Published by Sourcebooks on April 8, 2014
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
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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, and even though she's perfectly healthy, she spends three to four weeks per trip jamming Katie's mental photo album with memories. In this heartwarming generational love story, Jennifer reveals how their adventures helped relinquish her fear of dying...for the sake of living.
If you’re like me, a Summer Vacation, or any kind of real vacation, is out of reach on a seasonal basis. Between paying for school, paying the bills, paying for my zoo, and just plain paying to live (the daily grind kind), I’m lucky if I have enough cash to go on a road trip from Houston to Austin. So, naturally, I spend all of the disposable income I just denied having on books that take me to new places. (HA!)
When I picked up We’ll Always Have Paris at my local B&N, my first thought was that it was going to be a knock-off or play on Casablanca. Turns out it had nothing to do with Casablanca, and as soon as I read that the narrator would be taking me to Paris, Rome AND Spain, I knew I had to read the book to satisfy my Summer wanderlust.
If you like the kind of sentimental journey a memoir can take you on, then you will love this book. Jennifer Coburn balances heavy doses of sentimentality with a certain Charles Bukowski edge, alternating between poignant moments of reflection and frank moments of confession. Humorous and heartbreaking at once, We’ll Always Have Paris explores, analyzes, and evaluates the relationship the narrator had with her parents in comparison with the relationship she is having with her very own daughter thirty-some odd years later.
Coburn’s style and story kept me mentally and emotionally engaged, giving me as many ”AHA” moments as she experiences in her memoir. I cannot recall ever enjoying a travel memoir as much as I have this one. The pacing was comfortable and I enjoyed the back-and-forth between her childhood flashbacks and present day moments with her daughter.
Depending on perspective, I think everyone who reads We’ll Always Have Paris will take away something meaningful as well as discover a little something about themselves in the process of reading it. I’ll just come out and admit it: I’m really jealz of J. Coburn’s writing style, and I wish I had written this book myself. There.
Aaaand JUST FOR FUN:
I have yet to realize my adult-hood dreams of visiting Paris, Rome or Spain outside of a book, but this is how I aspire to be/look when I DO visit Paris (minus the neurotic train-wreck part):