“From the New York Times bestselling author of The Middle Place comes a new memoir that examines the bond—sometimes nourishing, sometimes exasperating, occasionally divine—between mothers and daughters.
When Kelly Corrigan was in high school, her mother neatly summarized the family dynamic as “Your father’s the glitter but I’m the glue.” This meant nothing to Kelly, who left childhood sure that her mom—with her inviolable commandments and proud stoicism—would be nothing more than background chatter for the rest of Kelly’s life, which she was carefully orienting toward adventure. After college, armed with a backpack, her personal mission statement, and a wad of traveler’s checks, she took off for Australia to see things and do things and Become Interesting.
But it didn’t turn out the way she pictured it. In a matter of months, her savings shot, she had a choice: get a job or go home. That’s how Kelly met John Tanner, a newly widowed father of two looking for a live-in nanny. They chatted for an hour, discussed timing and pay, and a week later, Kelly moved in. And there, in that house in a suburb north of Sydney, 10,000 miles from the house where she was raised, her mother’s voice was suddenly everywhere, nudging and advising, cautioning and directing, escorting her through a terrain as foreign as any she had ever trekked. Every day she spent with the Tanner kids was a day spent reconsidering her relationship with her mother, turning it over in her hands like a shell, straining to hear whatever messages might be trapped in its spiral.
This is a book about the difference between travel and life experience, stepping out and stepping up, fathers and mothers. But mostly it’s about who you admire and why, and how that changes over time.” ~ Goodreads
Glitter and Glue will release today January 4, 2014. A perfect gift for Mother’s Day!
What a fantastic memoir about mothers and daughters. Even if you do not have a daughter of your own, the relationship between Kelly and her own mother brought home the delicate dance of acknowledging your differences and finally being able to accept your mother for who she is without trying to change her. The way your mother raised you, fed you, dressed you, whatever insight she pressed upon you that you swear, “I will do it differently”, made you who you are and that has to stand for something.
I loved how Kelly found parallels to her time spent as a nanny in Australia to her upbringing, channeling her mother’s voice and experience to help her navigate this experience of being a “fill-in” mother to children who just lost theirs. While I have to hold back from quoting (this was an uncorrected reader’s proof, therefore I can not quote since the final copy may be changed), Corrigan’s insight and one-liners had me highlighting and absorbing her words of wisdom. I can definitely say that this book made me see things differently as a mother, a daughter, a caretaker, a wife, a friend, a teacher, the police officer, the rule enforcer – just the dozens of personalities that makes up one woman.
Like Corrigan, I have this internal need. Something I can not name that craves adventure, near and far. Internationally and domestic. But as she closes the book she talks about wanting her current life to continue as it is, surrounded by her family and friends, “because this is it. This is the great adventure.”
*Thank you to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for this uncorrected advance reader’s copy. I was not compensated or required to review this memoir.
To learn more about Kelly Corrigan, her books and events please visit her site here.