Giveaway: Have Mother Will Travel: A Mother and Daughter Discover Themselves, Each Other, and the World

by Elizabeth

Elizabeth, staff reviewer at 5 Minutes for Books, shares her thoughts about Have Mother, Will Travel. She received a copy of the book from the publisher, but her opinions are her own:

Mother-daughter duo Claire and Mia Fontaine were each feeling at a bit of a loss in their private lives. They’d already written a book together*, on Mia’s rough teenage years which included running away, felony drug charges, and a stint in a lock-down boot-camp school in the Czech Republic. They healed their relationship, but now they feel they’re drifting apart again. Claire has an amazing idea–why not spend 5 months together on a whirlwind, round-the-world trip?

They sign up for something called the Global Scavenger Hunt, which is an arrangement where teams raise money for charity by traveling through 10 countries on 4 continents, completing scavenges that often are presented in the form of riddles. Afterwards, they decide to spend the summer together in the south of France, Mia quitting a job she’s not thrilled with to spend extended time with their mother.

Have Mother, Will Travel is an unusual book. Although it describes their travels, the gist of the book is more about Claire and Mia examining themselves, their relationship to each other as adult daughter and mother, and even in part Claire’s relationship with her own mother, a Hungarian Holocaust survivor who is closer to her grand-daughter than her daughter.

The first half of the book concerns their time with the Global Scavenger Hunt, which is a wild ride through Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, Cairo, Nepal, and the Balkans. Little of the book focuses on the actual scavenges, which disappointed me a bit–I would have liked to learn more about this, and I really enjoyed their descriptions of the places and people they met. The second half of the book, which covers their summer in France, also includes gorgeous descriptions of beautiful places, and again, I wanted more of that. What they do describe is incredible though–from the elephant who nearly swallows Mia’s passport, to Claire’s, um, unfortunate ride on a camel (of all the days to wear a skirt…), to their Balkan taxi driver’s penchant for speeding down the hairpin bends of guardrail-less mountain passes, the two managed to have plenty of adventures. Towards the end of the book, Mia revisits the school in the Czech Republic where she first began to heal from her past, and together they visit the Hungarian town where Claire’s Jewish mother hid from the Nazis.

Have Mother, Will Travel is written with Claire and Mia alternating, and some of the best parts are when both describe the same incident with different eyes. The two go very deep into their own motives and actions, including moments such as silly squabbles familiar to any mother-daughter duo. They get down to the daily, messy stuff of life.

Mia is dealing with wondering what to do with her life, now that she’s out of college and working, 25, but not feeling quite grown-up yet. As she observes various mother-daughter duos in cultures around the world, and recognizes maturity in other places that she doesn’t see in her American peers, she ponders what this might mean in her relating to herself, her mother, and the world at large. Claire, meanwhile, is facing life after 50, a house in Florida bought on a whim that needs major repairs, and wondering if she should change direction at this point. Their time away from the daily grind and focused on each other and their relationship brings clarity to them both in their respective ways.

Most importantly though, in Have Mother, Will Travel the two define and redefine their relationship. I liked how they compared our American ideal of mothers and daughters as best friends to the model they see in traditional cultures, where mothers and daughters share a close-knit bond that nonetheless precludes friendship, based more on authority and respect. Claire and Mia are deeply honest about themselves and honest with each other, and that’s what allows their relationship to thrive. I hope Ilsa (my daughter, now 16) and I can one day have a similar honesty in our own relationship, and also that some day we can travel the world and then spend a summer in Provence together too. In this fantasy, she is finally mature enough to no longer mock my accent.

*Come Back. Also read  Claire’s insights on Four Ways to Improve your Mother-Daughter Relationship (posted earlier this week here at 5 Minutes for Mom).

Win it!

One of you can win a copy of this novel (U.S. and Canadian shipping addresses only). Just follow the instructions in the rafflecopter below, starting off by answering the question: “What do you and your daughter (or you and your mother) most enjoy doing together?”

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Email Author    |    Website About Elizabeth

Elizabeth is a voracious reader with eclectic tastes who loves being part of the team at 5 Minutes for Books. She's lived in 7 countries and is currently in Oregon, where she spends most of her time with Iraqi refugees. She has 3 teens.

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{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Anne April 22, 2013 at 10:57 am

Unfortunately my mother is dead, but we enjoyed walks together.


2 Patricia Wojnar Crowley April 22, 2013 at 9:30 pm

I love going out to lunch from time to time with my mom!


3 Linda Kish April 22, 2013 at 11:17 pm

Before my mom passed away, we enjoyed going out to eat together a lot. We also enjoyed sharing books back and forth between us.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com


4 Kim Pinch April 22, 2013 at 11:47 pm

Going out for lunch and having a long chat.


5 Denise M April 23, 2013 at 10:37 am

We love to walk around the mall and have a nice lunch


6 Heidi April 23, 2013 at 11:10 am

Me and my mom like to walk and talk about natural health together. :)


7 danielle lima April 23, 2013 at 2:49 pm

I don’t spend too much time with my mom, but I love going out and shopping or exploring the world with my daughter.


8 Charlene S April 23, 2013 at 2:59 pm

I enjoyed shopping and cooking with my mom.


9 shannon Baas April 23, 2013 at 3:46 pm

at this point, watching old shows.


10 Stacy Morris April 23, 2013 at 5:12 pm

I love to go shopping and talk with my mom.


11 June S. April 23, 2013 at 5:35 pm

She & I to go shopping together and then having lunch.


12 Chuck April 23, 2013 at 6:46 pm

Just spending time with each other.


13 Julia Baxter April 23, 2013 at 8:27 pm

I love going grocery shopping with my mom. We have a great time planning meals and finding the best bargains.


14 Vicky H. April 24, 2013 at 12:07 am

Since my mom lives in Korea, I most enjoy talking to her on the phone.


15 Carol April 24, 2013 at 3:33 am

I like to do crafts & shop with my daughter.


16 Debbie April 24, 2013 at 6:24 pm

I have 3 daughters and we love crafting and shopping together.


17 Van April 25, 2013 at 11:11 am

She and I like watching movies together.


18 ang April 25, 2013 at 12:30 pm

love cooking and baking with my mom, and my kiddos!


19 Deb April 25, 2013 at 1:42 pm

Even though my mom passed away a number of years ago, my fondest memories are of her and me on Saturday mornings sitting on her sagging water bed, eating donuts, drinking a cup of coffee and solving the world’s problems, one at a time.


20 Cindi April 25, 2013 at 3:05 pm

I used to love flower gardening from a very young child
until my mom passed away…
Thanks, Cindi


21 Angela E. April 25, 2013 at 5:10 pm

We go and have our girls day out every now & then.


22 Madonna April 26, 2013 at 1:34 am

I love to just hang out and window shop with my mother


23 Edna Williams April 26, 2013 at 11:09 am

My mom passed away, but I enjoyed going out with her.


24 Heather J April 26, 2013 at 6:53 pm

“In this fantasy, she is finally mature enough to no longer mock my accent.” I hate to say it, but probably not. I still enjoy joking with my mom about her New York accent, and I’m in my mid-30s. :)

Thanks for being a part of the tour!


25 Anita Yancey April 26, 2013 at 8:06 pm

I enjoy cooking and baking with my daughter. But we also like taking a break and going out to eat together. Thanks for having the giveaway.


26 Susan P. April 26, 2013 at 11:51 pm

My mother used to take us on wild orchid hunts when we lived in the Bahamas.


27 Joey Brown April 27, 2013 at 6:17 am

My mother and I enjoy shopping and talking about our favorite television shows together.


28 Stephanie Larison April 27, 2013 at 11:04 pm

Riding bikes with each other


29 Don April 29, 2013 at 11:29 am

We like to go camping together.


30 Garrett April 29, 2013 at 12:46 pm

We go to have a nice Sunday Brunch whenever I’m in town to visit her.


31 Lori D. April 30, 2013 at 11:08 am

We use to go shopping together.


32 Renee G May 1, 2013 at 1:26 am

Having a tea party.


33 Misha Lynn Estrada May 2, 2013 at 12:20 am

I love braiding my daughter’s hair.


34 Sarah cooper May 2, 2013 at 1:59 am

Cooking or crafting


35 Kelley H May 2, 2013 at 1:22 pm

I love gardening together


36 shawna May 2, 2013 at 2:34 pm

We love going for walks together.


37 kathy pease May 2, 2013 at 2:57 pm

my daughter and I love to go shopping


38 Ed Nemmers May 2, 2013 at 5:54 pm

I used to enjoy interacting in the kitchen!


39 Idaho Jill May 2, 2013 at 6:16 pm

cooking together (mom AND daughter!)


40 Alice May 2, 2013 at 6:23 pm

Singing karaoke with her!


41 Brenda Elsner May 2, 2013 at 9:51 pm

I love shopping with my mother!!


42 krystal wethington May 3, 2013 at 8:21 am

shopping with her


43 Marjorie May 3, 2013 at 8:25 am

I just love shopping with my daughter, she takes me to all the thrift stores and we have so much fun looking at all the treasures. We have many laughs when we are out together.


44 Natalie May 3, 2013 at 8:37 am

Love shopping with my mom and daughters thank you


45 Lisa May 3, 2013 at 10:06 am

I loved going shopping and watching TV with my mom.


46 Georgia Beckman May 3, 2013 at 10:45 am

Honestly, with either my mom, or my daughters (4 of them) the very best thing is just sitting around chatting, enjoying each other’s company. And if we’re all together, that’s just icing on the cake!


47 Theresa J May 3, 2013 at 12:16 pm

We love going to concerts together


48 Buddy Garrett May 3, 2013 at 3:19 pm

I enjoy shopping with my daughter.


49 Liz May 3, 2013 at 4:00 pm

My mom was somewhat nervous about overseas travel, so her “seasoned” daughter and son-in-law took her under their wing for her first trip. Mom was a good sport about sharing the mattress on the floor in a room provided by a waiter after we missed the ferry connection.


50 Wayne Lecoy May 3, 2013 at 7:50 pm

Please enter me in your giveaway.
It would be great to win a copy of
Have Mother,Will Travel By Claire and Mia Fontaine.
I would give this book to my mother if i won.
In response to your question of
What do you most enjoying doing with your daughter (or with your mother?)?
My mother and i enjoy going to concerts and movies together.


51 susan smoaks May 3, 2013 at 8:27 pm

we love to do tea parties


52 cassandra May 3, 2013 at 9:25 pm

I enjoy gardening with my mom.


53 Brenda Witherspoon-Bedard May 3, 2013 at 9:30 pm

visiting and drinking coffee together


54 tina reynolds May 3, 2013 at 10:09 pm

playing dolls and draw


55 Jenny May 3, 2013 at 10:15 pm

I enjoy spending time with mom whether it is just to have dinner together, go shopping and even traveling when we get the chance.


56 Nancy May 3, 2013 at 10:19 pm

I enjoy hearing about all she’s doing at her first professional job.


57 Jennifer Clay May 3, 2013 at 10:37 pm

My daughters are 5 and 7. I really like just sitting down with them and doing crafts, coloring or watching a movie with them.


58 Shirley Zolenski May 3, 2013 at 10:49 pm

With my mom. Going to lunch or museum or zoo.


59 Gianna May 4, 2013 at 12:02 am

We love Cooking/baking.


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