Thursday, November 12, 2009

175 - Traveling with Pomegranates; A Mother-Daughter Story; Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor


Having enjoyed both The Secret Life of Bees, and The Mermaid Chair, by Sue Monk Kidd, I was anxious to try her latest book: Traveling With Pomegranates,  a mother-daughter travel memoir of sorts.

In 1998 through 2000, Sue Monk Kidd,  had just turned 50 at the time, had been dealing with issues of aging and  peri-memopause. She had decided that as she said goodbye to her youth, she wanted to try something new. She wanted to try to write fiction.  At the same time, Sue's daughter, Ann Kidd Taylor, had just graduated from college at 22, and had found out that she had been rejected from the grad school of her choice. She was suffering from depression, and trying to figure out what to do with her life.

The mother-daughter duo spent 1998 through 2000 traveling through Greece and France, on a spiritual journey of sorts, as they tried to redefine their lives. Their travels to sacred sites provided the catalyst for some soulful introspection.

My thoughts: For me this travel memoir was somewhat blah. The audio book was written and read in alternating chapters by mother and daughter.  The story was very slow paced, the voices monotone, and I just did not think the mother-daughter issues were that unusual to warrant a memoir. Many, many women go through the same feelings and issues that Sue Monk Kidd did when they transition to middle age and menopause. Granted not all decide to go on and write a novel, that becomes a bestseller, but their issues are not that different.  As for Ann Kidd Taylor, her situation is not that unique either. Many college grads feel anxious (some depressed) not knowing what the future has in store for them.  To me, the issues and themes just seem too ordinary to me, and, as a result made for a disappointing memoir. (Unfortunately, I can't recommend this book).

29 comments:

  1. I like what I've read of her fiction, but I could only stand a few chapters of that religious memoir she wrote (I forget the title, and I don't feel like looking it up). It was about how she changed to an entire way of religious thinking.

    So, your opinions of "Traveling with Pomegranates" confirms my decision on passing on this one.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy this one. I haven't read it, but enjoyed her other book, The Secret Life of Bees, very much.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Too bad. I just won a copy of this book. Maybe reading it will be better than the audio. Voices can sometimes color a narrative in a different way than your imagination would. Maybe.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Well if nothing else it has an interesting title.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This actually sounds like the kind of book I might like. I'll check it out. Perhaps its better in the written form then in audio.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sorry to hear that this din't work for you. I think that sometimes everyday things can work well if they are well written and you can relate to them. Perhaps this is one of those books that doesn't work well on audio? Or perhaps you need to have shared their experiences?

    Thanks for the thoughtful review!

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is nearly the same premise as French Milk (mother turns 50, daughter facing college graduation, expended travel to Paris). But French Milk succeeds as a graphic travel memoir written by the daughter...too bad this one did not. Thanks for the honest review.

    ReplyDelete
  8. It was a surprise to see your sad face instead of the yellow smiley. This doesn't sound like my cuppa either. Generally memoirs leave me cold unless the person has led an extraordinary life. Better luck next time.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sorry to hear you didn't like it. I imagined that it would be a lot better as Sue has been so successful with her fiction.

    ReplyDelete
  10. They spent two years just traveling merrily around Europe? Huh. Nice work if you can get it.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks for the honest review. It sounds like this book maybe more of a cash in on Monk Kidd's name than a revealing/enlightening memoir.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I read The Mermaid Chair and really didn't care for it at all so I think I will skip this one.

    ReplyDelete
  13. What a bummer that this one didn't work out for you. I wasn't one of the people jumping up and down after reading The Secret Life of Bees so I didn't really plan on reading this one anyway. Thanks for the review.

    ReplyDelete
  14. That's why I have such a problem with memoirs. It has to be something completely unique to catch my eye. Sorry this one was so disappointing; I had my eye on it, too.

    --Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

    ReplyDelete
  15. What a shame. I haven't read any of her books, but I've wanted to, and anything involving pomegranates always gets my attention. Do you think you would have felt different if you'd read it instead of listened?

    ReplyDelete
  16. I've been picking this one up and setting it down. I don't know if I'm going to make it through. It seems overly introspective to me. I'm glad I'm not the only one.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Memoirs seem like the new thing I want to get into but I wonder if I will have this feeling also "should it really be a memoir"

    BTW have a giveaway you may be interested in.

    http://teawithmarce.blogspot.com/2009/11/gods-behaving-badly-review-my-first.html

    Have a great weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I have the print version - I'm hoping it will be better.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thank you for the honest review. Though I really liked The Secret Life of Bees and I love the idea of a mom-daughter memoir, I have had a feeling this one wasn't for me.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Too bad this one didn't work for you. I have also heard mixed reviews for The Mermaid Chair. It's one I got from PBS and sent back out without ever reading...

    ReplyDelete
  21. I wasn't that crazy about the mermaid book but I loved Secret Life of Bees....disappointing for sure!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi, Diane! At least, it's one less book from your TBR pile.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I had been wondering about this book and am sorry to hear that it wasn't a winner with you. I don't think I would care for a memoir that wasn't unique or revealing either, so I will be skipping this one. Thanks for your honesty in this review!

    ReplyDelete
  24. I agree with your review. Just finished it and don't recommend it.
    Marsha

    ReplyDelete
  25. I'm sorry to hear you didn't enjoy this one very much, especially since I have been looking forward to reading it! Did you read Sue Monk Kidd's earlier memoir, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter? I must admit I was a bit disappointed in it for similar reasons...

    ReplyDelete
  26. I have this one on my TBR stack. I loved The Secret Life of Bees, did not enjoy The Mermaid Chair, and felt like her spiritual memoir, Dance of the Dissident Daughter, was a bit contrived in the way it was written. I don't have really high expectations for this book but I am curious to read it. Thanks for the honest review!

    ReplyDelete
  27. It sounds like this could have been good ... too bad it wasn't.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I'm surprised at the less than enthusastic reviews I'm seeing for this book. I haven't read it yet, but I was hoping it would be a good experience. Sorry you didn't like it. Nice cover, tho!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to visit and double thanks for any comments. If you ask a question in your comments, I will try to reply to it here, or by email if your settings allow me to do so. Thank again for visiting.