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We'll Always Have Paris: A Mother/Daughter Memoir
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We'll Always Have Paris: A Mother/Daughter Memoir

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3.69  ·  Rating details ·  2,286 ratings  ·  390 reviews
How her daughter and her passport taught Jennifer Coburn to forget about dying and truly live

Jennifer Coburn has always been terrified of dying young. It's the reason she drops everything during the summers on a quest to travel through Europe with her daughter, Katie, before it's too late. Even though her husband can't join them, even though she's nervous about the journey
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Paperback, 377 pages
Published April 8th 2014 by Sourcebooks (first published January 1st 2014)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
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 ·  2,286 ratings  ·  390 reviews


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Tommeh Bell
Jan 31, 2014 rated it it was ok
The Nitty Gritty: Jennifer Coburn is a woman feeling the icy breath of the Grim Reaper down her back. The death of her father at the age of 19 introduced her to death far earlier than she would have liked. Though with his weed addiction and smoking habits I cannot fathom why she was not prepared for his passing.

Her fear of death prompted her to abandon real life, her husband (only for the summers spent traveling), snag her passport and daughter and trek through Europe like a star-eyed teenager s
...more
Allie Smith
Jan 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: grief, memoir-travel
I love to travel, especially with my children. Seeing new places together is always fun and introducing them to places I love is a personal thrill. I also treasure the memories we create together, and the camaraderie that we share, which can’t be duplicated at home. On our journeys, it’s us against the world! So I was excited to read this travel memoir about the European adventures of a mother and her daughter. And I adore the title, We’ll Always have Paris. Continue reading at Chick Lit Central ...more
Negin
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
This memoir/travelogue wasn’t nearly as enjoyable as I had hoped it would be. The book alternates in what I thought was a rather tedious and predictable style, going back in the past remembering her musician hippy father and again forwarding to the present. It was mostly boring and made me fall asleep quickly several times.
Liane
Jan 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Jennifer Coburn, you had me at "Paris."

In the introduction to this engaging memoir, Jennifer remarks that she has "never heard anyone talk about Paris without sighing." I'm no exception. As a francophile and lover of memoir, I was delighted to receive an advance review copy.

Jennifer was still in her teens when she lost her father, and, she writes, has spent her adulthood "checking my rear-view mirror to see if the Grim Reaper is tailgaiting." Despite excellent health, she was convinced she too
...more
Lou
Jun 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Well, I feel a little bit split...

The idea of traveling around Europe with your daughter, to create memories that will be recorded in her memory in case you die young, is just simply great.

I really enjoyed the whole story. I loved the characters because they felt very real. I liked that in the midst of all the craziness of the trip there were some funny comments of Katie or some funny anecdotes.
Also, I think that in some point of our lives we're all afraid to die young and be forgotten by our lo
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Michelle
Dec 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, 2014, paris
Oh how I loved this memoir. It starts out charming and fun and witty (Mother and 8 year old daughter take a trip to Paris) but soon you realize how much deeper this goes. Excellent rumination on being both a parent and someone else's daughter, and how that all intertwines. Vivid descriptions of their travels (not just Paris) and tremendous character development. Heartbreaking, hilarious, and everything in between. So much depth here, while still being an easy read. The author should be proud of ...more
Debbie
Dec 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Should be required reading for every mother out there!

An honest, tender hearted memoir, about how a daughter can show a mother how to really live! We'll Always Have Paris is the memoir of Jennifer and her daughter Katie and their adventures through Europe. They start with Paris but end up traveling all over Europe. Fun adventures,disappointments, mishaps,and lessons learned along the way. These two woman grow up through their Paris trips together. They learn to appreciate the finer things in li
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Bookworm
Apr 17, 2014 rated it did not like it
Well, got fooled by reviews AGAIN. I was under the impression this book would be about this mom/daughter relationship as they travel throughout Europe and Korea. It was a little, but not all of it.

It's a memoir of their travels, of Coburn's relationship with her father, and the sights, sounds, tastes and more of the places Coburn and her daughter see. In the hands of a better writer this would have been fantastic and funny.

Instead? It comes across as insipid. Coburn sounds pretty self-centered,
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Colleen
Sep 25, 2014 rated it liked it
This memoir was less enjoyable than I anticipated, mostly because the descriptions of travel felt so one-dimensional. "We'll Always Have Paris" is a mother/daughter memoir that has a great premise - the author wants to "pack her daughter's suitcase with memories" mostly because she (the mother) has this complex that she's going to die young, since her father died young. There's a lot of development about her own father/daughter relationship, which was ultimately less interesting than the travel ...more
Vickie
I absolutely loved We'll Always Have Paris: A Mother/Daughter Memoir by Jennifer Coburn! Jennifer decides to create memories for her daughter and sets out on trips to Europe over the course of eight years with just the two of them. The first and last trips were to Paris with London, Rome, Spain, and Amsterdam in between. I enjoyed the author's style of present and past, entwining her relationship with her father with that of her daughter. The process of Jennifer growing from a daughter who lost ...more
Kimberlee
Jan 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book! Such a funny and poignant book written through a mom's words of her travels with her daughter. Her recollections of Europe and its wonderful people were such a joy to read, having been on similar journeys myself. On a deeper level the stories she recounts of her travel help her come to terms with her own childhood and the untimely death of her father. At times I laughed out loud and had to read passages to my husband; other times I cried from empathizing with her pain. This wa ...more
Mom
Jul 06, 2017 rated it liked it
I have this bad habit of judging a book by its cover; sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't. This book had a happy looking cover, some good comments, a good synopsis on the back, and it was about France (which I have a lifelong obsession with). How could you go wrong? Don't get me wrong, it was well written and I only found two grammatical errors, so that was good. However, I didn't realize that it was about multiple trips and in different countries other than France. Still not a reaso ...more
Susan Gembrowski
Jan 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"We'll Always Have Paris" is an A+ book that allows the reader to gawk at Paris, London, Rome, Barcelona and Amsterdam through the eyes of a self-critical, yet genuinely funny, author. We climb the Eiffel Tower and trudge 30 stories up at the Sagrada Familia basilica with Jennifer Coburn and her young daughter, a girl wise beyond her years. We stand with them before masterpieces by Dali, Gaudi and Picasso, party with an Italian family and hike in Montserrat. The journey treats us to glimpses of ...more
Margaret Dilloway
May 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Our book club read this and we were all happy to read a memoir where we related to the narrator and didn't feel like telling her to just shut up, like we've done with others! LOL. It's not just about Paris but about several different European cities that Coburn takes her daughter to visit, staving off her own fears and insecurities about parenting/life/everything.

I especially loved the flashbacks to NYC in the 70s as Coburn relates her messy but loving relationship with her somewhat unreliable
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Kerri
Feb 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
The book just was so-so, although I started dreading the stories about interactions with her parents. When she insisted to take the cocoa from the tavern after the owner told her no - that was the point I lost complete interest in even finishing it. I rarely quit without finishing completely. It just rang stereotypical Americans in another culture where they learn nothing and just don't get "it".

I have no idea how this got 5 stars.
Sandra McKenna
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very entertaining read.

I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir. Jennifer 's fabulous writing style is easy to read, and entertaining at the same time. Over the years she and her daughter take four different trips to Europe, beginning and ending in Paris. Finding it difficult to come to terms with her father's early death, there are several flashbacks to Jennifer 's own childhood. Well written and thoroughly recommended.
Gina
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
A sweet and surprisingly funny memoir. Some might find it a bit self indulgent but I appreciated the gumption of this Mom who was determined to make memories with her daughter in Europe. Travels with my daughter are some of my best memories too! The joy of travel was balanced by the pain of loss in her reminiscences of her father..
Michelle
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great travel book! I also appreciated the way the author shares her exploration of the grief she was still challenged with 30 years after the death of her father. Very inspiring in both realms.
R.D. Kardon
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Funny, engaging and real

I did not know exactly what to expect when I started reading this book. I was pleasantly surprised by how the author wove the memories she made in the present with her daughter and those of the past with her father. Coburn takes us all over Europe and New York, but mostly inside herself. She explores her own fears and loss along with Michelangelo 's David and the Eiffel Tower. Beautifully written, the reader will run to pack a bag and travel along!
Beth
The reviews for this book fooled me into thinking it would be an incredibly heartwarming, funny and profound memoir. It was none of those and I'm frankly wondering what everyone else saw in this. In my mind, for a memoir to be good, the author either has to have a really interesting story to tell, or the author has to be able to tell the story in a really interesting way. Neither one was the case here. First of all, I somehow thought that this story was about an adult daughter and her mother tra ...more
Lizzie Harwood
Jan 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful, wonderful memoir of travelling outside your comfort zone, of relationships with our parents and as parents to our kids, of living and letting go.... this memoir gripped me from page one with Jennifer Coburn's warm wit, self-deprecating humor, and many many out-of-the-ordinary travel experiences. I've lived in Rome, Paris, London, and spent a lot of time in Amsterdam yet experiencing these cities through the author and her daughter's trips, each city felt brand new.

The Amsterdam chapt
...more
Elizabeth Cobbs
Jun 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Such a funny book! Like all parents and most adults, Coburn pretends her hardest to be a grown-up even while her daughter is the calm, sensible partner in their adventures. The author's hilarious sensibility will have you laughing first at her, then yourself. Not to be missed.
J.H. Moncrieff
Sep 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a tough one to rate...leaning toward 3.5 stars.

I'm not sure combining light-hearted, funny anecdotes about the author traveling with her daughter and heartbreaking memories of losing her father too young really worked, but Coburn wrote both well. The trip portions were unnecessarily long sometimes, and not always interesting--the book probably would have benefitted from having about 70-100 pages cut. There was a lot of repetition.

The strangeness of the subject matter makes me wonder if
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Pradnya K.
It was wonderful. I got to know a lot about Europe. And the must-visit places. And artists. It shades light on the parents-child relationship and talks of family. Or lack of it. Wish to write a detailed review so that when I just want to remember it, I will have breadcrumbs to the experiences of my reading. I would definitely read it in parts in near future.
Kathy
Jun 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Nothing monumental here, but an enjoyable quick read. A fun and easy way to take a summer trip with out leaving town.
Regina
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really did enjoy this one and the timing was perfect since we were on an international family vacation.
Lisa
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
I liked this book and enjoyed reliving my own mother/daughter trip in Europe. I thought she did a good job weaving her own past in to relative parts of her travel experience.
Robin Malone
Apr 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I was given a copy of this book from the Author, Jennifer Coburn, in exchange for an honest review.

The Review

First off, I have to say, this isn’t my normal read. It is a memoir of the Author and her daughter Katie’s trips to various places and also about Jennifer’s journey to find herself. When it was first brought to my attention, my first response was “I’m sorry this isn’t my typical read, but thank you for asking!”. Then Jennifer mentioned what it was about and it hit pretty close to home, so
...more
Sandra Heinzman
Feb 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Let me just say that I love this book. I am currently an “armchair traveler” (although upon retirement I plan to become a “real” traveler, ha ha) and travel adventure books are among my favorite genre of books, as are memoirs. I love books about bicycle travel, sailing travel, walking travel, group travel – all of it! I even like travel shows on television.
I loved how the author decided to “go for it” and make these trips happen, even though her family had other financial necessities in their li
...more
Katherine P
Dec 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was just fun. I was a little worried going in that the book would focus on Coburn's fear of dying young but it really didn't. It gets mentioned of course but she's so matter of fact about the whole thing that it doesn't feel like a huge part of the book. Travel memoirs can sometimes drift towards either pretentious or "look how wacky I am" but this didn't. Throughout the book Coburn came off as authentic. There were several times I found myself nodding with her because I just knew that woul ...more
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Jennifer Coburn is an award-winning writer of the travel memoir, WE’LL ALWAYS HAVE PARIS, a mother-daughter adventure through Europe. She is the author of six contemporary novels and contributor to four
literary anthologies. Jennifer has written for U-T San Diego, Washington Post, Miami Herald, Mothering magazine, The Huffington Post, Salon.com, and numerous other newspapers and magazines. She live
...more

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28 likes · 2 comments
“A trip to Paris had sounded so adventurous when I was first talking about it a year earlier. People spoke about the city with dreamy longing, as though Paris possessed a magic that could not be found elsewhere. I'd never heard anyone talk about Paris without sighing. The city was a Promised Land that held appeal for most everyone: artists, lovers, even people who just liked cheese.” 6 likes
“To know Paris, Bruno began, pulling on his cigarette, you need to relax, have a glass of wine, and enjoy life.” 5 likes
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