What could be better than curling up with a nice coffee and a good book? Well I guess the only thing that could make that better is doing it in some amazing and exotic location… but when I am back at home there is nothing I like better than reading.
My book collection spans many genres, but I do enjoy a good light hearted travel narrative. Which is why I said “yes please” when SourceBooks offered to send me two copies of their latest travel memoir “We’ll Always Have Paris” – one copy for myself and one to give away to my readers.
In short – “We’ll Always Have Paris” is a collection of stories as a Mother and Daughter explore Europe over several different short holidays. Their first trip away is a 10 day sojourn to Paris when daughter Katie is 8 years old.
The book is more than just a travel narrative; providing evocative descriptions of sights and sounds, but also shows how Mother and Daughter both grow and learn as individuals as a result of their travels, as well as how Mother and Daughter grow their relationship as a result of their travels.
The mother in the story, Jennifer, begins her travel career on pretty shaky feet. She is nervous, overwhelmed, and has difficulty letting go and enjoying the moment, and throughout the book we see her character open up more and more. Jennifer’s motives for her first trip abroad with Katie is an irrational fear that she will die young, as she has yet to let go of the trauma of losing her father at a young age. As travel opens Jennifer up to more and more new experiences, she begins to be able to forgive herself and let go of her anxiety surrounding her father’s death, allowing her relationship with Katie to grow even stronger.
But even more interesting to me, as a mother who travels with a young child, is the narrative of how Katie grows and develops from her experiences. Even at the young age of eight years old, Katie leaves Paris with a new knowledge of how stereotypes are not always reality. By the end of their journeys, Katie is a well rounded and intelligent young woman who embraces all the world has to offer, has a love for art, and takes life’s challenges with a grain of salt. What more could a parent want for their child?
Reading this book inspired new hopes and dreams for my young son. Jacob is only 15 months old, but soon we will be embarking to his 13th country. Her won’t remember any of it, but hopefully our travel will already be helping in his brain and personality development by bombarding him with new and interesting experiences. I can only hope, that like Katie, Jacob will be asking me to take him to Modern Art Gallery’s and to climb the eiffel tower with him. Hopefully our travel will instil in him a love of adventure that isn’t afraid of change or new experiences. Hopefully our travel will help him become a sensitive, empathetic, and inquisitive young man.
For anyone nervous about their first trip away from home – this book is for you. Watching Jennifer break out of her shell and embrace travel and change is uplifting.
For anyone wanting to travel with their children – this book is for you. The wonder and new perspective that a child can bring to any situation only serves to make travel more interesting.