Anybody with a mother will relate to this book. Specifically, any mother/daughter duo will relate to this book no matter your relationship. Love.
Have Mother, Will Travel - Claire Fontaine, Mia Fontaine
Their bestselling memoir, Come Back, 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, a decade later, as Mia finds that adult life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, Claire realizes that she forgot to plan for life after motherhood. Determined to transform themselves and a relationship that has frayed around the edges, the pair sets off on a five-month adventure through twenty cities and twelve countries: an extraordinary, often hilarious journey that includes mishaps, mayhem, and unexpected joys, from a passport-eating elephant in Malaysia to the lavender fields of France, where they finally make peace with their tumultuous past. 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.
I'll start by saying that I did not read their first memoir together and after reading this book, I feel like I have to go back and read the other one. You can tell immediately that they love each other, they've been through difficult things, and they both communicate the same... but differently. It makes for a challenging relationship at times. But the best part about this book for me is that I could so identify with Mia. Sure, I have never had a drug addiction but I could really appreciate and understand her feelings toward her mothers and her view on their struggles. I think my own mother could relate to Claire as well and I think if my mother and I ever took a trip like this it would be almost an identical experience.
Just like Mia and Claire, my mother and I struggle with opening up to each other and being vocal on what we need. I don't want to worry my mom and my mom doesn't want to worry me and in turn, we both end up worrying about the other in secret. It's really a terrible cycle to be in.
Aside from the relationship aspect of this book, their travels? Hilarious. And terrifying. Because I'm going to be honest, I want to be a real virgin, vanilla traveler. I'd like to see the sights but I also don't want to get sick. I don't really want to experience ethnic food, and I don't really want to be scared because I don't know the language. I don't adapt well to situations like that and so as I'm reading this I'm equally excited and captivated by it, but I'm also cringing. Basically their trip is like the Amazing Race and they get points based on the experiences that they have in different areas over several countries. It feels very stressful and you have to be strategic, but you also want to enjoy the trip. And ultimately, they are having to work as a team and it's difficult. I imagine my own mom and I would fight a lot on this because we're both very bossy in our own right.
In the end, I totally loved this book. It made me appreciate my mom in a different light and if Mia ever has a daughter.. I'd be curious to see what she'd think of her mother then. Perhaps a third memoir? Check out their website or their Facebook for more of their story.