Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Possibility of Everything, by Hope Edelman

"The Possibility of Everything" was my beach read on our family's end-of-summer trip to the Outer Banks. Gawd, I wanted to love this book. Edelman's "Motherless Daughters" will always hold a place close to my heart. When I read that book I felt, for the first time, that someone understood about growing up in a one parent, motherless household. Unexpectedly, I felt liberated, as if I'd come out of the closet.
Edelman set the bar high.
TPOE, a momoir (mommy memoir), has a great and promising premise. Edelman is an anxious mother (yup, I'm still relating, Hope), who struggles with her three-year-old's behavioral issues and takes her to Belize to find alternative, native cures. To her credit, Edelman doesn't sugar coat. Nevertheless, there was something that didn't sit quite right in TPOE. Maya's (the daughter's) behaviors never came across as pathological, although it was clear Edelman viewed them as such. Also -- and I'm hesitant to write this, as I don't want to be perceived as judgy -- Edelman often came off looking like one of those mothers. You know the ones I'm talking about -- the ones in restaurants who blithely ignore their misbehaving tots until the chaos has gone on so long, and created such a ruckus, that any attempt to reign in the child is too little and too late. Unfortunately, Edelman appeared a bit bumbling and ineffective, while poor Maya tantrumed her way across Belize.
Edelman did a disservice to the pace by slowing the narrative, plugging in too many big chunks of the history and culture of Belize. Nevertheless, her story, despite being a little unsettling, still compelled.

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