I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
We'll Always Have Paris by Jennifer Coburn
Synopsis: How her daughter and her passport taught Jennifer to live like there’s no tomorrow.
Jennifer Coburn has always been terrified of dying young. So she decides to save up and drop everything to travel with her daughter, Katie, on a whirlwind European adventure before it’s too late. Even though her husband can’t join them, even though she’s nervous about the journey, and even though she’s perfectly healthy, Jennifer is determined to jam her daughter’s mental photo album with memories—just in case.
From the cafés of Paris to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Jennifer and Katie take on Europe one city at a time, united by their desire to see the world and spend precious time together. In this heartwarming generational love story, Jennifer reveals how their adventures helped vanquish her fear of dying…for the sake of living. [provided by the author]
Review: I loved this book. My daughter has talked about wanting to go on a trip to Paris just her and I and now after reading this book it makes me want to go even more. The stories that Jennifer tells throughout this book make you laugh out loud and keep you turning the pages. There was also some very touching moments in the this memoir. I am glad that I picked this book up as it was very enjoyable. The perfect book to read on a snowy cold night.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jennifer Coburn is a USA Today best selling author of six novels
and contributor to four literary anthologies.
Over the past two decades,
Coburn has received numerous awards from the Press Club
and Society for Professional Journalists for articles that appeared in Mothering,
Big Apple Baby, The Miami Herald, The San Diego Union-Tribune
and dozens of national and regional publications.
She has also written for Salon.com, Creators News Syndicate and The Huffington Post.
Coburn lives in San Diego with her husband, William, and their daughter, Katie.
We’ll Always Have Paris is her first memoir.
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Guest Post: Travel: The Best Education … For Moms
I thought I would take my daughter Katie overseas and teach
her about the world. Instead, over the course of a decade, visiting 12 European
cities, she taught me about life.
On our second day in Paris, then-eight-year-old Katie and I
went to a café near the Eiffel Tower where babies were not welcome, but dogs
were fine. A waiter brought Katie a hamburger that was like nothing she’d ever
seen at In ‘N Out. On top of the meat patty was a sunny-side-up egg. I was a
bit nervous because absolutely everything she had experienced in the last two
days was different. Now, even the familiar hamburger was weird in France. But
Katie looked at the burger, shrugged and said “I guess you get breakfast with
your lunch in Paris.”
Later during that trip, Katie and I had the unique … um, opportunity to sleep at the Shakespeare
and Company bookstore on the Left Bank. The bookstore graciously opens its
doors to “Tumbleweeds,” broke young travelers, who can sleep on cots in the
store in exchange for a few hours of work during the day.
At Katie’s request (begging), the store let is sleep in its
Writer’s Studio, where it is said Henry James once stayed. When we saw the room, it was pretty clear
that the sheets hadn’t been changed since. We turned on the faucet, and out
flew a tornado of gnats. In the corner was a box of Ritz crackers with a
picture of a very young Andy Griffith. (Think Sheriff Andy Taylor of Mayberry.)
Katie’s makeshift bed was a door resting on two uneven file cabinets. Cushioning
the door was a yoga mat.
It was broiling hot so I opened the window as far as it
would go, four inches. Then Katie and I simultaneously shared our thoughts.
Hers: “Look at our view of Notre Dame!” Mine: “Yuck, I smell hot garbage from
the dumpster below.”
Lesson #1 – Hold your
nose and look for the beauty in the world.
Three years later, Katie was 11 years old and we were
traveling through Italy. As we were on our way to see Michelangelo’s David in
Florence, we heard magnificent music coming from a building. We walked over to
check it out and, just as we reached the entrance, an Italian man with black
curly hair and red pants opened the enormous carved wooden door.
I asked what loosely translated to “what is music” and he
explained that the building was a music school and the opera students were
taking their final exams. He asked, “You have a come to watch?”
While I was busy wringing my hands, worrying about whether
he meant did we want to watch, or
were we expected guests, Katie just chirped, “Si grazie” and walked through the
We spent the most wonderful, unscheduled two hours watching
twentysomethings in Motley Crue t-shirts and eyebrow piercings singing Puccini.
Lesson # 2 – When
life presents an opportunity, don’t over-think it; just walk thru the door.
On the same trip to Italy, Katie taught me what was possibly
the most important lesson of my life.
Katie had been looking forward to visiting the Ruins of
Pompeii for more than a year. In fact, it was what she had looked forward to most
in Italy. But our day in Pompeii did not go as planned. Our train broke down.
We had to roll our suitcases about a mile over cobblestone streets in hellish
heat. And we wound up giving our bags to gypsies instead of the government
approved luggage check.
Instead of spending the day in Pompeii, we took a 45-minute
jog through and saw very little. We had to rush to catch another train, which
was of course, an hour late. I felt awful that I’d disappointed Katie and got a
little weepy. She turned to me and said, “A trip doesn’t have to be perfect to
be wonderful.” And then for good measure she added, “People have had worse days
in Pompeii, y’know?”
Lesson #3 – Let go of
the quest for perfection and get a little perspective.
Our children teach us about life every day. It is often in
the most mundane situations that kids offer is beautiful insights, but travel
offers us a unique opportunity to see each other in a different way because we
face new challenges and situations. When Katie and I share that we have traveled
to 12 European cities together, people always turn to her and ask her if she
knows how lucky she is. She definitely understands that travel is a privilege
and she is grateful. But really, it’s me who has learned the most from these
Jennifer Coburn is the author of We’ll Always Have Paris: A Mother Daughter Memoir.
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