The Possibility of Everywhere
by Beth Harkins
Genre: Literary Fiction / Feminist
Print Length: 318 pages
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Reviewed by Elizabeth Zender
Soar through decades of internal reckoning, feminism, and life choices with The Possibility of Everywhere.
Meet Cindy: young, determined, full of possibility and critical thought. She contains all necessary ingredients for a budding feminist. But it’s 1953. Should she stay home and appease her father or travel the world? She’ll do anything she needs to, including studying abroad and becoming a Pan Am flight attendant.
Cindy’s quest to find meaning is a struggle that resonates within a lot of us: how do you stand up for what you know to be right?
Throughout her travels, Cindy learns from the stories told about various forms of feminine power. Each country she visits, she hears about someone new: Saint Teresa in Spain, Isis in Egypt, Kali in Nepal. The Divine Feminine weaves its way into Cindy’s heart and mind, causing tension as she reckons with the burden of the patriarchy in the United States. She learns of empowerment through love, through fear, and through trial and error. Her interests in the unknown and in mysticism propel her forward on her journey of discovery.
When she’s out exploring the world, Cindy experiences cultural differences that leave her with questions about what goes on in the United States. Her boss takes every opportunity to deny her when she takes initiative or tries to make progress in the name of feminism. Cindy is lucky enough to have the support of her husband and daughter, but is it enough?
Upon her return from Nepal, Cindy realizes that the cultural expectations in the United States are not something that fit well with her. She comes back to work to find rigidity and logic ruling supreme, when what she is searching for is support, emotion, and community. She asks herself, “how could [her] office support the rise of the feminine?” with no immediate answer. The realization dawns on her that she might not fit back into the same boxes she felt safe in before, even within her own friend group.
Beth Harkins takes her readers along for quite a ride—or flight—in The Possibility of Everywhere. Exploring the feminist movement and the confines of the patriarchy, the reader goes on a journey using the lens of a woman who has recently opened her eyes to the possibility that Eurocentrism is not the answer we are all hoping it to be. Cindy’s exploration of the world puts her at risk, physically, mentally, and emotionally. and she spends time at odds with her family. But maybe what’s out there could be the adventure of a lifetime.
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