Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Possibility of Everything - Book Review

A memoir, The Possibility of Everything , by Hope Edelman is the story of one mother's willingness to do anything to cure her three-year-old daughter who has recently developed an imaginary friend and some disturbing behavior. This mother is extremely intense and frankly the child's behavior didn't seem that different from most other three-year-old children. Honestly, I kept waiting for the child to do something really crazy. However, as a mother, I can't judge this mother's intuition that something else besides an overly active imagination and a strong-will is affecting her child.

The family travels to Belize on vacation and ends up seeking help from a shaman and a local healer. At this point, the book becomes a travelogue. My nephew served his mission in Belize, but it has never occurred to me as a vacation spot. However, after reading the lush descriptions of the jungle, ocean, friendly locals and the ancient pyramids in neighboring Guatemala, I'd really like to visit some day.

The author begins the book a jaded New York intellectual who believes in nothing and ends by believing in anything and everything. Edelman writes honestly and has the tendency to be overly critical of herself.

In the end, the daughter gets well, the troubled marriage is strengthened and a mother gains faith. Who is to say how and why? It may have been the spiritual healer and the herb and flower baths. I, personally, am leaning toward moments when the family finally connects with each other such as while pretending to fly to the moon on a swing near the ocean.

Edelman writes:

Whatever I need--what we need--is right here on this swing. Sitting. Playing. Now. And I realize, in this moment, that this is how a family grows. Not by the addition of more children or through the race to endlessly accumulate more or from my constant attempts to guard against loss, but in ordinary moments like this one. Deceptively simple moments that manage to be worth everything while appearing to be worth nothing at all (pg.300).

And that's why I kept reading. Because I too am a mother. Because I too would do anything for my children.

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