So I haven’t finished the book yet; in fact, I just started it today. But Hope Edelman’s memoir The Possibility of Everything is really fantastic. The book tells the story of a time when her family has to deal with her daughter Maya’s imaginary friend, Dodo. Dodo is, perhaps, evil, and somehow, Edelman makes me believe this is possible.
I first heard Hope read an essay version of this story when I was in grad school. (She was a professor at Antioch). I have been waiting for the book to come out ever since. Something about the story – most specifically, something about Hope’s way of telling the story has kept me hooked on it since I heard that first draft more than five years ago. Now, that’s what I call a compelling tale.
I don’t know what will happen in the book; I am eager to find out what happens to Maya and how the family comes through this. But more importantly, I want to see this woman, this wife, this mother, this writer come to understand things – herself, her husband, her child, her work. There’s an honesty that comes through on these pages where she reveals her own, nearly sub-conscious, beliefs about how she’ll be abandoned by her husband and thought crazy by those around her, and I am an absolute fan of honesty. Maybe it makes me feel better about myself (okay, it certainly does), but the most crucial thing is that it lets me connect, lets me feel for the Hope in a way that people do not often let us feel for them. I don’t pity her; I don’t feel sorry for her. I just understand. I have been there, at least in some ways.
The pacing of the book is great. The characterization is great. The story is, well, great. And I’m going back to read it right now. You should get a copy and read it, too. You really should.