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

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  8,964 Ratings  ·  902 Reviews
The unflinching true account of a teenage girl's descent into society's underbelly -- and her mother's desperate and ultimately successful attempts to bring her back.

How does an honor student at one of Los Angeles's finest prep schools -- a bright, beautiful girl from a loving home -- trade school uniforms and afternoons at the beach for shooting up in the back of a van in
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published April 4th 2006 by Harper (first published April 1st 2006)
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Mar 24, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 24, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 pot ...more
Jun 27, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 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, a
Jun 16, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who can handle intense stories about survivors of abuse
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
Mar 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 m
Jody  Julian
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 ...more
Andrea kane
Jul 23, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lauren and Caitie
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.
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.
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 da
Sep 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 bo ...more
Jun 25, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
This was an extremely compelling story, the hurdles these women (the authors, a mother and daughter) battled and will continue to battle through the rest of their lives is more than the majority of the population can even comprehend.
Over all I really enjoyed this novel, the unique style of narration, switching from the mothers point of view to the daughters, telling both sides to the story. Also it was full of emotion and I could relate my teenage self to Mia and many of the kids throughout her
Amy Plum
Jun 22, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 30, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mothers & daughters
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.
Jul 12, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 27, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: have-read
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.
Aug 12, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: memoir readers, moms/daughters, those seeking recovery related books
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.
Apr 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: must-reads
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.
Dec 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am not one usually to read non-fiction, but this mother-daughter story "through hell and back" was a fantastic read.
Jul 25, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-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 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
Jana Singley
Nov 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 poin ...more
Sep 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sera by: BOMC
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 depi
Jun 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
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 dru
Marie desJardins
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 perspec ...more
Nov 12, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 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 daught ...more
May 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 coin ...more
Oct 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
An excellent, touching book on mother-daughter bond. I find myself wanting to read the parts the daughter wrote.In this book I've learned that you have to face your fears, face the reality even if it hurts so that you can accept the things that you can never change, so that you can forgive yourself and that person who have done wrong to you. Sometimes, we think that we want to go away to protect our love ones but in the end we are the ones hurting them by not telling what made us go away, what m ...more
Oct 08, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 re ...more
Kate Hansen
Excellent! Compelling, heartbreaking and amazing; I had such a hard time putting this book down but at the same time the level of emotion made it so hard to read! I read it with the heart of a mother... imagining how hard it would be to watch one of my kids suffer through the abuse and broken soul that Mia had to. I got through Part One and had to set it down for a few days; same with Part Two. After that, as Mia and Claire start to move toward healing and the emotion isn't as painful, I could r ...more
Feb 22, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why did I pick up this book? I seem to be drawn to books about mother/daughter relationships - good and bad. I'm thinking it has to do alot with losing Whitney. Sometimes I feel like was such a bad Mother and I go down that road of 'if I only did this'. A few lines that stuck to me: When Claire is sending Mia away she talks about how she "is siezed with panic and regret. She'll (Mia) will be so far from anyone who loves her . . .I want to go back, far back, I want to breathe her back into me, in ...more
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relationships/psychology 1 22 Aug 22, 2007 12:24PM  
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author by this name in the Goodreads data base.
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“Caretaking is never about the other person. It's about wanting to feel needed because you're afraid you're not wanted.” 11 likes
“It is its own religion, this love. Uncontainable, savage, and without end, it is what I feel for my child.” 5 likes
More quotes…