Family vacations can be as stressful as they are relaxing. In 1998, Sue Monk Kidd
, author of the bestseller The Secret Life of Bees
, traveled to Greece and France with her daughter, Ann Kidd Taylor
. A decade later, mother and daughter penned a dual memoir of their travels, Traveling with Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter Story
. Out this month, the book juxtaposes the reflections of a mother, searching for creative renewal at age 50, and a daughter, mired in the aimless confusion of 20-something depression. We asked Sue and Ann for their favorite books that encapsulate the complicated mother-daughter bond.
Mother Picks from Sue Monk Kidd
The Bonesetter's Daughter
by Amy Tan
"I took this novel on vacation a few summers ago. I can still remember the beach chair I sat in day after day as I read about the conflicted, loving, and enduring bond between a mother and a daughter. I remember nothing else about the vacation but this sumptuous book."
by Isabel Allende
"At first, I didn't know if I could bear to read this heart-rending memoir, which tells the incandescent story of Allende's journey through her grown daughter's coma and death. But I ended it filled with hope and feeling like I'd been returned to what matters most in life."
One True Thing
by Anna Quindlen
"I love this utterly gripping novel about a daughter on a career fast track, who returns home to care for her mother and discovers her as a real person before it's too late."
The Been Trees
by Barbara Kingsolver
"One of my all-time favorite books about a wise and funny young woman who has managed to escape her poor life in Kentucky without getting pregnant (this being her main goal growing up), and the three-year-old Native American girl she 'inherits' on her road trip. The novel's beauty and brilliance are the deepening way this unlikely pair become mother and daughter."
The Mermaids Singing
by Lisa Carey
"This novel is as magical as the title. Narrated in the voices of three generations of women—mother, daughter, and grandmother—it crisscrosses between America and Ireland, awash in islands, Celtic mythology, and the rich exploration of motherhood."
Daughter Picks from Ann Kidd Taylor
by Louisa May Alcott
"No matter how often I read this 1868 classic, I find myself enthralled. Marmee, a wise and loving mother, encourages her daughters' ambitions during a time when such notions are not fashionable. You couldn't ask for a better mom in any historical period."
by Joanne Harris
"When magical Vianne and her imaginative daughter, Anouk, open a decadent chocolate shop in a small French town during Lent, secrets are revealed and love is tested in the village, but not as much as between Vianne and Anouk themselves. Impossible to read without eating chocolate."
Not Becoming My Mother
by Ruth Reichl
"After her mother's death, Reichl goes through her mother's letters and stumbles upon one that is written to her. What unfolds is a compelling story about a mother's choices and the lessons they teach her daughter. Sometimes her best lesson is what not to do."
Anywhere But Here
by Mona Simpson
"Adele and Ann are one of the more unique mother-daughter duos in literature. Adele could have taken a lesson from Marmee in
Little Women about the finer points of motherhood, not to mention the basic ones. I found myself rooting for Ann and absorbed in the messy bond she has with her mother."
Sense and Sensibiilty
by Jane Austen
"Mrs. Dashwood and her daughters support each other during dreary times. When Mrs. Dashwood comes to ailing Marianne's bedside, it is vividly clear why you never outgrow wanting your mother when you're sick."