Can a 5,000-mile journey help a mother and son survive their differences?

side by side of a person and a book
Jedidiah Jenkins — a progressive, California-dwelling, gay man — went on a cross-country road trip with his beloved mother — a Trump-supporting evangelical Christian — and lived to write a book about it. "Mother, Nature" is a tender, thoughtful and funny reflection on the complexities of familial love.
Courtesy photos

For years, author Jedidiah Jenkins and his mother, Barbara, have flirted with the idea of a cross-country road trip together. The goal: to retrace Barbara’s route across America which she walked with her husband, travel writer Peter Jenkins, in the 1970s.

But there is one problem: they have wildly disparate world views. Barbara is a baby boomer who lives in rural Tennessee. She supports Trump, listens to conservative media and is a deeply passionate evangelical Christian.

Jedidiah is almost the opposite. He’s a gay man, who lives on the West Coast and is politically progressive.

But they love each other. And Jedidiah is keenly aware of his mother’s age and the passing of time. So they set off on their joint adventure, hoping for fresh insight into the complex questions many are asking today: How do we stay in relationship when it hurts? When are boundaries needed? Is it possible to love someone who disagrees with you on almost everything?

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This week on Big Books and Bold Ideas, Jedidiah Jenkins joined host Kerri Miller for a thoughtful, funny and reflective conversation about mothers, nuance and the key ingredient needed to stay in painful relationships.


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