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Traveling with Pomegranates: A Mother and Daughter Journey to the Sacred Places of Greece, Turkey, and France

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The New York Times–bestselling memoir of pilgrimage and metamorphosis by the author of The Secret Life of Bees and The Invention of Wings (Viking, January 2014) and her daughter Sue Monk Kidd has touched the hearts of millions of readers with her beloved novels and acclaimed nonfiction. Now, in this wise and engrossing dual memoir, she and her daughter, Ann, chronicle thei The New York Times–bestselling memoir of pilgrimage and metamorphosis by the author of The Secret Life of Bees and The Invention of Wings (Viking, January 2014) and her daughter Sue Monk Kidd has touched the hearts of millions of readers with her beloved novels and acclaimed nonfiction. Now, in this wise and engrossing dual memoir, she and her daughter, Ann, chronicle their travels together through Greece and France at a time when each was on a quest to redefine herself and rediscover each other. As Sue struggles to enlarge a vision of swarming bees into a novel, and Ann ponders the classic question of what to do with her life, this modern-day Demeter and Persephone explore an array of inspiring figures and sacred sites. They also give voice to that most protean of human connections: the bond of mothers and daughters.  

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The New York Times–bestselling memoir of pilgrimage and metamorphosis by the author of The Secret Life of Bees and The Invention of Wings (Viking, January 2014) and her daughter Sue Monk Kidd has touched the hearts of millions of readers with her beloved novels and acclaimed nonfiction. Now, in this wise and engrossing dual memoir, she and her daughter, Ann, chronicle thei The New York Times–bestselling memoir of pilgrimage and metamorphosis by the author of The Secret Life of Bees and The Invention of Wings (Viking, January 2014) and her daughter Sue Monk Kidd has touched the hearts of millions of readers with her beloved novels and acclaimed nonfiction. Now, in this wise and engrossing dual memoir, she and her daughter, Ann, chronicle their travels together through Greece and France at a time when each was on a quest to redefine herself and rediscover each other. As Sue struggles to enlarge a vision of swarming bees into a novel, and Ann ponders the classic question of what to do with her life, this modern-day Demeter and Persephone explore an array of inspiring figures and sacred sites. They also give voice to that most protean of human connections: the bond of mothers and daughters.  

30 review for Traveling with Pomegranates: A Mother and Daughter Journey to the Sacred Places of Greece, Turkey, and France

  1. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    From the reviews I've read, this book won't appeal to everyone. It wasn't a riveting read, but rather a slow, steady, meditative journal to be contemplated. It appealed to me because of the nuggets I found that caused me to reflect on my own physical, chronological and emotional maturing. Sue Monk Kidd described her experience of aging, which caused me to reflect on my own experience of morphing from being energetic, lithe, flexible and tireless (well, not so easily worn out) to experiencing phy From the reviews I've read, this book won't appeal to everyone. It wasn't a riveting read, but rather a slow, steady, meditative journal to be contemplated. It appealed to me because of the nuggets I found that caused me to reflect on my own physical, chronological and emotional maturing. Sue Monk Kidd described her experience of aging, which caused me to reflect on my own experience of morphing from being energetic, lithe, flexible and tireless (well, not so easily worn out) to experiencing physical limitations; approaching the precipice of middle age and peering over the edge to consider how many more years are left. So for the woman who is near or past the half century mark of her life, there is food for thought. For a woman with daughters, Sue provides the words that arouse the wonder and awe of watching your child become a woman unto her self. She describes the helplessness of watching her struggle and the yearning to fix whatever it is that hurts. Her daughter, Ann, who co-authors the book, provides the insight into the self inflicted doubts and anxieties that accompany life changing decisions and events as she learns to deal with them both on her own and with the help of her mother. Such revelation causes the mature woman to recall her own struggles, self doubts, need for independence and purpose in life. It causes the mother in us to treasure the woman child who is our daughter all the more for who she has become and who continues to blossom and grow before her very eyes. This is a story about love, which requires letting go, moving away and coming toward with the ability to trust, and share on a deeper level. For a woman on a spiritual journey, this book allows the reader to ponder her own journey - moving to a place with a sense of purpose over a period of time. It lets us know that beliefs once held, or lack thereof, do change and can be enriched if one is open to the small signs and wonders that occur if only our eyes are open. The message that moved me the most as a 60 something woman is, I don't want to miss the dance. I have always welcomed the opportunity to "dance," to express myself, experience the richness of life, to be open to adventure (within reason), to cultivate deep friendships, to feel the music. If I don't get out there (as Sue and Ann did) I won't be where the music is. If I don't be still and listen, I won't hear the music that is playing every so softly - to which I can at least sway and spin, at least a little.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bark

    I picked this up hoping to experience a trip to Greece through the two authors but instead I'm finding that it is more of navel gazing piece. Sue Monk Kidd is turning fifty and having a difficult time coming to terms with the back end of her life while her daughter Ann is suffering from depression because she wasn't accepted into a program to study Greek history and doesn't know what to do with her life. The two have a conflict free but somewhat distant relationship, they don't connect closely a I picked this up hoping to experience a trip to Greece through the two authors but instead I'm finding that it is more of navel gazing piece. Sue Monk Kidd is turning fifty and having a difficult time coming to terms with the back end of her life while her daughter Ann is suffering from depression because she wasn't accepted into a program to study Greek history and doesn't know what to do with her life. The two have a conflict free but somewhat distant relationship, they don't connect closely and keep their dreams and worries to themselves. Sue's portion of the book spends a large amount of time delving into Greek mythology and feminism which has become repetitive and dull already (only on disc 2 here) when listening to the audio. Ann's chapters are more down to earth but her problems, mainly the fact that she wasn't accepted into the graduate school of her choice, seem rather minor in the grand scheme of things. It seems a great shame that she's in Greece and not really enjoying the experience because she's too busy being all glum. Someone hand her some Prozac, the poor traumatized child. Such is the curse of the young and privileged. These two have each other, wealth, their health and the freedom to travel for months and months. They haven't a clue as to how tough life can be for most people. It reminds me far too much of Eat, Pray, Love which I despised because it was another "woe is me, my life sooo hard" type of book penned by a spoiled writer with an Eeyore complex. I'm just grateful I picked this up from the library and didn't contribute to the author's next depressing trip to wherever . . . Later: This book was either irritating or boring me so I threw in the towel somewhere on disk 2.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    As Sue Monk Kidd begins this memoir, she and I are in a similar place...nearing 50 with a child just graduating from college. I certainly identified with the loss that inevitably comes when a child grows up. As the book progressed however, I found that I identified with Sue less and less. Perhaps it's because I'm not a writer. It just seemed to me that she over analyzed everything: art, dreams, a glance, a thought...I mean to me, sometimes a smile is just a smile. A weird dream simply means I sh As Sue Monk Kidd begins this memoir, she and I are in a similar place...nearing 50 with a child just graduating from college. I certainly identified with the loss that inevitably comes when a child grows up. As the book progressed however, I found that I identified with Sue less and less. Perhaps it's because I'm not a writer. It just seemed to me that she over analyzed everything: art, dreams, a glance, a thought...I mean to me, sometimes a smile is just a smile. A weird dream simply means I shouldn't have had that third glass of wine the night before! A beautiful piece of art is just that. Maybe I should think a little deeper, but personally Sue and her daughter seemed a little self-absorbed to me. I mean, everything is not about them! I wondered if they ever considered just how fortunate they were to have the means to travel, the time to reflect and to write and the obvious support of the men in their lives. I also wondered how they would cope when something really hard touched their lives.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    In this unusual travel memoir, novelist Sue Monk Kidd and her daughter Ann Kidd Taylor, a budding writer herself, swap reflections on their travels to sites in Greece and France associated with the sacred feminine and wonder what kind of women they want to be. Taylor’s trip to Greece in college had been life-changing, even giving her the idea of becoming an ancient Greek scholar, but when she was rejected by her chosen graduate school it threw her for a loop and sparked a years-long depression t In this unusual travel memoir, novelist Sue Monk Kidd and her daughter Ann Kidd Taylor, a budding writer herself, swap reflections on their travels to sites in Greece and France associated with the sacred feminine and wonder what kind of women they want to be. Taylor’s trip to Greece in college had been life-changing, even giving her the idea of becoming an ancient Greek scholar, but when she was rejected by her chosen graduate school it threw her for a loop and sparked a years-long depression that distanced her from her mother and her true self. Meanwhile, Kidd had only written nonfiction at this point but longed to be a novelist and had initial plans for The Secret Life of Bees floating in her mind. She was able to reconnect with Taylor on this first trip to Greece, and bought them matching glass pomegranate charms to wear on necklaces as a salient reminder of the myth of Demeter rescuing her beloved daughter Persephone from the underworld. As they journeyed on to France looking for Black Madonna statues like the one at Rocamadour, both Kidd and Taylor turns secrets of the heart into wishes and promises expressed to the Goddess. As they returned to South Carolina and Taylor prepared for marriage, Kidd transitioned from myth to fairy tales while pondering the turn of generations. The fact that Taylor wore Kidd’s old wedding dress only underscored for her that “The Young Woman inside has turned to go, but the Old Woman has not shown up.” All the same, she was going through menopause and having to adjust to a new relationship with her body. “Perhaps all mothers of daughters possess a secret talking mirror that announces when their young womanhood begins to fade and their daughters’ begin to blossom,” she muses. “As in the fairy tale, the experience can unleash a lacerating jealousy in some mothers.” This is a book with vivid settings, carefully recreated scenes and dialogue, mythological echoes, and strong feminist themes. For both Kidd and Taylor, the struggle was to balance Hestia (a home life) with Athena or Joan of Arc (the intellect and sense of adventure). “I learned how easy it is to give up and become draperies while everyone else is dancing,” Taylor laments. For both her and her mother, these travels in search of the sacred feminine were all about finding inner courage and acting on creative urges despite fear. Taylor gives her mother the first and last word; initially she was going to write up their journeys by herself, but later enlisted her mother’s help to give the full story – or, being cynical, to have a big-name draw. It is a shame that Taylor hasn’t managed to write anything else in all this time given that her writing is nearly as good as her mother’s. I loved Kidd’s The Invention of Wings but still haven’t read Bees, her breakout novel, so this has whetted my appetite to finally pick that one up. [I spotted an odd coincidence the other week: I’ve read three books with the word ‘pomegranate’ in the title. It’s not a word (or a fruit) you encounter every day, and it has some interesting metaphorical and mythological connections with womanhood that are worth exploring. See also Secrets of the Pomegranate by Barbara Lamplugh and Eating Pomegranates by Sarah Gabriel.] (Originally published with images at my blog, Bookish Beck.)

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ellie Revert

    I don't like to read these reviews until I've read the particular book, BUT if I had seen so many reviews mentioning the total self-absorption of these 2 women-----mother and daughter----I would have skipped the book altogether!! They were in Europe---were they paying any attention to the idea of how blessed they are to be able to travel together---for generous amounts of time---in a wonderful part of the world? Or is it truly ALL ABOUT THEM???? They both need to "get over yourself!" (I gave thi I don't like to read these reviews until I've read the particular book, BUT if I had seen so many reviews mentioning the total self-absorption of these 2 women-----mother and daughter----I would have skipped the book altogether!! They were in Europe---were they paying any attention to the idea of how blessed they are to be able to travel together---for generous amounts of time---in a wonderful part of the world? Or is it truly ALL ABOUT THEM???? They both need to "get over yourself!" (I gave this book about 100 pages--time I'll never get back!)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dottie

    Okay -- first thoughts: Sue Monk Kidd is very close in age to me and the timuing of much of what is addressed in this book parallels much of what I've experienced in the same basic timeframe. Relevance? Yes, to a degree. Thoughts on losing the younger self, the dreams which haven't come to fruition vs/in comparison to those which have, the stirrings of the older self, the conflicting scenes of past,present and hopes for the future, the synchromicity and the divides between the flesh and blood mo Okay -- first thoughts: Sue Monk Kidd is very close in age to me and the timuing of much of what is addressed in this book parallels much of what I've experienced in the same basic timeframe. Relevance? Yes, to a degree. Thoughts on losing the younger self, the dreams which haven't come to fruition vs/in comparison to those which have, the stirrings of the older self, the conflicting scenes of past,present and hopes for the future, the synchromicity and the divides between the flesh and blood mother/daughter, each woman as both mother and daughter -- all of this just rang bells and set off alarms and blew whistles -- fireworks, anyone? How much of this angst is the standard through the ages as females pass through the marked stages of their lives and how much is the piled on attention and soul-searching -- as it was voiced in the book the"navel-gazing" aspects -- which has become de rigeur in the past decade or two? I don't know but this particular voyage and the peripheral story of a mother and daughter is beautifully told, and touchingly plays out and leaves this reader at least with hope that maybe all this might actually mean women are finding better ways to make these passages -- and yes, that slight nod to Gail Sheehy's landmark book was intentional -- and tics the calendar a bit -- that book came much more than a decade or two ago and perhaps set off indirectly much of the self searching which is in vogue today. This may not be this deeply affecting for everyone but for me it was a perfect book for this moment in my life -- I am care-giving for my mother 24/7 I am by turn daughter/sister/mother to her depending upon who she thinks I am at any given moment -- who am I in each of these roles? Who have I been in the role of daughter for well over half a century? Where am I as a mother to my mother? To myself? To my daughters? How do we bring all of these threads together to weave some fabric which will hold us together without cutting and binding one or the other aspects of one or more of us? So much came from my reading of this book that I can only sum it up by saying it was stunning! And while I seem to be using that word a lot lately for this book it holds true. Okay, second thoughts: I enjoyed the literary references, the Greek connections and the Madonna and Mary references especially the Black Madonna ones as I ran into a few of those myself while we were in Belgie. And the French/France references. there is a lot of food for thought woven into this book by both women. Then there is the Persphone/Demeter, Athena and Joan of Arc threads. I enjoyed where the encounters led these two women in their lives and in their decison making. Fascintating. Am I done yet? Maybe, maybe not. Well, silly me. Of course not. I loved the descriptions of place, the relationship of so many of the various threads of the story to nature and to basic underlying sociological and religious ideology. Okay -- maybe I'm done now.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kerry Hennigan

    Ann Kidd Taylor had intended her first book to be an account of her travels in the company of her mother, Sue Monk Kidd, best selling author of The Secret Life of Bees. Together mother and daughter had explored the places in Greece and France sacred to women – and especially three very specific women: the Virgin Mary, Athena and Joan of Arc. Each of these iconic females, as depicted in literature, folk lore, icons and statuary, has much to reveal to modern women, if only we take the time to liste Ann Kidd Taylor had intended her first book to be an account of her travels in the company of her mother, Sue Monk Kidd, best selling author of The Secret Life of Bees. Together mother and daughter had explored the places in Greece and France sacred to women – and especially three very specific women: the Virgin Mary, Athena and Joan of Arc. Each of these iconic females, as depicted in literature, folk lore, icons and statuary, has much to reveal to modern women, if only we take the time to listen – and learn. For Sue, there are lessons to be learned in having the courage to put her seemingly fanciful ideas for a novel down on paper – then showing it to an agent and risking rejection. It is also about facing up to getting older, of having health issues like volatile blood pressure, of being the daughter of an elderly mother, of being the mother of a young woman struggling with depression caused by her own experience of rejection. Ann’s depression is symptomatic of her disappointment in not being eligible for the career she’d always dreamed of. She feels lost and directionless. She also has to decide whether or not to be reunited with the dashing young Greek she met on a previous trip while she has a fiancé she adores waiting for her back home. The dual voices of the narrative provide the perspective of both sides of the mother/daughter relationship, providing passages of text that at times are illuminating. Travelling with Pomegranates is not about two women visiting the famous tourist haunts of Europe. Rather it is the story of a quest for understanding – of the self and the other, for the experience of the numinous in both expected and unexpected places, and how it can lead to realizing long-held dreams and discovering totally new ones. Kerry Hennigan © August 2011

  8. 5 out of 5

    Katharine Holden

    Navel-gazing in the extreme. Never have I encountered two women more self-absorbed. I mean, the daughter is standing in a cave in France that most of us will never see, surrounded by ancient wall paintings, and she goes off into a lengthy internal monologue about whether she should be a writer or not. She might as well been in a room at the Marriot. And these monologues are repeated endlessly, with much analysis of their dreams. I got so fed up with their pretentiousness and their rudeness. The Navel-gazing in the extreme. Never have I encountered two women more self-absorbed. I mean, the daughter is standing in a cave in France that most of us will never see, surrounded by ancient wall paintings, and she goes off into a lengthy internal monologue about whether she should be a writer or not. She might as well been in a room at the Marriot. And these monologues are repeated endlessly, with much analysis of their dreams. I got so fed up with their pretentiousness and their rudeness. The daughter is monumentally rude to a young Greek man who has done nothing to deserve it--ultimately she dismisses him from her life as if he had a specific role to play in her life and now he's used up. I wanted to shout This Is A Person Not A Character In The Play In Your Head. The mother mentions having "completed" a 7-year Jungian analysis, which is self absorption in the extreme. And I was so embarrassed when they left several feet of hardware chain, cut into links, at the shrine of one of the ancient Black Madonnas. Honestly, if you want to do some sort of thought ritual with something symbolizing chains or bonds, by all means. But take your trash with you when you leave. But these are two immensely self absorbed people and the rest of humanity is just there to dance for them.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kazia Trujillo

    It reads similar to "Poisonwood Bible" by B. Kingslover, an exotic location and a stressed mother daughter relationship. However, it misses the mark from being a quarter as interesting. In the "Poisonwood Bible" she turns a desperate location into a fascinating experience- in "Traveling with Pomegranates" she turns a fascinating location into a desperate experience.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kim Wells

    I bought this book thinking it was a fiction book-- it was late and my blurb reading skills were apparently not working well. After a few pages I figured it out, but it was interesting so I kept going, and it got better as I went. This is a combination travel memoir, mother/daughter journal of sorts. Sue Monk Kidd, who wrote The Secret Life of Bees (which I am now reading) and her daughter Ann explore a spiritual journey they made together that parallels, for them, the Demeter/Persephone mythos. I bought this book thinking it was a fiction book-- it was late and my blurb reading skills were apparently not working well. After a few pages I figured it out, but it was interesting so I kept going, and it got better as I went. This is a combination travel memoir, mother/daughter journal of sorts. Sue Monk Kidd, who wrote The Secret Life of Bees (which I am now reading) and her daughter Ann explore a spiritual journey they made together that parallels, for them, the Demeter/Persephone mythos. The memoir also explores the journey both women made towards a writing career (at various degrees and levels.) I know some folks will not like it, and call it "navel gazing" and self-obsessed but it IS a memoir, and you shouldn't simply expect a travel-story. Yes, there are some amazing details of the places the two journey, but the main point is the exploration of a sense of self, and an understanding of the phases of a woman's life. I really needed to read this book at this moment. I am glad I mistakenly got it on my nook in the middle of the night and will read more of both writers' work.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I found Sue Monk Kidd's THE DANCE OF THE DISSIDENT DAUGHTER so moving and paradigm-shifting that I had awfully high expectations for this book and was somewhat disappointed. On the occasion of Sue's turning 50 and her daughter Ann graduating from college, they go together on a trip to Greece, where their alternating journal entries convey their physical and spiritual journeys, insights and discoveries. The mythical heritage of Greece, including much sacred feminine tradition and especially the m I found Sue Monk Kidd's THE DANCE OF THE DISSIDENT DAUGHTER so moving and paradigm-shifting that I had awfully high expectations for this book and was somewhat disappointed. On the occasion of Sue's turning 50 and her daughter Ann graduating from college, they go together on a trip to Greece, where their alternating journal entries convey their physical and spiritual journeys, insights and discoveries. The mythical heritage of Greece, including much sacred feminine tradition and especially the mother-daughter story of Demeter and Persephone, held strong messages for both Sue and Ann. I just didn't identify with either of them very much. I didn't experience a painful sense of loss when I entered by 50s. I did enjoy the actual accounts of their travels and being reminded of several stories from Greek mythology. It also got me thinking more about the power of symbols and icons, though I'm not sure I'll ever find them as important as Sue and Ann seem to. I still appreciate Sue's truly wonderful writing and recognize that her daughter is become quite a talented writer too.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Love, love, LOVED every word of this book. I don't know if it spoke to me as a mother, a daughter, a woman, or a writer AS MUCH AS it resonated with the lifelong quest we all embark on in search of ourselves. Each author's reflections gave me moments of pause and contemplation. The sentences and words were so lyrical and powerful, I quickly grabbed a highlighter so I could easily recall my favorite passages. An inspiring, uplifting, and incredibly contagious read that I will come back to again.. Love, love, LOVED every word of this book. I don't know if it spoke to me as a mother, a daughter, a woman, or a writer AS MUCH AS it resonated with the lifelong quest we all embark on in search of ourselves. Each author's reflections gave me moments of pause and contemplation. The sentences and words were so lyrical and powerful, I quickly grabbed a highlighter so I could easily recall my favorite passages. An inspiring, uplifting, and incredibly contagious read that I will come back to again...and again...and again!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia F Davidson

    Having read & enjoyed the Bees book, I was eager to listen to this book, as I had it on CD (from the library). Being read to, by the authors, mother Sue & daughter Ann, is something I'd recommend. Hearing their voices adds to the emotional impact. And, you can do this while traveling yourself, with or without the pomegranates... Hearing the book, during a five hour drive, to my mothers' house (& back, as the CDs last 9 hours), I was in the right frame of mind to focus on the subject. Having read & enjoyed the Bees book, I was eager to listen to this book, as I had it on CD (from the library). Being read to, by the authors, mother Sue & daughter Ann, is something I'd recommend. Hearing their voices adds to the emotional impact. And, you can do this while traveling yourself, with or without the pomegranates... Hearing the book, during a five hour drive, to my mothers' house (& back, as the CDs last 9 hours), I was in the right frame of mind to focus on the subject. I listened as both a daughter, and a mother myself (also in my 50's with two daughters in their 20's, like the authors' ages). Not sure readers without children would be as intrigued. The best part of the whole experience for me was the idea/example of a dual memoir. This was a first for me. Now I'm inspired enough to imagine doing something similar with my daughter(s), if they'd go for it! And I'd like to find other collaborative works to read & learn from. The mythological, archetypal context, provided by the retelling of the Demeter & Persephone story, added to the story's 'universalized' appeal. I appreciated this, tho' some readers might quibble about 'projecting' oneself in such a way. This is the purpose of myths, which can help us expand our stories & our options, so we can grow beyond our current situations. Reading the reviews others have written, I agree with some of the reservations already expressed, like the 'privileged' nature of these women's lives. Let's just say their 'struggles' are higher up on Maslow's Hierarchy of Human Needs. And, each time I began to feel the women's introspection was getting tiresome, I asked myself; why do I lack the stamina to pay attention to that much detail? Mother-daughter realizations deserve my time. I concluded that since this level of female thinking is rarely revealed, we're not used to hearing it. In our culture, we're raised on a steady diet of action, action & more action & not enough reflection. More reflective people wouldn't get into half the problems we're now trying to solve! Enjoy the book, & let's hear from you too.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Yoonmee

    I am a firm believer that our true, secret purpose of travel is to learn more about ourselves rather than the places we visit, but that doesn't necessarily mean I want to read someone else's navel gazing ramblings all about themselves. Sadly, that was the focus of this book. I think other reviewers mentioned this, but if you were a fan of books like Eat Pray Love then you'll probably really enjoy this book. Basically, you have two privileged white women traveling to Greece, France, and Turkey wh I am a firm believer that our true, secret purpose of travel is to learn more about ourselves rather than the places we visit, but that doesn't necessarily mean I want to read someone else's navel gazing ramblings all about themselves. Sadly, that was the focus of this book. I think other reviewers mentioned this, but if you were a fan of books like Eat Pray Love then you'll probably really enjoy this book. Basically, you have two privileged white women traveling to Greece, France, and Turkey who are so wrapped up in themselves it seems they almost fail to enjoy their travels. Feeling some trepidation at turning fifty, Sue the mother, tries to find solace and identity with the image of the Virgin Marys she find throughout the trips. Ann, the daughter, didn't get into the graduate school of her choice and is consequently depressed and unsure of what to do with her life. Hello? Welcome to being in your early twenties. Get over it. Both women make the mistake so many do when traveling abroad (or anywhere out of our comfort zones), they bring with them all their cultural, privilege baggage and are unable to see the places they visit for what they really are (side note: as travelers, can we ever truly see a place for what it really is? Obviously we always bring our cultural baggage with us, but there are some travel writers who do attempt to learn more about the places they visit). Ann eventually realizes her obsession and exotification with Greece is really just her own happiness at finally "finding herself" while abroad, but I think she still exotifies Greece as this "other" place where she can truly be herself. If you were a big fan of The Secret Life of Bees you might enjoy reading about how Sue Monk Kidd came up with the idea for the book. In short, way too much navel gazing. Navel gazing is almost required when traveling and I think there needs to be some in travel writing, but these writers weren't likable enough for me to enjoy their navel gazing. I mean, really, do I really need to read all about every single dream they had while traveling? Good grief.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Genevieve

    This book is billed as a mother-daughter travel memoir from Turkey, Greece and France, but it's more of a self-indugent snooze fest, like reading the diary of someone with a really boring life, who insists on writing ad naseum about it anyway then suggests you might want to read it. Very little, if anything, actually happens in these women's travels - it's all about the internal journey. Note: I'm the first to admit that I'm a plot person. I can definitely appreciate a beautiful turn of phrase a This book is billed as a mother-daughter travel memoir from Turkey, Greece and France, but it's more of a self-indugent snooze fest, like reading the diary of someone with a really boring life, who insists on writing ad naseum about it anyway then suggests you might want to read it. Very little, if anything, actually happens in these women's travels - it's all about the internal journey. Note: I'm the first to admit that I'm a plot person. I can definitely appreciate a beautiful turn of phrase and long-winded descriptions or introspections in their place. But this book is a bit much for me. Sue Monk Kidd, whose most famous work is The Secret Life of Bees, and her daughter Anne took a few vacations to Europe together over the course of a couple years and write about them in this book. Anne has just graduated from college and struggles (and muses and ponders and frets) over who she is and what she'll be, all set against the backdrop of some Greek ruins, or a cruise ship on the Aegean, or a tour bus in France. Sue struggles (and muses and ponders and frets and goes on and on and on) about turning 50, and the onset of thoughts of mortality and aging that birthday brings. The actual travel bits were somewhat engaging, and renewed my own urge to do some international traveling with my mom again. And there is a little "behind the famous novel" type info as you see Sue go from her decision to try her hand at writing a novel to a recurring vision of a girl with bees in her room and a black Madonna, to formulating the story that would become The Secret Life of Bees. I enjoyed that novel, so a peek at how it came about was interesting.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Connie

    3.5 stars The tale from Greek mythology of Demeter and Persephone, mother and daughter, acts as a theme for this travel story. Ann Kidd Taylor had just received a rejection letter from a graduate program she wished to attend, and was unsure what direction her life should follow. Her mother, Sue Monk Kidd, was trying to adjust to the changes life was throwing her as she turned fifty--from hot flashes to acting on her dream of writing a novel. Each found inspiration from mythological and historical 3.5 stars The tale from Greek mythology of Demeter and Persephone, mother and daughter, acts as a theme for this travel story. Ann Kidd Taylor had just received a rejection letter from a graduate program she wished to attend, and was unsure what direction her life should follow. Her mother, Sue Monk Kidd, was trying to adjust to the changes life was throwing her as she turned fifty--from hot flashes to acting on her dream of writing a novel. Each found inspiration from mythological and historical female figures encountered on their trips to Greece and France. Sue sought out sacred feminine images, especially the Black Madonna that she incorporated into her novel The Secret Life of Bees. Ann drew strength from a trio of inspirational females--Mary, Athena, and Joan of Arc. This is a book of reflection with alternating chapters written by each woman. Their travels helped them find their way spiritually as individuals, and strengthened the bond between mother and daughter.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    “Traveling With Pomegranates” is the mother-daughter story of author Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor. In alternating chapters, mother and daughter detail their evolving relationship as daughter Ann transitions to adulthood and mother Sue deals with the tribulations of aging. Ann and Sue navigate these life changes while vacationing in Greece and France and while at home in South Carolina. While I had borrowed this book from a friend a while ago, I finally read it this summer when I was in despe “Traveling With Pomegranates” is the mother-daughter story of author Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor. In alternating chapters, mother and daughter detail their evolving relationship as daughter Ann transitions to adulthood and mother Sue deals with the tribulations of aging. Ann and Sue navigate these life changes while vacationing in Greece and France and while at home in South Carolina. While I had borrowed this book from a friend a while ago, I finally read it this summer when I was in desperate need of perspective. On the cusp of 27, I was feeling rather contemplative of where my life was currently at and where it was heading. While it would be rather fantastical to say this book offered me complete clarity, reading Ann’s chapters helped to normalize my feelings on life, love, family, and careers. Many of the thoughts and emotions Ann expressed throughout the book were eerily similar to the feelings I was currently having. While it is natural to think that one’s pain is unique, it was necessary for me to be reminded that other people have similar feelings. More importantly, it showed me that one could experience heartbreak and failure and successfully move on. It may take some time, but it will happen. What prevents “Traveling With Pomegranates” from being a knockout five star book (for me) is that I couldn’t relate to the travel experiences that Sue and Ann had. While in Greece and France, Sue and Ann’s excursions focused heavily on historical elements that were too personal to them to be appealing to me. When a paragraph or chapter veered too much into history, I found myself reading rather quickly (borderline skimming) until I could get to a more relevant part. While I ultimately enjoyed “Traveling With Pomegranates” I’ve read some unfavorable reviews of this book on Goodreads and I’m not too surprised. I think “Traveling With Pomegranates” can be a perfect book to read but only at the perfect time in your life. If I had read it a couple of years ago when it was first given to me, I don’t think I would have been so connected to characters. So I recommend it, but I recommend it cautiously.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Cyndi

    Introspective book are going to be focused on the person and what they are doing at the time so some of the reviews that I have read are not really fair to this book. Being an introspective person, I have learned the value of stopping and understanding where I am at a given time and why I am feeling what I am feeling. Too many times (still do) I rush on with what I am expected to do and I always end up feeling sad. We have feelings and are meant to pay attention to them. I agree that we should n Introspective book are going to be focused on the person and what they are doing at the time so some of the reviews that I have read are not really fair to this book. Being an introspective person, I have learned the value of stopping and understanding where I am at a given time and why I am feeling what I am feeling. Too many times (still do) I rush on with what I am expected to do and I always end up feeling sad. We have feelings and are meant to pay attention to them. I agree that we should not focus exclusively on ourselves and I have some of my happiest times when I am giving and putting other first. Having said that, if we do not take time to fill our reserves then we won't have anything to give another. It is a balancing game and so to me this book was more about understanding oneself, learning why we are here and what is our purpose in life. It will be different for everyone but at least these two did not have a publisher financing their trips to write a book. The book came after. I also enjoyed the mother/daughter relationship redefining itself as they aged.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Susan (aka Just My Op)

    Every mother and daughter have distinct stories to tell, and this book proves that not every story has to be about dysfunction, abuse, addiction. Written in alternating chapters by Sue and daughter Ann, the book is interesting and, for the most part, well-written. I liked it but I didn't love it, for the same reason that many people did not like Eat Pray Love: there is so much self-absorption by people of relative privilege. Sue is turning 50 and becomes almost obsessed with menopause, Old Woman Every mother and daughter have distinct stories to tell, and this book proves that not every story has to be about dysfunction, abuse, addiction. Written in alternating chapters by Sue and daughter Ann, the book is interesting and, for the most part, well-written. I liked it but I didn't love it, for the same reason that many people did not like Eat Pray Love: there is so much self-absorption by people of relative privilege. Sue is turning 50 and becomes almost obsessed with menopause, Old Woman and Crone images. Ann receives a rejection letter and becomes depressed, doesn't know what she wants to do with her life. The two travel together, learning more about themselves and each other. Dreams are almost endlessly recounted and interpreted, and that did become a bit boring to me. I loved Sue's book The Secret Life of Bees, and enjoyed reading how that book came about. I also enjoyed learning more about the Black Madonnas. I enjoyed Eat Pray Love even though it had as much if not more self-absorption and more self-indulgence, so I don't know why this book occasionally just rubbed me the wrong way. Still, I think it is a good, solid book of introspection, especially for would-be writers interested in how other authors write.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dominique

    I REALLY had aspirations of finishing this book but it is incredibly boring. I picked it up because of three reasons: 1)"Secret Life of Bees" was one of my favorites 2)I am intrigued with mother-daughter stories 3)I generally enjoy non-fiction book more than fiction I started listening to the audio-book (read by both authors mother/daughter) with eagerness, after the first CD I started getting bored. The monotone narration of Sue M. Kidd really made the story flavorless. I was hoping that the daug I REALLY had aspirations of finishing this book but it is incredibly boring. I picked it up because of three reasons: 1)"Secret Life of Bees" was one of my favorites 2)I am intrigued with mother-daughter stories 3)I generally enjoy non-fiction book more than fiction I started listening to the audio-book (read by both authors mother/daughter) with eagerness, after the first CD I started getting bored. The monotone narration of Sue M. Kidd really made the story flavorless. I was hoping that the daughter's narration will pick up the flavor but yet another disappointment - in an analogous manner the daughter carried on flavorless. The author seems to repeat herself over and over - and tends to wallow in self-pity. As the listener/reader you have to overcome the repetitive epiphany of how daughter and mother drifted apart and they find themselves at a point in their lives - far away from one another but yet so similar. DUH! It sounds somewhat cheesy and I get the feeling the author desperately needed to publish a book in order to prove to herself that she can still make it! I think due to the fact, that I DID NOT finish the book - I can not fully review it fair and objective - but if you are expecting anything like "Secret Life of Bees" - no such thing! Great idea - but manqué!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Gayle Hart

    I enjoyed this book the first time I read it, but not as much upon rereading it. I enjoy Greek mythology and really like how the authors move between and interconnect the Greek and Christian traditions. I still found the storytelling compelling and still enjoyed the insights into each writer, I just found the navel gazing a bit much the second time around. In addition to the navel gazing, the privileged and elitist nature of the writing really came forward for me during the second read. I had no I enjoyed this book the first time I read it, but not as much upon rereading it. I enjoy Greek mythology and really like how the authors move between and interconnect the Greek and Christian traditions. I still found the storytelling compelling and still enjoyed the insights into each writer, I just found the navel gazing a bit much the second time around. In addition to the navel gazing, the privileged and elitist nature of the writing really came forward for me during the second read. I had noticed it the first time, but the second time it just seemed like so much wallowing and self-pity. I think the challenges in the mother-daughter relationship and the characters' simultaneous journeys into womanhood and menopause will be familiar to many, but the socioeconomic background will not. Not everyone can afford spontaneous mother-daughter trips to Europe, building the perfect house in a dreamed of location, a college education, or annual trips abroad, let alone all of these things. I don't begrudge the authors their successes, just pointing out that many readers facing the same issues with relationships and life changes are probably doing so amid other challenges these authors were not faced with.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Susan Johnson

    I just found this book OK and that is diappointing. It could have been so much more. Like other reviewers, I expected more travel talk. I enjoyed the trip Ann took in her student years without Mom. She really made that part come alive especially the dinner at the "non-tourist" restaurant. When I read that, I thought I was in for a good read. Alas, I was wrong. Adding the mother to the mix didn't help. The two women were so depressed that it seemed like a black fog hovered around them. They went I just found this book OK and that is diappointing. It could have been so much more. Like other reviewers, I expected more travel talk. I enjoyed the trip Ann took in her student years without Mom. She really made that part come alive especially the dinner at the "non-tourist" restaurant. When I read that, I thought I was in for a good read. Alas, I was wrong. Adding the mother to the mix didn't help. The two women were so depressed that it seemed like a black fog hovered around them. They went to all these interesting places and seemed to spend their time writing in a journal. Look around you. Quit spending so much time concentrating on yourself. When Ann is not accepted into grad school, she sinks into depression. OMG. Has this child never experienced disappointment before? I bet she played on one of those sport teams that didn't keep score. Let's not teach our children how to deal with not getting their own way. Wow! It was frustrating in so many ways and likable in others. I loved the story behind writing "Bees". I liked Mary's house in Ephesus, the Black Madonna stories and the Greek myths. I just didn't like the angst. Personally, I think this book was written to give her daughter a start in writing. After all, we know she doesn't handle disappointment well.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Susan Fetterer

    Here I am beginning a review, again, without having finished the book. I'm finding it useful to record impressions, review later and adjust prior judgments and correct possible assumptions. Half-way through the book and I'm enlightened and relating totally to the universal search for meaning, trying to be patient with changes in my own life, finding new spiritual directions, recognizing that things happen for reasons we may need time to understand, and appreciating the importance of readjusting Here I am beginning a review, again, without having finished the book. I'm finding it useful to record impressions, review later and adjust prior judgments and correct possible assumptions. Half-way through the book and I'm enlightened and relating totally to the universal search for meaning, trying to be patient with changes in my own life, finding new spiritual directions, recognizing that things happen for reasons we may need time to understand, and appreciating the importance of readjusting goals to circumstances not necessarily ideal. More later..... And now it's later. I've finished the book and found it soul soothing and heartening. There are sometimes parallels between what one is experiencing and what one is reading. In weird, mystical ways circumstances can mesh in meaningful ways to enhance one's life. Symbolism and retrospection seem to collide with increasing frequency and it's useful when one recognizes the collision and can turn it into something rather useful. part of aging.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    More Ann's work than Sue's (though their chapters are close to equal). Beautiful writing about self discovery. Just ignore the fact that these women get to travel constantly with no financial strain. I loved the bits about Mary as metaphor, and I learned things I won't forget about Greek goddesses. A lovely book to listen to on a drive through Texas during cool weather near dawn.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Meagan

    Reading this book was a complete waste of time. Instead of reading this book you should punch yourself in the face. It would be a better use of your time.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Emma Rund

    A great read for a mother and daughter if you want to do that. Outside of that specific situation idk how good it is. It was a little slow and I actually connected more to the mom than the daughter

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jean Marie Angelo

    As a woman who had a complex relationship with my mother — sometimes comforting, sometimes broken — this memoir of supportive mother and daughter was like reading about aliens on another planet. Still, I liked this book. I see some reviews are quite critical. Sue, and her daugher, Ann, are labeled self-absorbed and entitled. After all, how many mother-daughter writing teams can travel the world for long stretches and then spend years writing about it? Still, I have no interest in being snarky. Th As a woman who had a complex relationship with my mother — sometimes comforting, sometimes broken — this memoir of supportive mother and daughter was like reading about aliens on another planet. Still, I liked this book. I see some reviews are quite critical. Sue, and her daugher, Ann, are labeled self-absorbed and entitled. After all, how many mother-daughter writing teams can travel the world for long stretches and then spend years writing about it? Still, I have no interest in being snarky. They write about their travels to Greece, France, and Thurkey, but also about their hopes, dreams, faith, Mary and the Black Madonna, and mythology. There are moments here that I wanted to savor. What I loved most were their passages about their writing processes. This book was written before Sue Monk Kidd wrote, The Secret Life of Bees. I just loved her recall of her family home where the bees lived in the walls and of her trip to Greece where she vowed before a statue of the Madonna that she would write a novel about a southern girl and her salvation. So what if they spend, perhaps, a little too much time talking about the things we all deal with? At one point the young Ann is in a serious depression because she hasn't been accepted to her first choice graduaste school to study Greek history. Really? I spent a few chapters muttering, "Please apply to other programs." It amazed me this hadn't occurred to her. But then this point in the story helped us see a loving mother-daughter dynamic that allowed them to share openly. How wonderful to have a mother to share secrets with. To receive encouragement and comfort. Bottom line — I greatly admire Sue Monk Kidd and her honest embrace of the divine feminine. Not everyone in her hometown appreciated her. Some hate mail was addressed to the "Whore of Babylon," after she wrote, Dance of the Dissident Daughter. Without her travels with her daughter we probably would not have, Secret Life, and the novels that followed.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Krista

    This book is not just a treasure trove of geographical locations and descriptions, but a personal pair of memoirs from Sue Monk Kidd and her daughter, Ann. Delving back into Sue's writings leaves me with the lingering longing to find the contemplative and deeply spiritual part of me I feel I have lost in the last few years - to experience life in that introspective way that I used to when I first began living a life on my own, and not long afterwards discovered her Secret Life of Bees. You won't This book is not just a treasure trove of geographical locations and descriptions, but a personal pair of memoirs from Sue Monk Kidd and her daughter, Ann. Delving back into Sue's writings leaves me with the lingering longing to find the contemplative and deeply spiritual part of me I feel I have lost in the last few years - to experience life in that introspective way that I used to when I first began living a life on my own, and not long afterwards discovered her Secret Life of Bees. You won't find a lot of writings that talk about the femininity of God; even I admit to having a mostly male image of God. I began by saying this was a pair of memoirs - but it is much more than that, if you'll allow it to be. Ask yourself the same questions these narrators pose to themselves as they face different life events at their respective points in life - the journey of self-discovery is always worthwhile. I really identified with Ann, because I'm about the same age she was when she wrote this: trying to find that "necessary fire", questions of identity and purpose, and most especially the question of self-belonging, as she approached her wedding day. A single person cannot help wondering if entering into a relationship - especially marriage - means changing the way you see yourself, changing this identity of independence and self-possession. Even though I'm a twenty-something, Sue's writing resonated with me, as well. I'm a big picture person, and I often think about growing older. Reading her part of this book was almost like looking in a future mirror at myself, and I faced those thoughts, questions, fears, desires, with her. If you enjoyed The Secret Life of Bees, or are looking for a book that goes "deeper", then this should be the next book on your 'to-read' pile. I hope you love it as much as I did.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

    I am listening to this book on CD and relishing it. Being 55 myself, I could relate to Sue and her search for meaning in her life, learning how to let go of her daughter and still have a relationship with her, and dealing with the struggles of menopause and the pain of being closer to death. I loved the story about how she wrote the first chapter of "The Secret Life of Bees" (one of my favorite books) and the man is charge of her writing workshop said it would never be a good novel so she abando I am listening to this book on CD and relishing it. Being 55 myself, I could relate to Sue and her search for meaning in her life, learning how to let go of her daughter and still have a relationship with her, and dealing with the struggles of menopause and the pain of being closer to death. I loved the story about how she wrote the first chapter of "The Secret Life of Bees" (one of my favorite books) and the man is charge of her writing workshop said it would never be a good novel so she abandoned it. Then, after praying to the Virgin Mary for inspiration, she had a bee land on her shoulder and it refused to leave. Sue shares her feelings of inadequacy and uncertainty about writing the book. She felt the feelings, but wrote it anyway. How can anyone ignore such a clear sign? I also am enjoying the fresh, new voice of Sue's daughter, Ann Kidd Taylor. She talks about her struggles with accepting herself as a writer and allowing herself to pursue that career. I am toying with writing more myself so listening to her process is fascinating for me. Having a 21 year old daughter myself, I could also appreciate the struggles Sue was having with the relationship. She was wanting to give her daughter space to live her own life and develop her own "inner mother". At the same time she wanted to develop a new relationship where they could relate as adults. I love the detailed explanation of their travels to sacred places with other women. Their dreams and insights that they share inspire me to take more time for introspection. And, of course there are the pomegranates. In the classisc Greek myth about Demeter and Persephone, Persephone is tricked into eating pomegranate seeds so that she will go down to Hades each winter. Sue Monk Kidd relates to this story in her relationship with her daughter. All in all--i loved listneing to it.

  30. 4 out of 5

    etherealfire

    My paperback. I love this deeply moving mother-daughter memoir and travel journal reflecting on the various stages of life, particularly touching on the Demeter-Persephone dynamic that so many mothers and daughters experience as we learn to bridge the necessary separation that occurs when our daughters grow into their independence. The vignettes are also filled with inspiring moments touching on the ways we discover and replenish our individual, sometime hidden, wells of creativity. I just passe My paperback. I love this deeply moving mother-daughter memoir and travel journal reflecting on the various stages of life, particularly touching on the Demeter-Persephone dynamic that so many mothers and daughters experience as we learn to bridge the necessary separation that occurs when our daughters grow into their independence. The vignettes are also filled with inspiring moments touching on the ways we discover and replenish our individual, sometime hidden, wells of creativity. I just passed this little book onto my own daughter and I hope she will be as inspired from reading it as I am!

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