The Possibility of Everything
by Hope Edelman


Ballantine Books, 2009. ISBN 978-0-345-50650-4.
Reviewed by Judy Miller
Posted on 12/01/2009

Nonfiction: Memoir; Nonfiction: Faith/Spirituality/Inspiration

"I believe in the possibility of everything," I told my husband. "But I can't place my trust in anything without visible proof."

Hope Edelman is an intelligent woman, a wife and a New York Times best-selling author. She is also a devoted mother to three year-old Maya. In her memoir, The Possibility of Everything, Edelman finds herself in a stage of her life where she is questioning her purpose and examining the choices she has made—about motherhood, marriage and writing.

Her story begins with an undercurrent of upheaval. Uzi, her husband, is working sixteen-hour days and Maya's behavior is being controlled by her imaginary friend Dodo. Although Edelman finds out that many children have imaginary friends, her intuition is telling her that Dodo is something more. She turns to Maya's Montessori teacher, her pediatrician, parenting books, and friends (one of whom is a therapist) for insight and advice, but they are unable to squelch Edelman's nagging and growing concern. Edelman shares her worries with Uzi and she finds herself, "a strict disciple of rational positivist thought, in which scientific rigor—the sacred triad of observation, experimentation, and proof—are the undisputed gold standard for determining what's 'real'"—questioning her beliefs. She is in search of answers and help for her daughter.

Maya's Nicaraguan nanny comes up with a plan to rid Maya of Dodo and, for twenty-four hours, it seems to work. Although Edelman's connection to "the mystical and unseen" disappeared when she was sixteen, with the death of her mother, Carmen, Edelman sees a sliver of hope.

Dodo is the catalyst for a vacation, something the family hasn't had for close to two years. They head to Belize during the week between Christmas and New Year's. During this trip they take a croupy Maya (and Dodo) to meet with the local bush doctor. Although the visit ends abruptly, changes in Maya are seen. Her croup begins to dissipate and Dodo takes a short leave of absence. Through some good fortune, Edelman's family is able to meet with the healer they had missed during their delayed flight into Belize. As the journey continues across the border and into Tikal, wonderful things happen when Edelman takes a leap of faith.

The Possibility of Everything is a candid tale of a mother deviating from what she knows to open herself to the unseen and unfamiliar in order to help her child. Edelman's conviction, love, and emotion come through in this beautifully written memoir.


Hope Edelman is the author of five nonfiction books: the international bestseller Motherless Daughters (1994), which was translated into seven languages as well as several follow-up books on the same subject. The Possibility of Everything (2009) is her first book-length memoir. She lives in Topanga, California, with her husband and their two daughters. Visit her website.

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