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The Possibility of Everything Hardcover – September 15, 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; First Edition edition (September 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345506502
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345517012
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,590,213 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Edelman (Motherless Daughters) returns with a charming memoir full of self-deprecating honesty that defies easy categorization. Edelman is forced to seek a solution to the sudden appearance of her three-year-old daughter Maya's violent imaginary friend, Dodo. Edelman, who believes in the possibility of everything, but can't place her trust in anything without visible proof, clashes with her alternatively minded husband and the New Age modes of thinking in her new Los Angeles suburb when seeking an answer. She grieves that her own mother, who died when she was 16, is not there to advise her on matters of parenting. But when Maya's behavior becomes severe, Edelman surprisingly agrees to let her daughter see a shaman in Belize. The journey, which is full of remarkable events, cracks open the foundation of her skepticism just shy of a transformation. The largest stretch of the narrative—the Belize journey— is gripping and vividly detailed, and Edelman occasionally detours into Mayan culture and history. 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. (Oct.)
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“Edelman writes eloquently about her struggle… With vivid descriptions of Belize and its Mayan history, The Possibility of Everything is an intimate account of the struggles of parenting, partnering and faith.”—People
“Part mystery, part travelogue, part memoir, the book explores the gaps between science and faith, children and parents, and what we believe and what we wish for.”—Redbook
The Possibility of Everything returns to [Edelman’s] theme of mothers and daughters, place and purpose, and chronicles a profound spiritual awakening.”—Malibu Times
“The true beauty of this book—and there is so much that is beautiful… is that Edelman relentlessly dissects her own perspectives and feelings with an uncommon courage…”—Oregonian
The Possibility of Everything is a well-crafted tale of skepticism versus spirituality… Edelman's writing soars highest when depicting her family's eye-opening encounters in the humid tropical jungle with—just possibly—the supernatural.”—Entertainment Weekly
“The book… stands as a rich example of memoir writing, much as her previous book Motherless Daughters did.” —Albuquerque Journal
“Hope Edelman possesses a voice that embeds itself in your mind.”—
"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, The Deep End of the Ocean (#1 NYT bestseller and Oprah Book Club pick)

"From its gripping opening to its moving conclusion, The Possibility of Everything takes you on a spirited journey that gracefully interweaves details of early motherhood with reflections on faith and transformation, all set against the beauty and wonder of a foreign place. A thoughtful and compelling read by the accomplished Hope Edelman."—Cathi Hanauer, author of Sweet Ruin and editor of The Bitch in the House

"To write memoir well, one must surrender fear and reveal all dimensions of the inner truth—from gorgeous to heinous and what lies in between. In search of faith she can wrap her arms around, Edelman set down fear and has revealed all of herself with beauty and candor, innocence and intelligence, wisdom and clarity. In this fascinating and honest account of a one woman's quest for wholeness and healing for her daughter, herself and her family, Edelman gives us hope."—Jennifer Lauck, author of Still Waters and Blackbird: A Childhood Lost and Found

"Ask any mother: there isn't any role that so consistently demands of us what we know we don't have. Enough patience, enough wisdom, enough energy and grace. The ability to discern between what we can fix and what we can't. Hope Edelman takes her readers on the kind of journey every mother will make—into hope over reason, faith without understanding. Motherless Daughters gave us what no other book did, honesty and solace and companionship from someone who'd been there, too. Readers will say the same of The Possibility of Everything." — Kathryn Harrison, author of The Kiss

More About the Author

Hope Edelman is the internationally acclaimed author of six nonfiction books, including the bestsellers Motherless Daughters, Motherless Mothers, and the memoir The Possibility of Everything, as well as the recent ebook, Boys Like That. She has lectured widely on the subjects of early mother loss and nonfiction writing in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the U.A.E. Her articles and reviews have appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Glamour, Child, Seventeen, Real Simple, Parents, Writer's Digest, and Self, and her original essays have appeared in many anthologies, including The Bitch in the House, Behind the Bedroom Door, and Goodbye to All That. Her work has received a New York Times notable book of the year designation and a Pushcart Prize for creative nonfiction. She can be found in Iowa City every July teaching at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. The rest of the year, she lives in Topanga Canyon, California, with her husband and their two daughters, and teaches in the MFA program at Antioch University-LA.

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Customer Reviews

This story is really about Hope Edelman, couched in her daughter's story.
I really liked the book's conclusion, but the hour-by-hour coverage of the trip was too much buildup for me.
Amy Tiemann
I read this book in just a couple of sittings because it was one of those books that's hard to put down.
PT Cruiser

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Amy Tiemann VINE VOICE on July 31, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Hope Edelman's new memoir reminded me a lot of Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia in ways good and bad. I liked "The Possibility of Everything" more than "Eat, Pray, Love" and I predict Edelman's book will strike people in many different ways depending on their personal point of view and expectations as readers.

Here's the good news: Edelman writes beautifully. At times I wanted to weep both from Edelman's prose and the anguish she felt as she and her husband struggled to deal with their intense three-year-old daughter, in the midst of their intense lives. Reading as a mother, the feeling of fear and panic that 'there is something wrong with my child and I don't know what' resonated with me on an elemental level.

Edelman's honesty also shines through--she is not afraid to lay bare her own inadequacies, or fears about life, parenting, and her marriage.

However, I am just not sure that there is enough to this story to merit a 320+ page memoir. Hope's daughter Maya was having trouble and acting out, manifested by her obnoxious imaginary friend "Bad Dodo;" the family went to Belize for about a week, received two sessions of shamanic healing; Hope had some profound insights and her daughter got a lot better. Around chapter 11 out of 13, I was wondering if it the detailed story would all pay off. I really liked the book's conclusion, but the hour-by-hour coverage of the trip was too much buildup for me.

Part of the trouble was that the character of Hope was really irritating as she interacted with Maya.
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46 of 54 people found the following review helpful By J. Moran VINE VOICE on August 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Hope Edelman admittedly lives in high anxiety encompassing all areas of her life, including her marriage, all other relationships and her child rearing practices. When imaginary friend Dodo arrives in the life of her precocious three year old daughter, Maya, and seems connected with increased bad behavior and tantrums ("meltdowns"), Edelman's anxiety goes into high gear as she decides that Dodo may signal the onset of mental or emotional problems for Maya. Assurances from friends, relatives and health professionals about the normalcy and harmlessness of imaginary friends at Maya's age have no calming effect. Edelman quickly finds herself applying a folk remedy suggested by Maya's nanny, who thinks Dodo is an evil spirit.

Stressed out, Edelman agrees to vacation in Belize and acquiesces in her husband's idea of taking Maya to a shaman/healer there. Her husband already believes that the universe holds more than we can know or explain, but Edelman is a self-proclaimed believer only in what can be proved to the senses. The trip starts poorly because Maya is physically ill, and the incompetent airline so botches things that Maya gets very little sleep for two days, thus insuring irritability and bad behavior. The rest of the trip is somewhat better, although it is chronicled in unnecessary length and detail.

Two trips to shamen occur. The first goes badly, but Edelman seems to blame herself for this. Edelman is impressed with the second shaman, Dr. Rosita Arvigo, who was born and raised in the US. She combines herbal expertise with traditional spiritual approaches (prayer and simple ritual when applying the remedy). After treatment, Maya's behavior improves markedly and she banishes Dodo herself without much ado.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By HH on June 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Although this book is well written, as a mother of teenagers, I kept going back and thinking I missed something. I couldn't for the life of me understand why the mom was so freaked out by the imaginary friend. The whole premise of the book seemed ridiculous to me. I felt sad that such a normal part of childhood had to be twisted into something pathological even after assurances from the teacher and doctor. It seems like such a shame that the author was so disconnected from her child and not enjoying those young precious years. The idea that a trip to Belize was in order seems like the epitome of over kill. These folks did need some time off but sitting around reading, playing and slowing down to listen to their child would have been a whole lot cheaper and just as effective. Alternative healing is wonderful from whatever culture you choose, I just didn't see what they were trying to "cure". There is no shortcuts to just plain conscious parenting, children will act out when their needs are not met and it can be terribly inconvenient but easier to meet them when they are 3 then have them go unmet and have a really angry and troubled 18 year old. It worries me that so many people connected with the author and her anxieties, it seems to me a symptom of a really disconnected, overworked, media saturated, fear based society. I'm glad the author could some how find her way to faith but clearly most of society is not in a position to take such a radical departure from their regular lives. We need more stories from all the mothers who every day are balancing parenting, trusting their instincts, and making difficult choices to put careers on hold all without any family support or hired help!
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