems to be over-reacting to the imaginary friend. As my mother would say, she won't be bringing him to college.

I would not recommend this book. There are better parenting memoirs, better travel writing, and better books that combine the two.

...9 more reader reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Information

More Information

Hope Edelman is the author of five nonfiction books, including the bestsellers Motherless Daughters and Motherless Mothers. A graduate of the University of Iowa's Nonfiction Writing Program, she has published articles, essays, and reviews in numerous magazines and anthologies. She lives in Topanga, California, with her husband and two daughters.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Search
    by Geoff Dyer
    All hail the independent publisher! In May 2014, Graywolf Press brought two of long-revered British ...
  • Book Jacket
    Mrs. Hemingway
    by Naomi Wood
    Naomi Wood's latest novel, Mrs. Hemingway, is a fictionalized biography covering in turn writer...
  • Book Jacket
    The Stranger on the Train
    by Abbie Taylor
    The opening chapter of Abbie Taylor's debut novel, The Stranger on the Train, took me right back to ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The City
by Dean Koontz

Published Jul. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  95Tomlinson Hill:
    Chris Tomlinson

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.