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Traveling with Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter Story Hardcover – September 8, 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult; First Edition edition (September 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670021202
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670021208
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (129 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #195,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In a probing literary collaboration that moves from Greece to their home in Charleston, S.C., novelist Kidd (The Secret Life of Bees) and her daughter, Taylor, explore and record the changing stages of a woman's life. At 50, Kidd, a wife and mother who had found fulfillment as a writer in recent years, was approaching menopause and anxious about tapping the green fuse, or regenerative energy, for the next step in her life. Traveling to Greece with her daughter, Taylor, 22, when the latter graduated from college in 1998, Kidd recognized that her daughter, who had just received a stinging rejection from a graduate school, was also undergoing another kind of wrenching transformation—from child to adult faced with decisions about what to do with her own life. In passages narrated in turn by Kidd and Taylor, the two create a gently affectionate filial dance around the other, in the manner of the fertility myth of Persephone and her mother, Demeter. In travels through Greece, Turkey and later France, Kidd and Taylor found strength and inspiration on their respective journeys in the lives of Athena, the Virgin Mary and Joan of Arc, but mostly through a new understanding and appreciation of each other. Although the maiden-mother-crone symbolism grows repetitive and forced, their's is a moving journey. (Sept.)
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“A touching rapprochement between mother and daughter.”—Kirkus Reviews

“A return trip in 2000 finds both women changed, and a 2008 afterword rounds out this stunning account of inner journeys, separate and intertwined.”—Booklist

“Read this one as a memoir, a travelogue and as a self-renewal book”—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

More About the Author

Sue Monk Kidd's first novel, The Secret Life of Bees, spent more than one hundred weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, has sold nearly six million copies, and was chosen as the 2004 BookSense Paperback Book of the Year and Good Morning America's "Read This!" Book Club pick. It was adapted into an award-winning movie in 2008. Her second novel, The Mermaid Chair, a #1 New York Times bestseller, won the 2005 Quill Book Award for Best General Fiction and was adapted into a television movie. Her novels have been published in more than thirty countries. She is also the author of several acclaimed memoirs and the recipient of many awards, including a Poets & Writers Award. She lives near Charleston, South Carolina.

Customer Reviews

My daughter gave me this book to read.
I wanted to like this book, and found the premise to be very intriguing.
Mia Moore
Loved and related to Sue Monk Kidds spiritual journey.
Ann Garson Mcguire

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

139 of 154 people found the following review helpful By DuxMom on November 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
While I loved "The Secret Life of Bees" first as a novel and then even as a movie, and liked the Mermaid story that followed, this work of non-fiction combining a mother/daughter view is a major disappointment. Normally I like the "different chapter, different speaker" method of writing. Not so, here. The reason that I actually finished "Pomegranates" is that I did enjoy being filled in on some of the background of "Bees." Admittedly, some of the rest of the novel (Black Mary) is interesting from an historical perspective and the relationship of mother/daughter mildly interesting, I found that the two perspectives were self serving. As a woman about to turn 50 in a few months, I thought I would better relate to Sue and learn something meaningful of the changes brought about by menopause. Instead, I found myself bored by what seemed like an endless repetition of complaining and regret. And I have two almost 20 daughters... certainly there's something here that will give me some new insight...And then it dawned on me that Sue was actually helping daughter, Ann, to launch her career through this book! Ann's contribution was a travel dialogue that made me think, "You're kidding! You're that depressed right out of college,and you don't know you're divine purpose in life? How many of us realize that in our early 20's (or ever?) And then, "Eureka!" she wants to be a writer! And write about her travels to Greece? And do we need to know the details of planning a wedding? I was consumed by these details at Ann's age, too, but certainly don't want to read about anyone else's decisions.
I felt ripped off. An earlier opinion said this would be better as a blog. I agree totally. I'm just glad that I was able to get this from my local library and didn't buy it.
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64 of 69 people found the following review helpful By C. G. La Ferle on October 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Like Sue Monk Kidd, I found myself at a crossroad when I turned 50 and my only child left home for college. Suddenly, I questioned my career direction and wondered where to turn next. But this isn't just a book for blocked writers. Kidd's new memoir speaks to the yearning in every woman who is entering menopause and struggling to redefine her motherhood, or searching for new projects to "birth." Having read all of Kidd's books, including her novels, I am grateful for this deeply personal glimpse into her creative doubts -- and her process.

Additionally, I traveled to the same places in Greece and Turkey, so the book also works as a compelling travel memoir. (In particular, I enjoyed the descriptions of Mary's last home in Turkey.) There's a lot more to this book -- just as there's a lot that goes on during menopause. While it's not a difficult read, this memoir is not exactly "light reading," and will hold most appeal to readers interested in feminist spirituality. I plan to read it again to appreciate its full depth. I'll read anything Sue Monk Kidd writes -- and was delighted to be introduced to the writing of her daughter as well. Highly recommended.
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60 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Katherine Cameron on November 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book provides some valuable information about Demeter, Persephone, and the Madonna (including fascinating information about the Black Madonna. ) I had hoped for an equally fascinating dialogue between mother and daughter, but instead I found it a little cloying and self-absorbed. These are women to the manor born, who seem to be able to spend big chunks of their lives traveling, being depressed, crying, lighting candles, writing, and seeing a therapist. To cap it off, the daughter decides to get married under an oak tree on a famous plantation in South Carolina. The gardens, she admits, were built by "100 slaves in 7 days." That's about as political as the book gets. I sense that these two southern women are searching for a black woman (or Madonna) as a rescue figure. This is a tale as old as our country...(See Gone with the Wind etc). Toward the end of the book, Sue (the mother) touches lightly on the world situation. She wants to give back, help out - but all she gives, in the end, is honey on the roots of a tree in Crete...The book is wrapped up in symbolism that seems superficial and dainty... like wearing white gloves to go feed the poor.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Chel Micheline TOP 50 REVIEWER on July 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I've read most of Sue Monk Kidd's work and I enjoy both her fiction ("Secret Life of Bees" and "Mermaid Chair") and non-fiction (especially "Dance of the Dissident Daughter") equally.

That being said, this book definitely veers more towards the "non-fiction spiritual memoir" side of things. And I LOVE spiritual memoirs, especially those that bring into focus untraditional ways of approaching of worship and faith.

The book is centered around a series of trips that Sue Monk Kidd and her daughter (Ann Kidd Taylor, co-author) took to Europe in the last fifteen years. While traveling, both women were facing their own individual emotional challenges- Taylor, freshly gradated from college, was struggling with not only the aspect of being an "adult" but also trying to come to terms with a shattering rejection (no, *not* of the relationship variety, which I appreciated), and Kidd was facing the reality of menopause and her unrealized dream of becoming a novelist (the first trip was taken before "Secret Life of Bees" was even a concrete idea) plus her struggle with faith.

As the two women travel together, and visit sites of both mythical and religious importance, they begin to discover very startling truths about themselves. Each take turns writing about different aspects of their travels, and the significance each location and experience had for them.

While this book is not really religious it is *very* spiritual and personal. There are very complex issues that come up, and for someone like myself who is constantly questioning her own faith and "place" in the world, both Kidd and Taylor's issues resonated deeply. There is much talk about menopause, the female "side" of God, depression, and the relationship between the two women.
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