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Have Mother, Will Travel Hardcover – July 17, 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Have Mother, Will Travel is filled with what I would have given anything to experience and treasure with my own mother—the inner workings of our hearts and thoughts. I love these women!” (Leah Komaiko, author of Am I Old Yet?)

“A beautiful, funny, and oh-so-representative peek into how complicated—and wonderful—a mother-daughter relationship can be…. I could feel, as a mother and a daughter, every struggle and bump in the road…the love between a mother and daughter, while not always sunshine and daisies, will never end.” (Ree Drummond, author of The Pioneer Woman Cooks)

“Finally, a book that celebrates the complexities of the mother-daughter bond with humor and depth. Both authors come to terms with who they are as women—together and apart—as they traverse twenty countries. Their relationship is an inspiration; you’ll want to travel every step of the journey with them.” (Maureen Murdock, author of The Heroine's Journey and Unreliable Truth)

“Nobody writes with as much honesty, bravery, and humor as Claire and Mia Fontaine when it comes to the dynamic of the complex, baffling, nurturing, infuriating, comforting labyrinth known as the mother/daughter relationship. No matter how far we travel or what we do, we will always be one.” (Tracey Jackson, author of Between a Rock and a Hot Place: Why Fifty Is Not the New Thirty)

“An extremely insightful and inspiring look at how we relate, with our loved ones, with ourselves, and the world….Their courage in examining themselves, and their relationship, reminds us how important it is to stay mindful and proactive in all of our relationships, especially with our family.” (Janice Croze, founder, 5minutesformom.com)

“As a mother of young daughters, I finished this book with such anticipation for the future, inspired by the relationship that Claire and Mia have formed through challenges and triumphs…. I found myself falling deeper in love with the soul–transforming journey of both loving a mother and raising a child.” (Kelle Hampton, author of Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected)

“If you like Eat Pray Love then check out Have Mother, Will Travel...Written in alternating voices, the book humorously documents the power of travel to test and deepen relationships.” (National Geographic Traveler)

“Frequently hilarious and often sobering … poignant and affecting.” (BookPage.com)

“‘Have Mother, Will Travel,’ is a must-read for every woman (or man, for that matter). It’s charming and enlightening, and will help any reader in their own understanding of this world and the relationships that it contains.” (Spencer Daily Reporter)

From the Back 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.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 309 pages
  • Publisher: WilliamMr (July 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061688398
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061688393
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,438,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I can't stop thinking and talking about this book. I opened it on Friday morning, just to take a peek, and came up for air and Pizza at about 7:00 PM.
The next day was the same. I couldn't put it down. My husband was on his own for three days while I sat snug in my chair either laughing or crying,
occassionally saying "you won't believe where they are now, lets Google it". I was introduced to places I had never even heard of and learned so much.
They have this amazing way of putting you right in the middle of whatever they may be doing or saying and you become part of this real and intense
relationship. I loved it!
Mothers and Daughters are forever bound by love and understanding, frustration and anger all put right out there for you to read in this, my new favorite book.
What A Great Movie This Book Would Make. Who do you think should play the mother and who should play the daughter?
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Format: Hardcover
This memoir was nothing like I expected, which was actually what made it such a great read. It was always fresh, and skillfully balanced between their exotic and sometimes hysterical travel experiences and their insightful inner dialogue and commentary on the world, their lives, the lives of mothers and daughters. They both write beautifully about places and people, without sounding like tour guides. They're both also extremely honest and candid, not just about the world (neither is worried about being politically correct!) but about themselves. Parts of it are as raw as their first memoir, Come Back, which was painfully frank (which suited it, it was a painful subject matter.)
As an example, the chapter on Bulgaria satisfied on many levels - I was surprised to find it such a fascinating place (apparently so were they), it was laugh-out-loud funny in places, it also movingly depicted anti-Semitism, in Claire's own history, and in Bulgaria (the only country that refused to give the Nazis their Jewish citizens.) The end of that chapter was meaningful for me, when Claire writes of how subtly mothers tell their daughters they don't trust them. It made me realize how my offers of help or giving advice may handicap my daughter, not help. "If a daughter, of any age, senses her own mother doesn't trust her, how can she truly trust herself?" That whole section was very eye opening for me. There are many, many places like this that as a mother gave me pause.
The section on France is more leisurely but engaged me in a different way, and they're there for four months, so I feel like I really got to know Avignon, and their friends as well. Claire and Mia get to know each other on a much deeper level, with Mia often taking the lead in clearing up things from their past.
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Format: Hardcover
What a wonderful and inspiring book! I think I enjoyed it even more than Come Back, if that's possible! (Perhaps a bit less emotional for me :) I will highly recommend to all my friends!

Here were a few of my favorite quotes and words of wisdom:

"A woman's relationship with herself is mirrored everywhere in her life, but no place more than with her daughter."

"Travel empties out everything you've put into the box called your life, all the things you accumulate to tell yourself who you are. Women tell themselves who they are through their career, marriage, home, social life, style, through our face and body, by how well we please; we often mistake our lifestyle for our life and others liking us for us liking ourselves."

"I've made far more, and bigger, mistakes in my life by ignoring the nos than the yeses. What woman hasn't? If for no other reason than we're trained from a young age to please, to be a good girl--"Don't be so negative, smile!" After a while the hesitation, the doubt, the I don't really wannas are so subtle we can miss them altogether. But there's always a moment. It may be hard to recall, but there's always an exact moment when we go underground, twist a no into a yes."

"We tell our daughters we don't trust them in a thousand ways. We don't consciously mean to, but we steal their confidence in their own strength by stealing their pain. And their confidence in our strength by saying we aren't strong enough to see them struggle."

"There are lots of ways to lose yourself--motherhood's just one of them." -Claire

"These are the kinds of regrets all women have, mistakes and missteps, paths not chosen, opportunities gone. Youth gone. Forever.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was delicious -- it carried me away to a world rich with sensibilities I rarely make time for, a realm of sensation, emotion and humor that is nourishing to my heart, mind and soul. I kept asking myself, why, why don't I come more often to this place in myself, for the sheer pleasure of it? Claire paints with words, and whole interior cities are discovered. Mia corners the truth with a stroke of her intuitive wand, and voila! Clarity! Not to mention they're both hilarious in their own way! Life-affirming for any mother or daughter, yes, but for me the book was a gateway to a richer life. I didn't want it to end, and realized it didn't have to!
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