Mar 26, 2014

Glitter & Glue by Kelly Corrigan


From the New York Times best-selling 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 summarised the the division of labour in her family as: 'Your father's the glitter, but I'm the glue.' This meant nothing to Kelly, who left her childhood sure that her mum - with her inviolable commandments, curious introversion and proud stoicism - would be nothing more than background for the rest of Kelly's life, which she was gradually orienting toward adventure. After college, armed with a backpack, her personal mission statement, and a wad of Travelers Checks, she took off for Hong Kong, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji to see things and Become Interesting.

But it didn't turn out how she pictured it. In a matter of months, her bum-bag full of savings had dwindled to a handful and it became clear that unless she was ready to go home she needed a job. That's how she met John Tanner, a newly widowed Australian 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 small, motherless house, in a suburb north of Sydney, her mother's voice was suddenly everywhere, playing like talk radio from hidden speakers, nudging and nagging, 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 she spent reconsidering her relationship with her mother, turning it over in her hands like a shell, trying to hear whatever messages might be trapped in its shadowy 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.



I borrowed the above from Amazon. Kelly Corrigan wants to see the world, she wants to be someone and she wants to go places. She has the feeling she needs to live a little. That's why she quits her job and leaves. When it's time to see Australia there's no money left, so she has to start working so she will be able to pay for the remainder of her journey. The job she finds is a difficult one, she becomes the nanny of a broken family of which the mother has died of cancer a few months before. The father has to start working again and Kelly is there to look after the children. During these months she has to grow up very quickly and that's also when she starts to think about her connection with her own mother.
The relationship between Kelly and her mother is difficult. Kelly misses warmth and friendliness, but when the story evolves she start to understand her mother more and more. The reason Kelly Corrigan writes this story is both a very strong and a bit of a sad one. The Tanner family has changed her perspective on life. From a daughter who struggles with her mother she becomes a daughter who has a very strong bond with her mother. That was the biggest strength of the book. I loved this book. The theme is emotional, but it never becomes too much, I never had the feeling I drowned in tears which easily could have happened with a story like this. I'm glad Kelly Corrigan was brave enough to write this book. 

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