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Book Review: Traveling with Pomegranates ~Kidd & Taylor

Sue Monk Kidd | Anne Kidd Taylor

I am riveted to reading this book.  This book is the next read in my lesson plan of life and it is a magnificent teacher.   It is not that I cannot put the book down and I need to stay connected, because I must keep setting it aside  sleeping and dreaming the information gleaned; I cannot release my mind from the relating this information to my life and journey.

If I would teaching a group of women a class in life and in the journey of womankind, this book would be required reading.

Pomegranates is a book about the stages of being woman as told through the journal writing and traveling done by a mother and daughter.  It begins with a college graduation gift trip to Greece and how these two are changing roles and responsibilities in their lives – problem solving their futures.

Mother is mourning the loss of her creativity as she is beginning a few health problems and is diagnosed with the perimenopause.  She is contemplating writing her first work of fiction, which becomes the novel the Secret Life of Bees

Daughter is depressed by her first big rejection letter about starting a  Doctorate in Greek History and is on that yellow brick road of discovering what she is suppose to DO with her life and what direction she will take.

The first story they introduce into their travels is the story of Persephone and Demeter.  The Greek mythology is a story of the kidnapping of the daughter by Hades and the incredible searching of the mother to find her – and finally the “crone” who comes to the rescue and teaches  by eating the Pomegranate seed the daughter is restored to her loving Mother for 3 months of the year.   How the two authors relate to this tale in their own journals and interpretation – allows the reader classical insight into life and wisdom.
Anne refers to her Mother’s book  The Dance of the Dissident Daughter

as she photographs the columns of the ruins and draws these words from that book into her thoughts:

“Women, who bear the weight of opposition, create a shelter for the rest of us.”

As in much of women’s writing they do not leave out the food nourishment in the story.

Ms. Kidd speaks of the changes in diet and exercise she is using to attempt to control her hypertension and to change the “excel-eration vs.  acceleration” of her life.  She is frustrated by the idea that she cannot gain control over her physical self as she once used to and how medications are not assisting her.   She shares with us her thoughts of mortality and her connection to her mother’s beautiful and large rabbit cookies – individually made for each member of the family for Easter.

Ms. Taylor reveals how dancing, eating and running on her first trip to Greece opened her up to her Athenian possibilities of being a dynamic fully capable woman.

The two of them begin to look at other perspectives of the woman’s journey from the Art depicting St. Anne (the Mother of Mary who is the Mother of Jesus). They explore the concepts of the Madonna and the Black Madonna and the reader is drawn into the development of the fictional novel at its beginnings.

A bee alights upon her collar and remains with her as she walks to the coach – it is a sign. The Madonna tree grants her a wish of writing a novel; a piece of fiction.

The next trip together is to France….and Joan of Arc, tumulus birth canals or tombs/wombs of burial explored with profoundly beautiful words and feelings.  The tour they are leading is part of studying the images of women in art.

Young woman is planning her simple wedding beneath the boughs of an ancient tree in Charleston, South Carolina – 9 months away.   It is the very tree where she accepts the ring of proposal.

This is a stunningly crafted book of words, which link one to the universal and mythogical journey of a woman’s life.

I have not finished reading this book and have read 2 more books as I work though this story. I just must sleep on the ideas and reframe them into my journey.  I want to tell Ms. Kidd that she is mourning her loss of fertility and I too confused that with creativity…the peak of creativity is near age 65 for women – the best is yet to come if she prepares for it…She is only 50 years as she begins this story…

I also want to read the Secret Lives of Bees once again and explore her other writing.

I am sure I will read and journal about Pomegranates again and again.  I am putting it on my daughter’s Kindle for her graduation present this December.

Have you read a book that truly speaks to you on your life journey?  That is well crafted and beautifully written?   Please share the book and the whys in the comments below.

Other posts your might find related and interesting:
Kauai – The garden island of Hawaii
Blink ~Malcolm Gladwell
Gotta make a change
Kindle 2 and 5 things I love about it

Looking forward to all your appreciated comments:

16 Responses to “Book Review: Traveling with Pomegranates ~Kidd & Taylor”

  1. Talon Says:

    I really enjoyed “The Secret Life of Bees” (read it back in 2002 when it first came out) and now I’ll have to get these other books as there is obviously much history attached.

    A book that captures your full attention is a rare and beautiful thing.

    Have a fantastic weekend, Patricia!
    .-= Talon´s last blog ..Residuals =-.

  2. Jannie Funster Says:

    Yay! 20 years for me to go to my creative peak. I bet I’ll be writing Mega-Wedgie songs by then.

    As to… “cannot gain control over her physical self as she once used to,” if anyone figures that out will they send me the memo please, as my physical self seems to have a mind of its own. These once-taut abs seem to be more and more rejecting my daily ministrations of sit-ups and such.

    Sounds like really really interesting and deep reading.

    I did read “The Secret Lives Of Boll Weevils” a few years back — fascinating!

    Me? (and seriously now…) I’m finishing up Liara Covert’s “Self Disclosure” and it’s a fascinating journey into a self I had no idea existed. Yes, it is a stunningly crafted book too, a ground-breaking format really. I’ll be reviewing it on my site 2 weeks from today.

    .-= Jannie Funster´s last blog ..First Pictures With My New iPhone 3GS =-.

  3. Patricia Says:

    This truly was a wonderful read and I liked how they transitioned through their self healing work as they visited Greece and France on the trips that show up in the Bees book… Lovely read

    What a treat…another book to add to the growing list…loved your pictures and our iphone connections too, what a treat..and a delight Thank you

  4. Metropolitan Mum Says:

    That sounds all very interesting – especially when having in mind that I ‘just’ became a mother myself.
    I didn’t know that the female’s creativity peak is at around 65, there is hope, after all. 😉
    How are you, Patricia?
    .-= Metropolitan Mum´s last blog ..Is it a bird? Is it a thunderbolt? No, it’s Met Mum in her new coat! =-.

  5. Barbara Swafford Says:

    Hi Patricia,

    Unfortunately I haven’t done much reading of books lately; only blogs.

    The books you’ve showcased do sound like fabulous reads. I’ll have to put them on my list for when time permits.

    Have a great weekend Patricia. I hope all is well in your world.

    .-= Barbara Swafford´s last blog ..Let Your Blog Work For You – 25 Ways =-.

  6. Patricia Says:

    Metropolitan Mum
    Nice to see you here and I am sorry I haven’t been all around the blogshere the past two weeks….I am learning how to format an ebook for UNICEF fundraising and for me it is very hard work…today I have been playing with how to make the pages look the way I want them to look…after 4 hours I had to just describe it to my IT….

    I believe this book is very good for any of the female transitions we encounter, but for me it is certainly about the loss of so many years of my life with a special needs child – I resonated with the search for the “Old Woman” process and the stages of re-self discovery.

    The book is just beautifully written too…a lovely read.
    .-= Patricia´s last blog ..Book Review: Traveling with Pomegranates ~Kidd & Taylor =-.

  7. Patricia Says:

    I think my weekend will be quite lovely! next week I am going to San Francisco to get hands on help with publishing the e-book from my IT gal…..I will stay through Thanksgiving and am taking the train which is very fun for me.
    I too hope you have a lovely weekend and have plans for a great Thanksgiving – I think you must have something besides scones up your sleeve :)

    The other night I just could not sleep thinking about the UNICEF book and wanting to do it just right and I stopped tossing and turning and bundled up and came back to read some of this book again.
    After an hour with this lovely writing I went back to bed and had lovely dreams about creativity and felt optimistic about my progress…I think you would really enjoy this read…

  8. Sara Says:

    Patricia — First of all, you made me want to look at this book because of the way you lovingly wrote about it. It’s clear that it touches you in many different ways — as a mom, a woman, a traveler in life…

    I also feel that you are at some point of transition about writing and what you want to do with it.

    To answer to your question, I have two favorite books written by women. I have reviewed them both on my site. They are:

    “Everyday Sacred” by Sue Bender. This a beautifully written book about the simple things in life and one woman’s exploration of them. She includes wonderful drawings as well as her brief stories. I loved it.

    “Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life” by Natalie Goldberg is a bit tougher read, but it made me feel as if I knew Natalie and she helped me discover things about writing, I’d never considered.

    Good luck with your UNICEF book. I know you Patricia and therefore, I’m confident it will a success:~)
    .-= Sara´s last blog ..The Journey Begins: Part One =-.

  9. Mark Says:

    Sounds very interesting. I will add Traveling with Pomegranates to my list, thanks!
    .-= Mark´s last blog ..“It Is Just My Luck …” =-.

  10. Cath Lawson Says:

    Hi Patricia – this book sounds wonderful. I’ve had the Secret Life Of Bees on my must read books for ages and still not got round to it. But I think I’ll be checking out this one first. As much as I enjoy fiction, I love reading true and inspiring stories about real people.

  11. Hilary Says:

    Hi Patricia .. love the title of the book and the way you’ve woven the tales together so we’re tempted to buy – I certainly am. Then there’s the historical elements to the books .. Greece, Greek mythology, fruits – pomegrantates, foods for thought and health, bees, Joan of Arc and the Middle Ages in France, then Charleston .. that has that romantic feel ..

    Thanks – for showing us and describing these stories so well –
    Hilary Melton-Butcher
    Positive Letters Inspirational Stories
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..A is for Apple – an Apple a day keeps the doctor away … =-.

  12. Patricia Says:

    Thank you for the book recommendations and for your kind words. I truly did enjoy this book and the beauty of it as Mother and Daughter transition – not only through countries and roles, but through some of the historic and present pathways of a woman’s journey. I had an few minutes last night before bed and found myself just reading one of the excerpt before dozing off and it calmed me.

    Writing right now is rather a pressure as I want this ebook to truly bring in donations for UNICEF so I am having tremendous problems working on relaxing and right now enjoying the process.

    I am taking the train to San Francisco to share Thanksgiving with my IT – daughter but also to get some hands on training with the technical details I am not able to “get together” for success.

    I want to publish it on US Thanksgiving day…and honor all the wonderful gifts, pictures and recipes that others have shared with me on this my adventure

  13. Patricia Says:

    Thank you for you good words and for stopping on by….I just read the after thoughts pages for this book again last night and have decided to attempt to work on Kidd’s Blood Pressure controlling technique on myself…for 2 hours of writing and editing she does 2 hours of BEING…and has now controlled her BP for 8 years. So I will add my own variation of this to my practice and see it I can achieve some health from the this book also.
    .-= Patricia´s last blog ..Book Review: Traveling with Pomegranates ~Kidd & Taylor =-.

  14. Patricia Says:

    This book has been very inspiring to me and I am giving it to daughter #2 for a graduation gift from Information Sciences School (Librarian) this December. I hope you enjoy it…and it will make the Secret Life of Bees an amazing read when you choose to pick that one up too.

    This was an amazing – inspiring read for all of the good things you tagged about my description.
    I will be over to read about apples this evening after my company leaves Thank you

  15. Pat Winthrop Says:

    Loved “Secret Life of Bees.” Did not enjoy this book. Was an effort to slog through the self pity, self-loathing, angst and complete self absorption of both mother and daughter, They deserve each other.There are a multitude of reasons to become depressed besides not being accepted to graduate school to study Greek History. As for the Mother, get a life! Age 50 is not the time to “meet the Old Woman.” If menopause was the trigger for reflecting on one’s self worth and impending mortality, I would have “called it a day” at age 39 when I developed breast cancer and went into early menopause. Sounds like they need to stop contemplating their navels, wake up and realize that common folk have trouble relating to two women who can afford multiple trips to Greece simply to “find themselves” and each other.

  16. Patricia Says:

    Pat Winthrop,
    I too had problems with this book about the $ factor – it took me 26 years to earn my trip to the UK with my daughter, I felt the loss of fertility after cancer and confused it with creativity loss; now seeing that is part of the process.

    I share life with 3 daughters two of whom did not realize the end of school was just arriving in Auntie Ems house on the start of the yellow brick road – one was angry and one just confused. I found the references to Greek Mythology reassuring that I was not alone – kind of part of every woman’s journey. At 60, I am changing my life and rhythms now too, and having some health issues – I wondered if Ms Kidd might be on a faster journey to the end than I was? experiencing the issues so early?

    I found the reference to her “finding” her Bees novel on the original journey – fascinating and related to maybe that is how I will find my book?

    I have had Ovarian Cancer – and have not been on this story’s journey in the same way….and found it reassuring to read about someone else’s journey….I can truly identify with your feelings too and thank you for sharing that your journey was so different and you rallied to the discoveries in your own way and in your own time.

    I wish more people would share their stories, for I think this is often how I learn the best.

    Thank you so much for adding to the discussion and welcome, welcome. I appreciate your thoughts and ideas.