Glitter and Glue by Kelly CorriganPublished: February 4, 2014Publisher: Ballantine BooksPages: 224Received: borrowed from libraryWhen 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.
First off I'm going to let you all know that I intend to buy a copy for my personal library after having read and absolutely loved this book. I knew it was about the complicated relationships between mothers and daughters, but I didn't realize just how much it would touch my heart.
Honestly, I was teary eyed a few times over what Kelly came to realize about her own relationship with her mother and how in the end she realized her Mom was right and the things her mother did made more sense to her as she grew up, especially after her trip to Australia where she took a temp job as a nanny to a family who had just lost their mom/wife.
Kelly's story of her time with the Tanners is filled with so much emotion - she writes down what she sees in this family, how she is trying to help them cope with their new everyday and hoping to have some fun while visiting a foreign place. She didn't know she would become a nanny while on her travels and would never have pictured it as something she would normally do for a job, but in the end it's one of the most rewarding experiences she's ever had.
Oh and I never dog ear pages in a book, but I didn't have any sticky notes with me while reading at the laundromat one day and I couldn't pass up some of these wonderful quotes, so dog ears galore! That is how much I really want to buy a copy of this book.
I realized while reading this I would think about my relationship with my own mother and how the thoughts Kelly has of her young charges missing their Mom for big and little occasions impacted me dramatically. The loss of their mother changed how they lived their lives, but Kelly realized that they needed time to grieve, heal and move on. I cried so many times thinking about my Mom and the things she will miss in all of our lives since she is gone, but I it also makes me thankful for the times she was there and the amazing memories that pop up from time to time.
I have to share this one passage (it's a bit long, but it completely made me smile thinking of the things we do to remember those we love):
"Standing in the hall, adjusting my headphones to get ready for a walk, I catch Evan folding the red wool blanket in the living room and realize that he has not stayed for Pop of the kids. This is not an obligation, the tragic fulfillment of a bedside promise to his mother. He stays because this is where she was. He stays to be near her. These are her things - the sofa that followed her from apartment to first house to second marriage, the photos she chose to keep, her recipes, her blanket. to leave Lewiston is to leave the only place where he might sit for a morning in her favorite spot or smell her scent on a pillow or come across her gardening gloves and secretly slip his hands into them, opening and closing his fists in fantastic synchonicity with her memory."
And this one tears at my heart, but is so true:
"It's not until after I put her to bed that night that I can bring myself to think about my mother and the reams of things she did for me that could and should have softened me. What is it about a living mother that makes her so hard to see, to feel, to want, to love, to like? What a colossal waste that we can only fully appreciate certain riches - clean clothes, hot showers, good health, mothers - in their absence."
I honestly think that it's a book that every woman should read. It will really make you think about your mother and becoming a mother. Now I'm to buy a copy for myself where I will dog ear as many pages as I can stand (this is a big deal for someone who also uses post its to flag quotes).
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