Posted by: chlost | October 24, 2010

When a book hits

Today I spent most of the day reading. My sister recommended the book Traveling with Pomegranates. I got through it in a day.

This memoir hit me between the eyes. A mother and daughter write about their travels to Turkey, Greece and France. Each writes of their thoughts and experiences as they travel through these countries, visiting ancient sites. That sounds rather dry, but it is even more accurately a memoir of a young woman coming to terms with her dreams, and her middle-aged mother dealing with her entry into the final third of her life.

The writers struggle with their need to write, their identities as mother and daughter, and women’s place in the world as they age. I share so many of the struggles they describe.

My sister and I discussed the book a little bit when I was about half-way through it. We agree that we feel as though we are definitely cruising through life, as neither of us are anywhere near as introspective or philosophical about our lives. Both of the women in the book have a preoccupation with the Virgin Mary, and black Madonnas in particular. The mother is Sue Monk Kidd, who wrote The Secret Life of Bees. That book has a black Madonna as a central part of the book. Both my sister and I loved Bees, and this book describes how she came to write that novel.

There is much reference to religion within this book, but even when that portion is stripped away, it is very insightful and thought-provoking. These are universal struggles. The mother-daughter relationship, becoming an adult, choosing a career, dealing with aging and the changing role of a parent as a child becomes an adult.

My life is in the throes of almost all of those struggles. I am at a stalemate in my career, my children are now all adults, and the reality of aging has certainly come to the forefront of my psyche.  I am even struggling with the love of writing, which is another of the themes of the book. Both mother and daughter wonder if they are good enough to be writers, to write in the way that they long to write. I know the feeling.

It is not often that a book hits home in so many ways. This is one that will stay with me for a while.



  1. That sounds like an interesting book. We visited The Tenement Museum in New York last week so I bought a couple of books about “the immigrant” experience. I have found it fascinating and learnt a lot – I’ll do a post on it. This week-end we drove north to Nashville where lives my daughter and her family (our 2 little grandsons.) They grow so fast. Today was nice, 81 degrees actually, but a little while ago the siren came on as tornadoes are close by I guess.

    • We have had a beautiful fall, and now it has turned rainy and cold-our normal fall weather. It is perfect weather for reading.

  2. Sounds like a book I would enjoy reading. I tend to like enjoy the writings of introspective travelers. Nothing wrong with cruising through life; we all come wired in unique ways.

    • You might like it, it has quite a bit of Chrisitian religious threads, especially all of the Madonna stuff. That was a little much for me.

      • Hmmm. Well, still a possibility. I’ve gotten pretty good at skimming over those kinds of parts over the years.

  3. As you might imagine, I will be running towards this book (grabbing it for my Kindle, in fact). I feel like I’d heard about it a few months ago but had spaced it out entirely. GREAT tip!

    • You know, I thought of you as I read this book. I hope you enjoy it.

  4. It sounds like this book came at the right time for you. It’s always nice when a book stays with you long after you put it down.

    • Yes, it would be wonderful to write a book that could do this for others.

  5. Remember Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s “Gift from the Sea.” She wrote that for all the same reasons. It was a door opener for several generations.

    Hugs from here…..

  6. I think I need to read that book! I’ll look for it!!!


  7. I know many people struggle with if they are “good enough to write”. Who cares! If one can move their feelings from their mind and soul (not religious reference) onto a page, that is enough.

  8. I love Sue Monk Kidd, and I’ll have to look up that book. Especially since I traveled to Greece and Turkey with my mother.

  9. I really need to take up reading. Seems like I am really missing out.

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