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The Possibility of Everything

3.41  ·  Rating details ·  670 Ratings  ·  180 Reviews
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. ...more
Audio CD, 10 pages
Published September 15th 2009 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published August 31st 2009)
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Snow Ford

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 f
Aug 25, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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, ou ...more
Aug 12, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Margie by: GoodReads
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 w
Aug 08, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 02, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 stea ...more
Jan 02, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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, ov
Jul 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, travel
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,
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 trudg ...more
Sep 12, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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. Harrell
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 nea ...more
Aug 12, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, first-reads
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
May 12, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 s ...more
Cindy Meilink
Aug 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: great-books
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
Beth Anne
Jul 26, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Beth Anne by: Goodreads Giveaway
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 fou
Jun 07, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
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 d ...more
Julia Smillie
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 conf
Aug 13, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was fortunate to win an advanced reader copy of this book through

The 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 questi
Aug 22, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Debra by: goodreads win
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 ai ...more
Oct 17, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Worst book I've read in years. 'Nuff said.
Dec 25, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ugh. Whiny self-centeredness + self-serving parenting + dash of mysticism-of-the- month = this book.
Amy Meyer
Oct 27, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Title: The Possibility of Everything
Author: Hope Edelman
ISBN: 978-0-345-50650-4
Pages: 323
Release Date: September 15, 2009
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Memoir
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Summary: 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. Con
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
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 t ...more
Sarah Goetz
Oct 01, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
self indulgent crap
Kayla Tornello
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 t ...more
Sep 04, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 o
Dec 11, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 healin
Mar 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to mark by: young adults
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 ...more
May 10, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
I first encountered Hope Edelman ten years ago, when I sought out her book Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss shortly after my own mother died. I was intrigued when I learned she'd written a new memoir from a mother's perspective, and I was quickly drawn into her story.

Edelman discovered that her young daughter had a new imaginary friend when she was bitten on the leg by the child, who blamed it on 'Dodo.' Imaginary friends can be disruptive, but the changes in Maya's personality and behav
Sep 12, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: belize
This is a 300 + page book about a neurotic mother making a crisis of normal childhood behaviour. She has to “cure” her 3 year old daughter of her imaginary friend(s) that sometimes make her do naughty things. Imagine that. This is a spoiled kid who throws whopper tantrums - and always gets what she wants as a result- apparently in training to be a princess. The neurotic mom’s oh-so-challenging life is actually incredibly smooth and fortunate - nonetheless a missed flight and suddenly the univers ...more
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Hope Edelman is the internationally acclaimed author of five nonfiction books, including the bestsellers Motherless Daughters and Motherless Mothers, as well as the upcoming memoir, The Possibility of Everything. She has lectured extensively on the subjects of early mother loss and nonfiction writing in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Her articles and reviews have appeared in numerou ...more
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