Archive for ‘Memoir & Biography’

January 3rd, 2010

Traveling with Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd & Ann Kidd Taylor; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: Traveling with Pomegranates

Authors: Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor

Published: 2009 by Viking Press

Number of Pages: 282

Rating: 3/5



“I glance over at my mother. Her eyes are closed, her fingers interlocked. I wonder what her prayers are about. Her novel? Her blood pressure? Peace on earth? The two of us praying like this to the Black Madonna suddenly washes over me, and I’m filled with love for my mother. The best gift she has given me is the constancy of her belief. Whatever I become, she loves me. To her, I am enough.”

“I look up at Mary and concede what I am coming to know. I will become a writer. As we descend the stairway, I tell Mom that since we have only two more nights in France, we should go all out on the meals. No more hamburgers. Bring on the baguettes. The cheese plate. Steak au poivre. Champagne.

“Then, after a few moments of wondering, I come out and ask her, ‘What did you pray for back on the kneeler?’” 

“ ‘You,’ she answers.”


Okay, bear with me people; I read this book awhile ago.

As anyone close to me knows, I was and still am completely in love with The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. I’ll go into that further when I read it over again.

Consequently, when a new book with her name slapped on the front cover appeared, I lunged for it. I was intrigued by the thought of her having a daughter – not just a daughter, but a daughter who wrote. And, apparently, writes well!

Traveling with Pomegranates is a mother-daughter story and takes place over the years during which both are thrust into new stages in their lives. Sue is turning 50 and Ann is graduating from college. Suddenly, they both are changing, their situations are changing, and they both must learn to understand themselves and understand the new differences in each other. (Wow, I really wish I could figure out how to rephrase that last sentence. Ick.)

First of all, can we all agree that the cover this book is beautiful? Honestly, anyone’s eyes would be drawn to its sweet simplicity, and it’s a wonderful representation of the book as a whole. The book is thought-provoking yet calming. It is ideal when you are looking for a momentary escape from reality, and will likely leave you with some valuable knowledge.

The book had a few clear main focuses, such as the mother-daughter relationship and the spiritual and personal discoveries made by both, but there were many backgrounds that greatly affected the feel of and mark left by the book.

For example, the different settings, from Greece to Paris to South Carolina, were all influential, and the happenings at all led step-by-step to the eventual denouement. It was certainly one of the few books with complete closure, which is a recommendation in and of itself. As a reader, I was completely satisfied with the connections made by the Ann and Sue, and the feelings and conclusions that evolved from events.

The chapters alternate between Sue’s and Ann’s point of view (all is written in present-tense), which allows readers to get the full story. You could literally draw a venn diagram in relation to this book. Certain things directly affected both, such as their relationship; daughter worrying about mother’s blood pressure, and mother letting go of certain claims on her daughter as her daughter grows. Then, we see Ann as she develops a relationship with Scott and as she deals with the troubles of finding a career, and we accompany Sue on her journey to write a novel (The Secret Life of Bees). (By the way, the way she went about writing said novel was quite interesting.)

Honestly, though, one of the most crucial aspects of the book (other than their relationship in general) are their spiritual discoveries over the time recorded in the book. Sue Monk Kidd’s connection with, respect and love for, and interest in the Black Madonna evolves, and, if you’ve read The Secret Life of Bees, you’ve seen that her faith has affected her and her writings immensely.

Ann also makes some discoveries similar to, yet different from her mother’s and watches as her mother slowly becomes more engrossed in reevaluating her life and adjusting herself to the coming years.

Overall, the book was a touching, amusing, and heart-felt one. I enjoyed it far more than a few of the nonfiction books I’ve read. It is certainly, however, a book you must be open-minded about and is an extremely difficult book to speak of, since I can guess it has a great many different effects on everyone.

I will be honest, and say that I probably won’t reread the book, unless, of course, I want some information on attractions in Greece.

Go ahead and read it and see what you think. I’d be interested to know.