Claire & Mia Fontaine's 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Our guests today: Claire and Mia Fontaine Why we love them: Their writing is honest and hilarious. And they have no qualms about putting it all out there.

Their latest: Have Mother, Will Travel: A Mother and Daughter Discover Each Other, Themselves and The World (July 17)

The scoop on it: A mother, a daughter, and a life-changing adventure around the world. Their bestselling memoir, Come Back, moved and inspired readers with the story of Mia Fontaine's harrowing drug addiction and her mother, Claire's, desperate and ultimately successful attempts to save her. Now it's a decade later and Claire and Mia each face a defining moment in her life, and a mother-daughter relationship that has frayed around the edges. At fifty-one, Claire's shed her identity as Mia's savior but realizes that, oops, she forgot to plan for life after motherhood; Mia, twenty-five and eager to step outside her role as recovery's poster child, finds adult life isn't all it's cracked up to be. Determined to transform themselves and their relationship once again, the pair sets off on a five-month around-the-world adventure.

What awaits them is an extraordinary, often hilarious journey through twenty cities and twelve countries—one that includes mishaps, mayhem, and unexpected joys, from a passport-eating elephant to a calamitous camel ride around the Pyramids—and finally making peace with their tumultuous past in the lavender fields of France, where they live for the last four months of the trip. Seeing how self-possessed and community-minded twentysomethings are in other countries broadens Mia's perspective, helping her grow, and grow up. Claire uses the trip to examine her broken relationship with her own mother, a Holocaust survivor, and to create a vision for her second act. Watching her mom assess half a century of life, Mia comes to know her as Claire has always known Mia—as all mothers know their daughters—better than anyone else, and often better than themselves.

Wiser for what they've learned from women in other cultures, and from each other, they return with a deepened sense of who they are and where they want to go—and with each embracing the mature friendship they've discovered and the profound love they share.

Read an excerpt here.

Our thoughts: What's better than a book about travel, the nuances, complications and bonds of a mother/daughter relationship with a lot of heart and laughter mixed in?

Giveaway: FIVE copies! Just leave a comment to be entered to win- we'll randomly select the winners on Sunday, July 15 after 3PM PST.

Fun fact: Both Claire and Mia are also national public speakers.

Where you can read more about Claire and Mia: Facebook, Pinterest and their website


(PS: Could they be any more gorgeous??)


Five things I’d tell my teenage self? Now that I’m fifty-five, I realize that some of them aren’t much different than things I’d tell my forty-year-old self (which tells you what a late bloomer I am).

1. You know those grand, romantic dreams you used to have of a “great love?” Of finding your Heathcliff, your Rochester (I guess nowadays it would be your Edward)? Before you decided it was nerdy, pathetic, and unrealistic? Well, it does exist, and it’s going to take four decades and a lot of work for you to become the kind of woman who will attract your Rochester, but you will, trust me on that. And it will be everything you dreamed and more, far more.

2. Listen to what your mom tells you on the Three Big M’s of a woman’s life – money, men, and motherhood. She’s got thirty years, two marriages, six kids, three cultures, and five languages on you and she knows a lot more than you think she does. She’ll turn out to be right on just about everything.

3. You know all those hours you’re spending trying to iron your frizzy hair with heated tin cans, saving for a nose job, and sucking in your lips to make them look smaller because kids made fun of them? Go out and spend those hours having fun instead.

4. Don’t follow a boyfriend to college. You’ll end up leaving him and the school in a year, and with it your dreams.

5. Don’t spend so much time alone or focused on the two jaded, cool girls you hope will like you. Join a team, the school paper, a club; those kids are much nicer and way more fun.

MIA, age 29

1. For all the times your mom says “one day you'll thank me for this–“—it’s true. Seriously. True. You’re rolling your eyes and groaning now when she insists on French lessons, looking up words you don’t know the meaning of, and joining a sports team, but you’ll be really glad when you’re bi-lingual, articulate, and able to join in a pick-up soccer game.

2. Be nice. You have more of an impact on those around you than you can imagine, and a few nice, or thoughtless, words or deeds go a long way. Sometimes things you don’t even remember saying or doing are remembered by others for years to come.

3. No matter how much more “together” than you someone seems, they’re not. College is where everyone opens up about how unattractive, insecure, and unpopular they felt in high school. Even the “popular” girls.

4. Save your clothing. At some point it’s guaranteed to come back in style, at which point either your daughter will want it, or you can sell it as vintage.

5. Amazing but true: one day you’ll actually enjoy classical music. And salad.

Thanks Claire and Mia!


Liz & Lisa