Oh, The Possibilities.....

The depth and range of human emotion in the face of tragic loss is a specialty of Hemmings (some of your might remember her last best-seller, The Descendants) and her newest novel, The Possibilities, is a veritable showcase of her particular talent. Here we meet Sarah St. John, single mother and long-time Breckinridge, Colorado resident, three months after losing her only son in an avalanche. Her grief is still all-consuming as she grapples with societal expectations of putting the pieces of her life back together.

Sarah's grief only intensifies as she discovers her son wasn't necessarily who she thought he was and, consequently, her grief is compounded as she questions her parenting skills. With the support of her acerbic father, her newly-separated best friend who has recently discovered marijuana, and a mysterious young woman who abruptly shows up on her doorstep with questionable timing, Sarah begins to start living again.

Hemmings displays a unique gift for humor-through-tears story telling. By creating a cast of eccentric supporting characters for her protagonist, Hemmings is able to provide crucial comic relief that does not detract from the seriousness of subject at hand. I laughed. I might have shed a tear. Mostly, I empathized. And that is what makes a damned good book.

Highly, highly recommended reading.


Title:  The Possibilities
Author: Kaui Hart Hemmings
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Date: May 13, 2014
Pages: 288
Source: Courtesy of Publisher


  1. Wow, you've made this sound like a must read!

    1. It really is a good read. Make the time for it at some point this summer.

  2. I still have yet to listen to the audio of The Descendents, but the movie...wow. Definitely NOT a date movie that is for sure, but it made you feel all the feelings. I may have to have a Kaui Hart Hemmings listen-a-thon.

    1. I'd be curious to know how much The Descendants and this book have in common?

  3. Ms Michele, How often do you give a "highly, highly" recommended rating?

    1. I had to think about that a while. Not very often. Even if I really, really love a book I try to take into consideration whether or not the general population of readers will love it, too. To really recommend it, I think, the book has to have a very broad appeal. This one does. I believe the vast majority of readers would give it 5 stars (or close to it), so that's why I think it should be highly, highly recommended. There are more specialized genre books that I personally just adore (take, for instance, The Martian that came out earlier this year) that I give 5 stars, but a lot of you out there might not love it like I did so I can't in all good conscious really send you all out to read it. Clear as mud, LOL? This one, for the most part, everyone should really have a hold at the library. It's serious subject matter (of course - a child dies before the book even starts) but the humor infused in it and the self-reflection makes it apply to all of us, whether we are a parent or not.

  4. Thanks for the thoughtful response. Of course, I tend to read every book you suggest and I have not been sorry yet. I did enjoy this one as well. It is hard to talk about some of the topics in the book without giving it away, though and there were some serious topics. I found myself a bit frustrated with how they were handled - by the characters, that is, not the author. Perhaps I can find a reading group and gas hit out. I also noticed some similarities with The Descendants...family tragedy, interesting, multi generational characters, road trip....all in all a very good and thought provoking book. As a mom with a 21 year old son, I found it particularly interesting.

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