Set against the backdrop of an unforgettable round-the-world adventure, Have Mother, Will Travel is an entertaining and inspiring memoir. It captures the changing relationship between a mid-life mother, Claire, and her twenty-something daughter, Mia, as it also looks at the mother-daughter relationship in America and other cultures from China to France.
A decade after coming through the crucible chronicled in Come Back, Claire and Mia each face a defining moment in their lives, and a stale mother-daughter relationship that has them stuck in old roles. Claire, fifty-one, has shed her identity as Mia’s savior but realizes that, oops, she forgot to plan for life after motherhood; at twenty-five, Mia is eager to step outside her role as recovery’s poster child but finds that adulthood isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
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. It’s in Provence, however, where they spend the summer following their madcap adventure, that they finally making peace with their tumultuous past, and lay the groundwork for a mature friendship to develop between them.
Seeing how much more mature and community-minded twenty-somethings are in Malaysia, Nepal, and France broadens Mia perspective, helping her grow, and grow up. Watching her mother assess half a century of life, often with great pain and regret, has a profound and ultimately positive effect on Mia. She comes to know her mother as Claire has always known Mia--as all mothers know their daughters--better than anyone else, and often better than themselves.
Claire uses the trip to examine her broken relationship with her own mother, a Holocaust survivor from Eastern Europe. With her characteristic candor and brutal honesty, Claire examines the choices, good and bad, made over a lifetime as she creates a vision for her life’s second act and learns to make the shift to being the mother of an adult daughter.
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 both a humorous travel tale and a moving testament to the amazing power of the mother-daughter bond, one that will allow women to see new possibilities in their own lives.
"What a beautiful, funny, poignant, and oh-so-representative peek into how complicated— and how wonderful—a mother-daughter relationship can be… It’s about the love between a mother and daughter—a love that, while not always sunshine and daisies, will never end.”
— Ree Drummond
“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."
— Tracey Jackson
Author, with Paul Williams, of Gratitude and Trust
and Between a Rock and a Hot Place:
Why Fifty Is Not the New Thirty
“As a mother of two young daughters, I finished this book with such anticipation for the future, inspired… through every experience they shared, 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
“An extremely insightful and inspiring look at how we relate, with our loved ones, with ourselves, and the world. It was compelling to see how Claire and Mia evolved, and devolved, after having come through the fire described in their first memoir. 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 of 5minutesformom.com
“Finally, a book that celebrates the complexities of the mother-daughter bond with humor and depth. 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
“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?
Reading Group Guide
Provocative questions to help you get the most enjoyment and benefit from reading "Have Mother, Will Travel"
Top 10 lessons from our trip
Mother/Daughter Travel Tips
Recipes inspired by our travels