Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Comeback: A Mother and Daughter's Journey Through Hell and Back

Rate this book

How does an honor student at one of Los Angeles's finest prep schools--a nice girl from a happy, loving home--trade school uniforms and afternoons at the mall for speedballs in the back of a truck in rural Indiana? How does her devoted mother emerge from the shock of finding that her daughter has not only disappeared but had been living a secret life for more than a year?

Mother and daughter tell their parallel stories in mesmerizing first–person accounts. Claire Fontaine's story is a parent's worst nightmare, a cautionary tale chronicling her daughter Mia's drug–fueled manipulation of everyone around her as she sought refuge in the seedy underworld of felons and heroin addicts, the painful childhood secrets that led up to it, and the healing that followed. Her search for Mia was brutal for both mother and daughter, a dizzying series of dead ends, incredible coincidences and, at times, miracles. Ultimately, Mia was forced into harsh but loving boot-camp schools on two continents while Claire entered a painful but life–changing program of her own. Mia's story includes the jarring culture shock of the extreme and controversial behavior modification school she was in for nearly two years, which helped her overcome depression and self–hatred to emerge a powerful young woman with self–esteem and courage.

Come Back is an unforgettable story of love and transformation that will resonate with mothers and daughters everywhere.

311 pages, Paperback

First published April 1, 2006

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Claire Fontaine

30 books21 followers
Librarian Note: There is more than one author by this name in the Goodreads data base.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
3,517 (33%)
4 stars
3,858 (36%)
3 stars
2,344 (22%)
2 stars
647 (6%)
1 star
218 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 948 reviews
Profile Image for E.
125 reviews1 follower
March 27, 2009
Why do I keep reading memoirs?

Because I keep hoping that people write them because they feel their life has something in common with the rest of us.

Not to find out that a book is written by a spoiled "poor little rich mom" who becomes an armchair psychologist and can't stop spending thousands of dollars on boutique self-help programs.

Now let's step back. You can read the description yourself and infer that this is a story about a teen runaway who enters an extremist reform school and ultimately becomes best friends with her mom. That is certainly part of the book, and in fact the best part of the book. Mia (the daughter) writes part of the story and her perspective is fascinating and personable--I think it really captures the mind of a troubled teen and its maturation into adult sensibility.

Claire (the mom), on the other hand, is a small child in an adult's body whose "maturation" is long overdue and again, costs likely tens of thousands of dollars. She tells of an abusive husband who is to blame for the major psychological problems of both her and her daughter. Oh, and Claire's mom was cold to her as a child, so that's also why she is so messed up. Really? Really? I thought this fatalistic, Freudian view was archaic enough that we weren't still talking about it as the sole sculptor of adult mental illness. Claire insists that Mia's "stuff" has everything to do with being sexually abused as a child and very little to do with being raised by an incredibly neurotic mother. While Claire finally gets it (somewhat) at the end, the preceding narrative completely discredits all of the therapists, counselors, and friends who have been telling her so all along. Claire ultimately can't admit that she is supposed to be the adult here.

In addition, the New Age-y "Discovery" and "Focus" programs in which Claire and Mia participate couldn't possibly work for the rest of us. I have no beef with self-confrontation workshops and their capacity for mental discipline, but let's be real here. The average tuition in 2005 for a school like those described in this book--ironically, schools affiliated with the organization abbreviated WWASP--was $50,000. Tell me about the families who really need their delinquent children in therapy who can afford that.

It was just so frustrating to read this book when Claire was talking. Mia I have no problem with--she's both a victim of her upbringing and a normal teen, and the reason this book gets 3 stars. But the issue is that the book is dominated by Claire's self-important wallowing. The New York Times Book Review called this "a testament to the power of the love between a mother and a daughter." To me it felt like a testament to the power of money and manipulative seminars to place a Band-Aid on the repression, boredom, and waste of the upper class.
Profile Image for Courtney.
21 reviews3 followers
March 24, 2012
This book left me not only disturbed, but also angry. I felt the mother, Claire, made some stunningly bad judgment calls - namely staying with a man she suspected might one day sexually abuse their daughter, Mia, which he did. Claire's reasoning was that he surely wouldn't abuse Mia as a preschooler, when she still had her "piglet" body, though she acknowledged he might in the future. This makes my head spin. I cannot comprehend a situation where I would allow my daughters to be around a man potentially prone to incest, abuse and pedophelia. All I could think while reading of Mia's eventual unraveling was that it should have been prevented. Her mother should never have allowed her to be in an environment where such pain could be inflicted upon her.

It was a heartbreaking story, and I was always rooting for Mia to pull through. I applaud her for telling her story and facing her demons. She is obviously a strong young woman and it takes incredible strength of character to overcome something so insidious.

I was impressed with Claire for working so fervently to help her child when things really turned dark. As a mother of two daughters, I can't comprehend what it would feel like to see my girls go down that path. However, I had little interest in Claire's personal story, as I just couldn't shake being mad at her. I really only cared what happened to Mia. This book stirred strong emotion in me, but I can't say I liked it.
Profile Image for Blythe.
Author 1 book7 followers
June 27, 2008
I enjoyed this book and read it really quickly, though it wasn't quite what I expected. It quickly devolves into a soft sell of self-help group (read, Landmark Education) "technology," which I am highly suspicious of. Also suspicious of the daughter's diary entries, which read a bit too close to the mother's voice and subject matter to be a coincidence.

Both of these complaints aside, this is a great examination of the bond between a mother and child, the pain felt at the breaking of that bond, and the journey to recovery. With motherhood impending for me, I was very touched by reading Claire's enjoyment of and struggles with being a mother.

Highly recommended if you have a rocky relationship with your parent. I do find myself examining my attitude and immediate responses to my friends and family members after reading it, with the hope that I can be more open and less self-centered in my relationships.
913 reviews389 followers
June 18, 2008
Whoa -- this book was intense. I knew that going in, and wouldn't normally have chosen it (I stayed away from "Hannah's Gift" despite numerous recommendations from friends, because I can't handle reading about topics like the death of a child), contrary to the ribbing of my friends and family who always insist that I like the most depressing books. One of the mixed blessings of being in a book club is being forced to read books you wouldn't normally pick up, I guess.

Reading this book required a strong stomach, on two levels. First, reading about the horrific sexual abuse Mia suffered from her father as a toddler was hard to take. Working in a field where I hear stories like this hasn't immunized me, which is probably a good thing; and while I work to maintain some professional distance in the office, I tend to forget those skills when I'm reading a book.

Second, I'm embarrassed to admit this because it sounds crassly irreverent and even heretical from someone in my field, but all the pop psychology got on my nerves. I had to keep reminding myself that these people had lived through terrible experiences and needed to learn relationship skills that may not apply to those of us with more mundane lives; however, repeatedly reading dialogue like "I want to give you some feedback -- I experience you as using humor and sarcasm to distance others," or "...as playing up your experiences so you can act as the drama queen or victim," etc. made me want to cringe. I find these kind of statements canned, not to mention intrusive, and would probably go nuts if a friend or family member of mine started talking this way on a regular basis.

Having said that, this book was gripping and I literally couldn't put it down. The writing was great, and the story was highly affecting. I was inspired by Claire and Mia's strength and courage in living these experiences and then in writing so honestly about them.

Or did they? Because, in the aftermath of "A Million Little Pieces," I suspect I'm not alone in reading dramatic memoirs with a bit of a cynical eye, especially since I wonder whether it's possible to actually remember all those details and not to be filling in any from one's imagination. James Frey stole my innocence, I guess.

Overall, though, I think the book is worth reading if you can handle this type of material. I need a serious break, though -- bring on the chick lit, man!
Profile Image for Jody .
224 reviews57 followers
September 18, 2012
I read this book in big gulps and didn't want to set it down. So why the poor rating? I mean,this was the kind of page turner that I read while eating meals and forfeiting many hours of sleep.It's a frenzied tale written by both the terrified mom, Claire Fontaine- who goes to any lengths to save her addicted,sexually abused daughter- and by Mia herself; who's hell bent on running away from her trauma and joining the other desperate teens who attempt to survive on dangerous streets in a drugged stupor.
My moral quandary is that Claire turns to the 'World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools' (WWASPS) and their 'escorts' to basically kidnap Mia and fly her to the Czech Republic to one of their 'treatment centers' called Monrava Academy. (Interestingly, Mitt Romney's Bain Capital owns these medieval WWASPS). Without giving away any spoilers, suffice it to say that these are those 'tough love' centers that are usually closed down sooner or later due to child abuse.
So, here's the rub. Mia defends these organizations with the zeal of one who is brainwashed as does her mother. And it did help Mia, apparently, but what about all the 'survivors' or those that weren't so lucky? Imho, the Fontaines remind me of those afflicted with Stockholm Syndrome.
I support Mia in breaking free from her bondage but not the means. She's one of the fortunate ones who had a positive experience. I'm still thinking of this little shack called 'The Hobbit House' where rebellious unfortunates are locked up just like a prisoner in 'the hole'. I don't regret reading this because I became much more informed on the evils being done in the name of 'helping troubled youth'. As for the book, you won't find anything other than positive reports. I googled the rest. I gave it a one star rating because I don't want to support any book that espouses this sort of inhumane treatment and can be used as propaganda even though Mia escaped intact and thankful.
If you want to read an excellent first hand account of addiction that doesn't involve WWASPS, I highly recommend Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction.
Profile Image for Wendi.
116 reviews
March 15, 2011
I am surprised to say I actually kind of loved this book. "A mother and daughter's journey through hell and back" doesn't really sound like the kind of book I would normally read or enjoy. But when I slapped the cover closed after reading the last page, I took a deep sigh, counted my blessings, and vowed to be a better mom to these little kiddos of mine that I love so dang much.

I think sometimes I am overly hard on my oldest daughter, trying to teach her to behave and calm down. This book made me love and celebrate the light and joy that constantly radiates from her. Yes she's super hyper a lot, but she's so HAPPY! And I'm so glad. I'm a lucky mom.

My heart breaks for mothers everywhere that face the challenges of addiction and abuse addressed in this book.
2 reviews1 follower
July 23, 2007
I am currently reading this book as well as A Thousand Splendid Suns. I really like Come Back. It is the true story of and honor student, Mia, who becomes a drug addict. She and her mom, Claire, who is a screenwriter. They have a very close mother/daughter bond, but something goes terribly wrong. The book is written in the first person by both of them and so far, I am loving it.
Profile Image for Elyssa.
797 reviews
January 9, 2008
I read this book because it was assigned to the graduate students I supervise as part of their internship experience. Co-written by mother and daughter Claire and Mia Fontaine, it's the story of their simultaneous recovery.

It begins with Mia as an adolescent, starting to act out (drug abuse, promiscuity, cutting, eating disorder, etc) and inexplicably running away. After deeper examination, it appears that Mia is acting out unresolved trauma from being sexually abused by her biological father. After tracking her down, Claire and Mia's stepfather Paul send her to a special school/treatment facility. As part of Mia's treatment, Claire and Paul are also required to engage in group counseling and special workshops as parents of troubled teens.

I liked that the story was told by both Mia and Claire and that their words were interspersed in each chapter. The reader is able to hear about the same time period and events from two different perspectives and see a parallel process of exploration and recovery.

I am also happy that the treatment approach included Claire and Paul and that she was forthcoming with the details. It was interesting to read about Claire's process of becoming aware of her own dysfunction. The book is an effective illustration of family systems therapy in action.

Overall, this was an interesting book and I am glad that the graduate students are reading it and I look forward to discussing it with them.

Profile Image for JoAnn/QuAppelle.
383 reviews20 followers
August 15, 2009
Claire and Mia Fontaine have done a masterful job of showing what happens inside a reprogramming center for out-of-control teens....mostly teens on drugs who have been "committed" to these facilities by their parents, who have reached the end of their rope, so to speak.

Since this is a "memoir", I was somewhat skeptical of some of it.

I think the book could have used some editing for length and I also found the plethora of details about the seminars attended by the parents and the sessions the daughter attended for two years to be just too many words. I got real tired of all the jargon and lingo, to be honest. It began to sound cultish. I also think that there was a lot of unneeded trivia in this book.

One thing that I found to be unbelievable was that Claire "forgets" that a therapist told her that when Mia became a teenager, the memories and emotions of her abuse as a young child will begin to have an effect her. How could she possibly have forgotten such a warning?!?!?!

But it was a compelling, horrifying inside look at what a family goes through when one of its members is a drug addict. Their desperation led them to do what they did, and I cannot judge them for that as many other reviewers have done.
Profile Image for Amy Plum.
Author 20 books4,866 followers
June 22, 2010
I read this book after chatting with the author (Claire) by email. It was a gut-wrenching story for a mother to read. I can't imagine going through what she and her daughter experienced. Though it's non-fiction, it's definitely a page turner, with the reader crossing fingers, toes, and anything else crossable - praying that the story will not end in disaster.
Profile Image for Alex Black.
623 reviews46 followers
March 22, 2022
So let's talk about expectations versus reality a little bit. I expected this book to be a dual account by a mother and daughter about their relationship and the daughter's drug addiction/rehabilitation. It was not so much that. The drug addition aspect was a poor assumption on my fault because the synopsis mentions drugs and bootcamp schools. It's not very much about drugs. Mia used them, but it doesn't talk very much about addiction so I don't know if she even was an addict or just a casual user. It's honestly not even much of a dual account. This book is clearly written by the mother. Mia has sections, but for the most part those sections are pretty short and stream of conscious. They seemed like they only existed out of necessity because this book couldn't really exist without them. The mother's perspective was the main focus of the story and the driving force, and a big disappointment to me because I was much more interested in the daughter's experience.

Now getting into the actual book itself, the way it started and the way the synopsis was described immediately made me feel lied to. Mia is described as happy and well adjusted and normal, nothing wrong in her life. When she runs away the first time, the mother expresses shock and says she could never have seen it coming. It was so unlike her daughter. And then we cut back a little in time and find out Mia had started cutting months before, become withdrawn, started acting different and her mother put her in therapy because of it. And as a child, she'd been sexually abused by her biological father. The mother says a few pages in that nothing even hinted that she would run away and she was happy. Even assuming Mia kept other secrets, that list is just the stuff her mother knew about. And you had no idea something was wrong? Even though she was self harming and withdrawn and you were concerned enough to force her into therapy? It felt like an utter betrayal of trust as a reader because it was so blatantly not true.

I really hated the mother. The book seemed constantly full of her intentionally doing and saying awful things to and about her daughter. She suspected her husband was going to sexually abuse her daughter at some point, but never even tried to get her daughter away from him until after the abuse had happened. She didn't keep her daughter in therapy regularly through childhood despite being warned by therapists that Mia would need it. She called Mia's clothes disgusting and for druggies. Said public schools were for gangbangers and slutty girls (referring to children???). She, at different points, referred to her fifteen year old daughter as a bitch and a whore. I felt disgusted reading the way she described her own child, and I can't imagine her daughter reading this.

The behavioral modification "school" Mia was sent to was shut down for child abuse while she was there. It was the second time the owners had one of their facilities shut down for child abuse (in two different countries). It seems questionable at best to send your vulnerable kid to a reform school when the owners have already been shut down for child abuse once. Mia and her mother swear up and down it was a great experience, but the way they describe it, it sounds abusive. At one point while driving away, Mia comments that she hadn't seen the moon in six months. When a driver taking them to a different school says she can't sleep in the van, she stays awake for hours in the middle of the night despite being jetlagged and traveling for days and being desperately tired. Because she's used to obeying orders like that.

If it helped her, if she's happier now, I'm glad. But if you look up some of the "schools" she attended, there are tons of testimonials of abuse. It's hard to take much seriously in this book when they completely disregarded all of that as lies. I hope Mia is doing a lot better now, but I thought this book was awful. I thought her mother was awful. I couldn't ever recommend this.
235 reviews1 follower
September 28, 2010
I wasn't expecting to like this book as much as I did, but I found the psychology of abuse and drug addiction and the dynamic between a single mother and her daughter fascinating. The story jumps back and forth between the mother's story and then the daughter will jump in with her perspective, so the book flips back and forth between them, which I thought would be gimmicky but actually works. So you get both sides of the story as Mia runs aways, they track her down, send her to a rehab/strict boarding school for addicts in Eastern Europe, then Utah and go through therapy and group therapy. By the end, I really found this book quite moving and hopeful- I can't actually think of an example I've seen in my own life of two people taking a hard look at themselves and deciding to change and spending years and years trying to do so. I also thought it was amazing the mother actually looked at her own behaviour and how that contributed to her daughter's drug addiction and set about changing her actions and approach to life -again, I've never seen a parent in a dysfunctional family scenario take responsibility and make a serious change. Anyways, for me, that made this story really amazing, and thought it really gave you a look into child abuse, drug addiction and where that can lead and how to get back from it.
Profile Image for Suzanne.
118 reviews5 followers
June 25, 2012
I appreciate all that Claire and Mia Fontaine went through, and I almost hate to not write a good review of this book, but I am reviewing the book, not the people. I found the book to be basically what felt like an ad for a recovery program for teens (and parallel programs for the parents) that sounded very cult-like to me. It worked for Mia, who sounded seriously drug-addicted before entering the program (and I have to believe the mother knew nothing of this until she ran away, even though she was only 14-15), but after a while, reading the special language and way of thinking of the program gets very tiring. It also was hard for me to believe that Claire, the mother, stayed with her first husband as long as he did. He sounds like a monster. When someone comes across as that evil in a memoir, I always start to wonder if I am not seeing both sides of the story, although in this case, even a tenth of the bad things he did would be pretty bad. Overall, not a book that really engaged me or added much to my knowledge of the world portrayed here.
Profile Image for Nina.
4 reviews
August 30, 2007
this is a memior of sorts. a mother daughter journey and all the things a mother will do to save her child. mia was sexually abused, turns to drugs as a teenager, and runs away. the story is told from both points of view, which makes it interesting and can appeal to both demographics. it was beautifully written, and a heartfelt story.
Profile Image for Lynn.
2 reviews
August 2, 2007
It was a really good story, but sometimes hard to follow... the author runs 2 side by side stories... and sometimes one was so long that I would forget what was happening with the other. I didn't really like the ending.
Profile Image for Leslie.
1 review3 followers
August 30, 2007
It is a great story, especially sense its true. Although at times it is hard to follow... kind of wordy when the mother talks. Otherwise I loved it. Just found myself wanting to read the parts the daughter wrote more.
Profile Image for DelGal.
369 reviews2 followers
August 13, 2008
Very well written memoir from the mother of a daughter who was an addict. There was a touching bond between daughter and mother that really made this book flow and kept me interested and wanting more, 'til the very end.
35 reviews1 follower
April 9, 2008
a VERY powerful story of a daughter's battle through addiction and her mother's struggle to keep her safe and get her into an effective treatment program.
15 reviews
December 30, 2008
I am not one usually to read non-fiction, but this mother-daughter story "through hell and back" was a fantastic read.
Profile Image for Rhonda.
709 reviews
August 10, 2009
Mia is sexually abused at a very early age by her father, and this story is her struggle to deal with the emotional damage she suffers in her teenage years as a result of this terrible trauma. Mia goes from a very good student to a runaway druggie...in reality she had been using drugs for at least a year before running away. This is written by both Mia and her mother, Claire, offering parallel points of view throughout the book.

This book was enlightening in that it was not just tough love that brought Mia back, it took drastic measures by the parents, too. Mia spent about two years in a behavior modification school, and her parents had to take training, also.
This book is not just about the changes the daughter had to make, but her parents (mother and step=father) as well. It reinforces how we are all responsible for our actions and choices we make, even though sometimes we can't control what happens to us, we can control our reactions. The child as well as the parent. A very gripping story. I really liked it. It was NOT a religious book, but a few of my quotes are religious, just because the mother questioned God for what happened, and there are a few quotes when she works through the answers. I highly recommend this book, not only for the insight into child sexual abuse, drug use, street life, but also for taking responsiblity for your choices and actions in life.


"She lists her family's Ten C's for a loving, joyful, supportive family---the kind we don't have. Clarity, cooperation, choice, caring, change, ceremony, comedy, communication, commitment, conflict resolution. I glance at Paul and wonder if his list starts with chaos, catastrophe, or crisis.
She makes two big circles on the other easel, labels one BELIEFS, then asks "What are your beliefs about what makes a good parent?" She goes to the other circle, writes "REALITY", faces us, and says "The reality is that you've got a kid on the program. And here's what bridges the gap between the two." She makes a little bridge between them, labeling it G-U-I-L-T. Now, she's talking... Guilt we get."

"I remember something I read in Samantha Dunn's moving memoir of her spiritual awakening afater her horse nearly severed her leg. She wrote that when God wants your attention, first He throws feathers. After that, He starts throwing bricks."

"I walk until I find the place I slept with Mia on a hot day under an umbrella. With her tied to my waist so she couldn't run away while I slept. In the end, she did run away, when I was asleep in my own life, when I wasn't looking because I didn't want to see. She untied the knot between us and ran as far and fast as she could. Because, I now believe, she knew, she always knew in her heart, that her mudder would catch her, still."

"My relationship with God has evolved as well. I no longer rail or beg or sass back. I was standing on a bluff over the ocean the other day and suddenly laughed out loud as I realized what an illusion that was, what an impossibility. That would assume a relationship between a "me" and an "Other", a separation. There is no otherness; to be separate from God is to be separate from myself, from life itself. What I've been looking for , I'm looking with. "

"But in trying to better understand my mom and build a relationship, I"m beginning to understand the ability of love to both create and destroy. I'd never been in love, never had a child, I'd never loved unselfishly. So I couldn't fathom how someone's live for me could also be their undoing, make life unbearable. I wasn't capable then of understanding the pain I caused, just as Sonia isn't now."

"Through everything, I was still her little monkey, her little girl. I have always thought of my mother as my hero, and here she is making me feel like one!
The process makes complete sense now, and it's so powerful in its simple metaphor. We blundered our way through the darkness to rediscover what was always within us. I think of my brave little self running into the dark to save my mom, much like she ventured into the darkness to save me, and feel happier than I think I ever have."

"You graduate from here feeling ready to conquer the world. And you are. But there'll come that inevitable moment where the world conquers you, and it's then that you'll choose. We live by two things---love and fear. Every choice, every thought, every action, stems from one of these, and when you time comes, when you reach out---if you reach out---it's love that will save you. Love will get you through everything."

"Mia plunged us into a darkenss that felt at times as if it would consume us both. But there is darkness in the womb as well; inside a cocoon only blackness is visible. Yet, the creature inside is exactly where it needs to be in order to transform itself. And there's only room for one. I could put Mia into a cocoon called Morava or Spring Creek, but only she could put her broken pieces back together and emerge the winged girl she is. Mia was never really mine all mine, as I had once thought. Mia only ever belonged to herself."

"We normally spend years accumulating experiences before we gain wisdom. Mia' done it in reverse, gaining wisdom before accumulating most of her experiences. She watches Dr. Phil and shakes her head. "He's letting them off way too easy."

"There is a vulnerability and honesty between Mia and I now that has transformed our relationship. People often marvel at how open we both are to giving and receiving the kind of feedback and coaching most people pay a professional a lot of money for. Still, the relationship between any mother and daughter is both primal and complex. The same intimacy and intensity that brings such joy to our relationship will also bring the inevitable storms; what we've learned is how to stay connected and communication through them."

"It's funny how things come full circle. Morava and Spring Creek's philosophy is based primarily on accountability, of being aware fo your choices so you don't wake up one morning miserable and wonder how you got there. But, it's ironic that the most powerful lesson I learned, the awareness that you alone create your reality, is one that children instinctively know. It never occurs to them that there's anything they can't do or be. And it shouldn't occur to adults either; we've just grown accustomed to living with limitation."

Profile Image for Sherry Sharpnack.
809 reviews20 followers
August 6, 2020
This is a relatively intense memoir of a drug-addicted daughter and the lengths to which her loving, but controlling, mother went to save her. It was co-written by the mother and daughter.

The daughter, Mia, was raped by her father as a small child. She didn’t really remember details as a teen-after but the long-buried pain caused her to act out and run away as a teenager. She lived in the streets, mostly in Indiana, and was raped again while passed out on drugs. Mia’s mother, Claire, and stepfather, Paul, were frantic w/ worry and moved heaven and earth to find her. Claire’s brother accidentally found Mia in Utah. Claire showed some real balls and sent Mia to a treatment program in the Czech Republic, of all places! Mia makes it sound as terrible as a Russian gulag.

Then the story gets a little bit sappy for me: Mia and Claire both start working the therapy programs, w/ Claire figuring out that she was very cold and controlling and lived in her head too much (she was a screenwriter). Mia would put in some work but then break a rule and end up at Square 1 again; she didn’t want to succeed, out of fear.

But all ends well, which feels too “and they lived happily ever after” to be real life. I didn’t really like Mia or Claire: they were very much alike in letting their fears keep them from their best lives.

The story is gripping and told well, w/ the same story told in both Claire’s and Mia’s voices. I just thought it felt a little too scripted so give it 4 stars.
3 reviews
November 6, 2017
The book "Comeback", by Claire and Mia Fontaine was a very special and eye-opening book. This book was a story written by a mother and daughter, talking about how they each felt while going through a very difficult time. The daughter Mia, a smart, and beautiful girl goes from having good grades and hanging out with friends, to smoking drugs and roaming around Indiana. From Mia's point of view, it talks about how she needed to get away from her "seemingly perfect" life. Claire, Mia's mothers point of view was totally different. She was wondering how her daughter went from all A's, to running away. Throughout the book, you could vividly see how distraught Claire was, like any mother would be in this situation. It being a true story helped me see how even though such a tough time, they ended up closer than ever. Throughout the experience, you can see how both mother and daughter understand more about themselves and each other than ever. I found this book, looking through my high school English teachers bookshelf, and know that it can be found at most libraries around Los Angeles. In conclusion, this book was very enjoyable and entertaining.
Profile Image for Sera.
1,153 reviews93 followers
September 27, 2008
For my GR friends who know me, you know how much that I enjoy reading bios/memoirs. I love human triumph in the face of adversity, and like history, I find many insights that I can apply to my own life from the reflection of others' experiences. This book has plenty of both of these things.

This book is written by a mother and daughter, Claire and Mia respectively, who survived the sexual abuse that the father imposed on his daughter and that began when she was only three years old. The book depicts how this conduct almost leads Mia to destroy herself and how she finds a way to save herself from this self-destruction. Yet the book is so much more than this theme implies. It delves into how parents who bring their own baggage to the parent-child relationship impacts the psyche and the behavior of the child.

Please note that there are no graphic depictions of the sexual abuse for those of you, who like me, have difficulty with reading such subject matter. Claire provides enough information to convey the horror, but she does it in such a smart way, because she focuses on the view toward incest of her former husband and his family. This alone will make you sick but more importantly, make you become aware of how this repetitive egregious conduct cycles into a familial belief of the normalcy of the abhorrent behavior.

This book then ventures into the therapeutic process of how the mother and daughter find their way to well-being. Recovery of Mia's drug abuse is what leads them there, but its the examination of the underlying causes of that behavior and how she manages to overcome it that is a real eye-opener into the redemptive nature of human beings.

As a woman pregnant with her first child, a girl, I gained much from reading this book. I could go on and on about that, but please pick it up and see if you can find something useful for yourself. You just mind find it to be helpful.
Profile Image for Marie desJardins.
319 reviews
October 3, 2010
At first I found myself liking this book less and less -- it starts off with a story we've heard before -- "my perfect daughter one day up and ran away from home." But it quickly becomes obvious that the utter shock that the mother (Claire Fontaine) feels when she finds her daughter (co-author Mia Fontaine) has run away is entirely self-deception. When the story really becomes interesting is when Mia starts to tell her own story -- and you realize that the book is really written from the perspective of the mother and daughter *at the time* that the events were happening. Yes, the mother really was in denial -- and the reasons why she was in denial are psychologically really interesting. Yes, the daughter was really trying to fool everyone into thinking she was just fine -- and the reasons why she was doing that are explored in great depth throughout the course of the book.

The description of how her mother tracks Mia down, the "program" that she eventually enters, and the journey of self-discovery that both Mia and Claire goes through is completely engrossing. Once I got past my initial response of, "Oh, come on, how could you not have known?" I couldn't put the book down. I'll definitely be recommending this one for my book clubs.
Profile Image for Sarah.
248 reviews5 followers
June 24, 2011
Powerful memoir of a mother and daughter who struggle to fix their lives and their relationship. Mother and daughter co-author the book. Daughter's part is in italics and mother's part is regular print, so it's easy to follow.

After running away from home multiple times, the daughter is sent to a boot-camp recovery program in Europe. She suffers from several issues, the biggest of all is the abuse she received from her biological father when she was young. With that baggage, she started doing drugs, cutting herself, and running away. While her language is a lot more colorful than I prefer (f-bombs on every page she narrates), I felt like I was in her mind and understood her. At the end, I feel her triumph.

I also loved seeing the mother's side of the story and how she changed to make life better for her family. She didn't send her daughter off to another continent because she didn't want to deal with her, but because she didn't know how to. Part of the program she put her daughter into had its own program for the parents, which the mother went through successfully.

The writing is beautiful, and although the journey was painful for them, I'm glad to have read it and learned more about how to have a successful relationship with my daughters.
Profile Image for Ellyn.
297 reviews
November 18, 2009
This memoir, co-written by a mother (Claire) and her daughter (Mia), tells the story of Mia's fall into drugs and street life as a teen, precipitated by the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her father as a young child. The majority of the book is about Mia's slow and difficult recovery after Claire forces her into a strict behavior modification school in the Czech Republic. Claire's healing from her own past traumas occurs simultaneously as she goes through the "program" with her daughter. I liked Mia's writings far more than Claire's and found Mia's journey towards healing and self-understanding to be much more interesting. I was a little suspect of the school and its methods, although the book spoke quite highly of the school, but I know that it is part of a network that is quite controversial. I'm just not sure that I'm comfortable with something so extreme and confrontational and removed from everyday life, but it apparently worked wonders for Mia. Regardless, it was an interesting book, and it kept me reading. It really powerfully demonstrates the deep and far reaching wounds caused by childhood sexual abuse, and for that alone, it is a valuable book.
Profile Image for Grace.
446 reviews
May 27, 2010
Mother and daughter tell their parallel stories in mesmerizing first–person accounts. Claire Fontaine's story is a parent's worst nightmare, a cautionary tale chronicling her daughter Mia's drug-fueled manipulation of everyone around her as she sought refuge in the seedy underworld of felons and heroin addicts, the painful childhood secrets that led up to it, and the healing that followed. Her search for Mia was brutal for both mother and daughter, a dizzying series of dead ends, incredible coincidences and, at times, miracles. Ultimately, Mia was forced into harsh-but-loving boot camp schools on two continents while Claire entered a painful but life changing program of her own. Mia's story includes the jarring culture shock of the extreme and controversial behavior modification school she was in for nearly two years, which helped her overcome depression and self-hatred to emerge a powerful young woman with self-esteem and courage.
Come Back is an unforgettable story of love and transformation that will resonate with mothers and daughters everywhere.
Profile Image for Rhonda Rae Baker.
396 reviews
March 10, 2009
This is an awesome story about unconditional love between a mother and her child. It applies to mothers and fathers as well as daughters and sons.

The story tells not only what happened to them but how they got there and what they did to climb out of the pit of hell. I learned many things about my children as well as myself. The description of programs and what each member of the family did to address personal issues is a huge benefit to anyone open to reading this. Even if you don't have children that went through this there is insight as to things you can do to help yourself relate to them as well as them relate to you.

Life is all about believing in yourself, only then can you believe in others just as a person must love and respect themselves in order to love and respect others.

Everyone that reads this memoir will learn something...don't miss this one...(-:
Profile Image for Beth.
30 reviews
November 14, 2009
This book, in a brutally and honest way, tells the story of how a severed relationship between mother and daughter can be mended. As a teenager Mia turns to drugs and eventually runs away. We learn the reason for her addiction and incomprehensible behavior is due to the sexual abuse she suffered as a young child. Mia and Claire embark on a powerful journey to treat Mia’s addiction and through this journey they discover truths about themselves; through communication, choices and behavior their relationship can be re-established.
This book is written from both the mother and daughters point of view and at times I found it hard to follow when Claire spoke because she seemed to go on and on.
This book reinforced how important communication is in any relationship. Through forgiveness, communication and love we learn that relationships can be re-established and strengthened.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 948 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.