Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Possibility of Everything by Hope Edelman

I heard about this book on one of the podcasts that I listen to - the Manic Mommies interviewed Hope Edelman on one of the podcasts that I listened to (I'm really behind) and the book sounded really interesting. And it was really interesting.

This memoir takes place in 2000. Hope is living with her three year old daughter (Maya) and her husband, Uzi, in California. She's a writer and her husband works for a start up computer company.  Hope is going through a rough period - she's not happy with her writing, she feels like she gives up a lot of time with her daughter and Uzi has been working long hours at the start-up so her relationship with him is suffering. She resents him for not being around for her or for Maya.  So the family plans a trip to Belize. As the trip approaches, Maya begins to act strangely. She begins to act out by becoming violent towards her parents, playing alone and blaming everything on her new imaginary friend, Dodo.  All the doctors and social workers that Hope talks to reassure her that this is normal for a child that is Maya's age, but Hope's instincts tell her something else is at work.  Uzi suggests that they meet with shamans in Belize to see if they can help Maya and Hope is very resistant to the idea.

The trip starts out poorly because Maya is physically ill - she has a fever and a nasty cough that is, in all likelihood, Croup. Two trips to two different shamans occur. The first one is ended early by Hope herself, who is still suspicious of them.  The second one is a much more positive one for her and her family.

This story is really about Hope Edelman, couched in her daughter's story.  She details her struggles as a working, professional mother who wants to do the best that she can for her child while still making money and having a career.  What it is, perhaps, most of all is about a woman that pushes against the boundaries of her belief systems and learns what faith is: what it means to have faith in something that one normally wouldn't believe in, even where there is no explanation for it.  And I thought that Hope had a lot of guts to put herself in the position where she was trusting someone like a shaman and then, on the second level, writing about her experiences and her fears and belief systems so publicly. And her writing was so beautiful and accessible. At one point, she describes her family's trip to the ancient Mayan ruins in Belize and I almost felt like I was there.

Highly recommended and one that I would purchase for your home library.

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