Review: The Possibility of You by Pamela Redmond

Present day: Cait travels the world reporting on tragedies and social issues, suffering from an incurable case of wanderlust. While aiding in the search for a missing child, she gives into a moment of emotional turmoil and sleeps with a fellow journalist—who happens to be married. She gets pregnant. Though her adoptive parents have always been wonderful, she wrestles with feelings of abandonment, and realizes she must discover why her birth mother gave her up before she can decide if she is every capable of loving her own child. The clock is ticking.

1976: Billie’s father has just passed away. While cleaning out his house, she discovers a box of letters from a grandmother she’s never heard of. Without any money or prospects, she travels with her best friend and recent college grad, Jupe, to New York to meet the only family she has left. What she finds blows her mind. As she gets to know her new family, she falls into a deeper relationship with Jupe (a bisexual African American) and falls pregnant.

1916: Bridget, fresh of the boat from Ireland, works as a nanny for former showgirl and current socialite Maude’s young son. When the child suddenly dies, Bridget stays on to help snap Maude out of her depression until she leaves to follow her heart and marry her love. War breaks out, her husband disappears on the front, and Brigit cannot afford to care for her child. She turns to Maude, and everything changes.

I have to say, I didn’t see this book coming. It showed up with a lovely batch of novels I won via She Reads Book Club and Gallery books, and I just happened to pick it up the other day, not sure what I was in the mood to read next.

I’m so glad I did. THE POSSIBILITY OF YOU is a fabulous read.

Spanning three generations of women, the novel delves into all the dirty challenges that go along with potential motherhood. Far too many women forget that not every pregnancy is welcomed and not every woman is emotionally, physically, or financially prepared to be a good mother. Even the most virtuous of women can make a mistake and end up wrestling with consequences.

Each of the three main characters make reckless decisions.  I had a bit of trouble sympathizing with Cait in the beginning, as I have little respect for women who knowingly sleep with a married man. But her prickliness was a part of her character, and many people are selfish—the greater question became would Cait, adopted herself, keep the baby that relationship created or give into her self-doubt. Her adoptive mother—I just wanted to reach out to her. I can only hope real life adoptive mothers are so wonderful and supportive.

Redmond deftly carries the story between the generations. Though the way all the women were connected was no great surprise, I enjoyed the way the plot rolled out. The varied time periods were clearly defined and distinctly colored. The choices women must make—from different classes and generations—still shoot straight to the heart.

This book is far more than just a story of women’s struggle with reproductive rights. Honestly, I didn’t read any particular pro-choice or pro-life agenda, though a woman’s right to birth control is pretty damn important. The consequences of terminating a pregnancy, giving a child up for adoption, and abandonment are complex for all involved.

This would make a wonderful selection for any book club.

by Pamela Redmond
Gallery Books, 377 pages

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