Ever since the death of her father, Jennifer has always had a fear dying young. In the book, her dad comes off as a little eccentric. He seemed to dream big, even if those dreams weren't realistic. He also seemed like a person you would want to have a drink with and just listen to him talk. I can see why Jennifer missed him so much. Jennifer was still in college at the time of his death, leaving her with a fear of dying young. A fear that remained with her even after giving birth to her own child.
How does one conquer that fear? Of course the answer is to go to Paris, London, Italy, Spain, Amsterdam, and Paris again. To some it might sound impulsive. When I first heard about this book, I thought it was impulsive. Her husband, William, reminded her that the bathrooms and the kitchen in their home needed repairs. According to William, Jennifer has always had "kitchen envy." I can relate to "kitchen envy." Whenever I see a fancy kitchen on TV, I always imagine myself cooking in it. But if I had a choice between a new kitchen and a trip across Europe, it would be a very difficult choice. After reading the book, I don't think this journey was a choice for Jennifer, it was something that had to be done.
Katie was only eight when they made their first stop in Paris. My first thought, how many eight year olds would or could appreciate a trip like this? Katie didn't come across as a typical eight-year-old. She comforted her mother with the tenderness of an adult and made witty comments on cue. How many kids her age would say, "I get Paris"? I've been to Paris twice, and don't know that I could say that. She's very much an old soul, but still had the exuberance of a child when speaking about Harry Potter books.
My favorite moment? When Jennifer and Katie are on the train to London and they end up sitting across from English actress Thandie Newton. They had a very nice conversation, and one moment made me bust out laughing. Let's set the scene, Katie is reading the latest Harry Potter book and makes an observation. What? .... "Ron Weasley just ejaculated!" Of course Katie misspoke, but it was certainly a cute moment.
I don't normally read books like this, but I'm glad I did. I can see the appeal people have for travel memoirs. It's not so much about the physical journey as it is about the emotional one. Jennifer Coburn's writing has an easy and engaging flow to it. With each chapter, I wanted to keep reading. I wanted to know where Jennifer and Katie ended up. To all the mothers and daughters, let Jennifer Coburn take you on a journey of love, laughter, family, and of course Paris!
Note: I received a copy of the book from the publisher (Sourcebooks) at the request of the author in exchange for an honest review.