Mothers & Daughters: A Time to Heal

Two memoirs about mother-daughter travelers and their healing journeys.

Standing at gate K-16 in Chicago O’Hare, I scanned the group of people and tried to find my mom. She raced up the terminal and jumped in front of me. As we hugged, I could feel the buzz of excitement between the two of us. We were about to board a plane to India for an adventure that would take us deep into the heart of its culture. We’d been instructed to “pack light.” She looked at my bags and I looked at hers—every piece of luggage we’d brought was overstuffed and bulging at the zippers. We burst into laughter. At that moment, I knew we’d enjoy traveling together. It was an unforgettable trip—plenty of healing and mother-daughter bonding. So when I learned of two memoirs being released this September on the topic of mother-daughter travelers and their healing journeys, I had to read them.

The Possibility of Everything (Ballantine Books, $25) by Hope Edelman is about a trip Edelman takes to Belize with her three-year-old daughter, Maya, and her husband, Uzi. Maya has an imaginary friend named Dodo—a mean, scary imaginary friend. Anytime Maya misbehaves, she blames Dodo. She also claims Dodo tells her not to eat and doesn't want her to get well when she falls ill. Eventually, Maya’s obsession with Dodo grows so bad that Edelman and her husband make plans to visit a Mayan healer deep in the jungle. As a skeptic, Edelman questions her traditional faith, as well as the spiritual practices of Mayan shamans. But as she opens her mind to the “possibility of everything,” a healing journey unfolds for her entire family.

Traveling with Pomegranates  (Viking, $25.95) by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor is about a series of travels the mother-daughter duo takes to Greece, Turkey and France (they alternate writing chapters). When the book opens, Kidd is in her fifties, struggling through menopause and at a crossroads in her writing career, which, at that point, had been steeped in nonfiction (she decides to follow a call to write a novel and ends up penning The Secret Lives of Bees). Taylor is a recent college grad who’s confused about her future, especially because what she planned – graduate school and a relationship with a steady boyfriend—both fall apart. She spirals into a depression that threatens to tear her away from her true dreams buried deep inside her soul. The book is heavy on symbolism as the two authors compare their journey to the Greek mythological tale of the goddess Demeter and her daughter Persephone, but the correlation works. And as Kidd and Taylor reconnect—whether through humor or tears—their relationship reaches a place of true intimacy.

 

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