“Have Mother, Will Travel: A Mother and Daughter Discover Themselves, Each Other, and the World” by Claire Fontaine, Mia Fontaine


asteriaiconI heard of this book probably in a magazine or online article, and the title just stuck in my head. When I saw that it was available as an audiobook through the library, I pounced on it. After a recent trip to Rome with my mom, I am itching for more travel with her, and the subtitle of this book just spoke to me.

The audiobook is read by the authors themselves, which I found lovely, and it was easy to tell who was who, making it a seamless transition throughout the story. The book opens with Claire (the mother) reading off her packing list for a trip, which is extensive and well thought out, and then Mia (the daughter) reads hers which is exactly 3 things, 1 being her mother. The women are on a trip that I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to go on…just not WHERE they went. It was a scavenger hunt type trip, visiting 12 countries and 20 cities, where groups of 2 would head out with a list of tasks, each with a point value, and whoever had the most at the end of the trip wins…something. The tasks are sometimes quick and easy, and sometimes very challenging, and the points are allotted accordingly, but all encourage the travelers to fully experience the culture around them within each country that they visit. It sounds like so much fun to me! The countries they visited though were more Indonesian and Asian countries, which are not countries that are on my bucket list to travel to. If I can find a trip like this through Western Europe and Britain I would be ALL OVER this!

In between the travel itself and what the mother/daughter team see and do within each country, the story is peppered with lessons each have learned about each other and themselves, and to me that was what raised this book from interesting to outstanding. The entire time I listened, I was reminded of my trip with mom, learning things about her I had never known before, and us learning how to be a mother and an adult daughter in a foreign country and not kill each other.

The story was generally light, and I found myself laughing out loud, and yet in instances where life without mom was discussed I can’t lie, I couldn’t hide back tears. It is not a reality I am even close to ready to face; my mom is my best friend, and I refuse to imagine life without her.

There just are not enough words or ways in which I can express how much I enjoyed this book and this is one I can honestly say was better hearing it than perhaps reading it, as I could hear the story through their own voices. That being said, I bought this as a paperback for my mom for her birthday, in hopes she finds it as enjoyable and as powerful as I did. I came away with a list of things I hope to learn about my mom on another trip, and hope to strengthen that bond with her just that much more.

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