Seattle adventures, life, home, and coffee—in no particular order

Traveling with Pomegranates: a semi-complete book review

I’m currently reading listening to Sue Monk Kidd’s menopausal memoir, Traveling with Pomegranates.

The book experience marks a couple of firsts for me:

  • The book was recommended by my father. More accurately, a customer a Spyro’s recommended the book to Papa Chach, who immediately called me to share. Being the good daughter that I am, I let the call go to voicemail, thinking he was soliciting a helper for the restaurant. Papa C hasn’t recommended a work of contemporary lit to me, since, oh wait, never.
  • The recommendation—by my dad—is of a book that I’m actually enjoying. This is decidedly a first. Usually Papa Chach likes to push works by classical Greek authors into my library: Isocrates, you’ll LOVE him! Um, no?
  • I’m embracing the audio book. To be fair, I usually mock those who go the audio book route (I mean, seriously, can’t you people read??), but since I’m nose-deep in texts for school, my bleeding retinas were screaming for a break. The added bonus for this book is that the recording was done by the author (and her daughter/co-author), so instead of being regaled by a random middle-aged British woman (doesn’t that seem to be the default audio book narrator?), I’m lulled into the narrative by the women’s South Carolinian accents. The whole experience has decreased my east-side commute road rage considerably.

As you may or may not recall, Kidd is the author of the bestselling novel The Secret Life of Bees. The book was her first novel, and it’s beautifully written. Her characters, and her interpretation of the wailing wall, had me in tears (ranking this a whopping 10 on Steph’s Literary Tear-o-Meter). Her spiritual and academic interest in goddess worship and feminine strength and vibrancy is infused in all her writing.  

Traveling with Pomegranates is billed as a mother-daughter story, and Kidd co-wrote the memoir with her daughter, Ann. The book captures milestones in both their lives (for Kidd, menopause and the creation of her first novel; for Ann, the depressive ‘Good God, what to do now?’ post-college slump and an impending marriage) set to the backdrop of travels through Greece and France.

At times it’s heart-wrenching and touching enough to move me to tears; at other times it’s so Elizabeth Gilbert I want to cry…in sheer agony.

So far, I’m nearly half-way through, and although Kidd’s occasional overly-self-reflective-Gilbert moments are too much for me, I’m enjoying the book. It’s easy to get caught up in their travels, and I have to admit that I’m intrigued by Kidd’s fascination with the feminine mystique/goddess movement.

Current recommendation: [Should, most likely] Read

Media: Definitely audio book. The experience make me feel like I’m in extended NPR StoryCorps mode, and their lilting accents are dreamy.

Steph’s Literary Tear-o-Meter: 5 (out of 10, which translates to: you may cry during rush hour traffic. Just sayin’)

Stay tuned for the post-book debrief (and an explanation of the fruity title).

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This entry was posted on November 8, 2010 by in Books.
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