This is the story of how a mother and daughter discovered the world and a whole lot more via Paris…
We’ll Always Have Paris by Jennifer Coburn is a brilliant read. Warm, funny, honest and endearing.
It is the tale of a woman who has always feared that she would die at a young age, largely because her father, whom she adored, died young. It sounds like an odd theme for a story, but I promise you, it isn’t morbid or depressing though it is a little sad in places but mostly it is gloriously uplifting and funny. American Jennifer is happily married with an 8 year old daughter and decides that if she is to die young, she must set about creating memories for her daughter to cherish. This means, to Jennifer, embarking on a travel adventure.
Jennifer says “The book follows my daughter Katie and me through four European adventures beginning in Paris, and concluding in the same city eight years later. In the years between, we visit London, Rome, Southern Italy, Florence, Venice, Madrid, Seville, Granada, Barcelona, the Salvador Dalí Triangle, and Amsterdam.
We don’t have a lot of money. In fact, our home is in a constant state of disrepair with a kitchen that hasn’t been updated since the house was built in 1959. Until very recently, the bathrooms were on the brink of collapse. But travel was my economic priority because I have always been terrified of dying young like my father. My goal was to jam-pack Katie’s mental scrapbook with memories of our adventures overseas.
As I began writing, though, I began exploring not only my travels through Europe with my daughter, but my own childhood in New York with a father struggling with drug addiction.”
Jennifer is quirky, a bit OCD (she creates colour charts and copious notes on what they will do, and when) and anxious about travelling alone with a child so far from home and without her sensible husband. She’s also perfectly healthy, has a lovely personality and is very funny.
Things go wrong, mother and daughter get sick, they get lost and they get confused.
They also fall head over heels in love with Paris, discover the astonishing art and culture of Europe, make friends where ever they go and most certainly fulfil Jennifer’s wish to create memories that her daughter will forever treasure.
The trip has an extra, unexpected result. Jennifer’s adventures help her to see that fear of dying is stopping her living life to the full – it’s an inspiring read.
We’ll Always Have Paris is funny, clever, witty and sad at times. Jennifer’s observations of the people she meets are sharp, savvy and affectionate. She resorts to charade-like contortions when she can’t speak the language which endears her to strangers… and readers of the book. It will make you laugh out loud. Anyone with hang-ups will recognise themselves here and you’ll end up feeling that your slightly quirky but lovely best friend just described her European adventure to you… it will make you want to grab your passport and have an adventure yourself!
Read Jennifer Coburn’s Guide to Paris for mother and daughter visits – great tips and observations to help you make the most of your time in the city of light