Synopses & Reviews
Look for the discussion guide inside
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. The Possibility of Everything is the story of the change that found her. A chronicle of her extraordinary leap of faith, it begins when her three-year-old daughter, Maya, starts exhibiting unusual and disruptive behavior. Confused and worried, Edelman and her husband make an unorthodox decision: They take Maya to Belize, suspending disbelief and chasing the promise of an alternative cure. This deeply affecting, beautifully written memoir of a family’s emotional journey and a mother’s intense love explores what Edelman and her husband went looking for in the jungle and what they ultimately discovered—as parents, as spouses, and as ordinary people—about the things that possess and destroy, or that can heal us all.
From the bestselling author of "Motherless Daughters" comes 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.
About the Author
Hope Edelman is the author of five nonfiction books, including the bestsellers Motherless Daughters
and Motherless Mothers
. A graduate of the University of Iowas Nonfiction Writing Program, she has published articles, essays, and reviews in numerous magazines and anthologies. She lives in Topanga, California, with her husband and two daughters.
From the Hardcover edition.
Reading Group Guide
1. In the beginning of the book, Hope and her husband have very different belief systems, which give them very different ideas about how to address their daughter’s imaginary friend. Did you identify more with Uzi’s character or with Hope’s? Why?
2. How would you describe Hope’s definition of trust at the beginning of the story? How would you describe it at the end?
3. Did you find Maya’s behavior surrounding her imaginary friend normal or troubling? Was there a point in the story where your opinion of this changed or solidified? Did you still have the same opinion at the end?
4. If you’re a parent, have you ever had a time when your intuition told you that the “experts” were wrong about your child? Did you follow your intuition or take their advice? What was the outcome?
5. Did any parts of this book make you laugh? Which ones? Did any make you cry?
6. The theme of being an outsider in a foreign and unfamiliar culture is important to this story. How did this dissociation affect the narrator’s experience, and possibly the outcome of events? How do you imagine that this story might have unfolded if it had taken place somewhere else?
7. Some readers have said that the passages about Maya history were their favorite parts of the book. Others have said they found themselves skipping over those sections to get back to the story of the family. What did you think about these parts of the book?
8. Why do you think Dr. Rosita was the one who had the greatest effect on Hope, and on the whole family?
9. At one point, Hope says, “If faith is a belief in the unseen, as I believe it is, then the opposite of faith is not disbelief. The opposite of faith is fear.” Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not?
10. Have you, like the protagonist of this book, ever been faced with a situation that you had difficulty explaining with contemporary language or scientific reason? How did you react?