A few years back now, my mother read Traveling with Pomegranates: A Mother- Daughter Story by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor. I don’t recall now just how it happened–chance, a recommendation, a gift–but I do know it was a treasure. As she read the story and shared about it with me, it became an important part of our own mother-daughter story. I’ll always think of my mom when I enjoy the strange sweetness of a pomegranate.
That year she gave me the book, and I’ve had it sitting in a treasured spot on my bookshelf waiting for just the right time to read it. How would I know just the right time? I couldn’t have told you if you asked, but I knew I would feel it. I wouldn’t have been able to tell you that it would be August 2011, but it did turn out to be just the right time.
As I read this beautifully written mother-daughter memoir, I found myself associating on so many levels with both Sue and Ann. The daughter as she struggled to discover and let blossom her passion for writing, and the mother for her search for peace within herself, especially finding peace with the desire to write fiction. Both Sue and Ann write about their travels together in a compelling, deeply thoughtful and personal way. As they explore ancient religious sites in Greece, Turkey, France and also cope with major changes in their personal lives in South Carolina, both mother and daughter find themselves coming together. As the perspective changes from Sue to Ann, we see their relationship deepening and widening. The beautiful settings form a backdrop to the real action happening inside both of them. With their simple and captivating writing style, it’s an extraordinary experience to be able to join them on this journey.
While reading I came back time and again to my relationship with my mother, the most influential and treasured relationship in my life. It’s difficult to express the gratefulness I feel for having my mother and my best friend as a companion in life’s adventures. They are deep feelings that are hard to put into words, and I treasured having the chance to hear two talented writers explore this moving topic.
As she does many moments throughout the story, Sue Monk Kidd finds the perfect quotation to end the book that pulls together and captures the spirit and love that both mother and daughter express through their writing in Traveling with Pomegranates. Anais Nin wrote, “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection.” To taste life once through the eyes of a talented writer is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Two at the same time is a rare joy.