Have Mother, Will Travel

Ten years after the events described in their first mother-daughter memoir, Come Back, Claire and Mia Fontaine's connection has grown shaky. When she had to, Claire stepped up the mama-bear role and got her daughter--drug-addicted and out of control, acting out in response to sexual abuse by her biological father--on the road to recovery. Mia's now a healthy, independent 20-something finding her way into adulthood, and as Claire's role in her daughter's life has changed, she's losing her own footing. The Fontaines decide to address their respective and shared crises by going abroad, setting out on a month-long global scavenger hunt followed by a season living in France.

Mia and Claire take turns narrating Have Mother, Will Travel; even if the shifts weren't signified by different typefaces, their voices would be identifiable. Claire is chatty and philosophical, often reflecting on the universal experiences of motherhood, and the mother-daughter bond in particular, as she observes it across cultures, while Mia's sections are more introspective and focused on the personal.

As they step out of their comfort zones and embark on foreign adventures, Claire and Mia interact with one another in ways they never have before. Often, parents and children are ill-prepared for the natural shifts in their relationships as the children become adults, even when those relationships haven't been tested by crises as the Fontaines' was. Have Mother, Will Travel offers an unusual perspective on the growth of the parent-child relationship. Under rather abnormal conditions, they're working toward a sense of normalcy. --Florinda Pendley Vasquez, blogger at The 3 R's Blog: Reading, 'Riting, and Randomness

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