by Kimberly McCreight
William Morrow Paperbacks
Pub. Date: April 9, 2013 (Paperback release)
Book received from: Publisher
Genre: Memoir/ Travel
Cover: Not bad, but I do like the hardcover artwork much better.
Characters: Pretty typical mother-daughter relationship, for the most part.
Tagline: A mother and daughter discover themselves, each other, and the world
For Fans Of: Gilmore Girls & Eat, Pray, Love
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5 stars
Worth the read? Sure. If you are one for sentimental memoirs.
From the Cover: A mother, a daughter, and a life-changing adventure around the world . . .
Their bestselling memoir, Come Back, moved and inspired readers with the story of Mia Fontaine’s harrowing drug addiction and her mother, Claire’s, desperate and ultimately successful attempts to save her. Now it’s a decade later and Claire and Mia each face a defining moment in her life, and a mother-daughter relationship that has frayed around the edges. At fifty-one, Claire’s shed her identity as Mia’s savior but realizes that, oops, she forgot to plan for life after motherhood; Mia, twenty-five and eager to step outside her role as recovery’s poster child, finds adult life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Determined to transform themselves and their relationship once again, the pair sets off on a five-month around-the-world adventure.
What awaits them is an extraordinary, often hilarious journey through twenty cities and twelve countries–one that includes mishaps, mayhem, and unexpected joys, from a passport-eating elephant to a calamitous camel ride around the Pyramids–and finally making peace with their tumultuous past in the lavender fields of France, where they live for the last four months of the trip. Seeing how self-possessed and community-minded twentysomethings are in other countries broadens Mia’s perspective, helping her grow, and grow up. Claire uses the trip to examine her broken relationship with her own mother, a Holocaust survivor, and to create a vision for her second act. Watching her mom assess half a century of life, Mia comes to know her as Claire has always known Mia–as all mothers know their daughters–better than anyone else, and often better than themselves.
Wiser for what they’ve learned from women in other cultures, and from each other, they return with a deepened sense of who they are and where they want to go–and with each embracing the mature friendship they’ve discovered and the profound love they share.
Alternating between Claire and Mia’s compelling and distinct voices, Have Mother, Will Travel is a testament to the power and beauty of the mother-daughter relationship, one that illuminates possibilities for our own lives.
The Short & Sweet of It: This is one of those memoirs that gives away nearly the entire story in the description. So, while reading, there really is not suspense or surprise as to what is going to happen. We know that there is going to be a lot of sentimental moments throughout the journey of the Fontaine ladies, and that they are going to relate their own experiences in life to those of the people and places they encounter along the way. Of course, they have the added struggle of their strained relationship due to the events they discussed in their first memoir in regards to Mia’s drug addiction at a young age. But, then again, what mother and daughter do not have some personal drama with which to deal at some point?
To be honest, what I had the most trouble with with this book was completely technical. Mia’s viewpoint is written entirely in italics, and it was just a bit tedious to read that much italicized text. I mean, I feel that a simple labeling of the sections, or some other indicator would have taken away this trouble entirely, as her viewpoint is half the book, after all. (Okay, you get the point.) Other that that, there were some parts that slowed down the pace of the story, and I caught myself drifting from time to time.
While I do think that this is a well done account of their journeys, there was just too much attempt at trying to discuss the mother-daughter relationship. For many, this will probably really strike a cord and be something very relatable to their lives. For me, there was just too much emphasis on trying to find some bigger meaning to everything- too sentimental, I guess. I am not really the Hallmark greeting card type of person (shocking!), so I just kind of struggled to not roll my eyes at times. However, if you are looking for a remarkably heartfelt journey and memoir for a Mother’s Day gift, this is definitely one to consider.
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