Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Kelly Corrigan's Glitter and Glue Is A Memoir That Your Are Going to Want to Read

Do you remember The Ones Who Matter Most by Rachael Herron? Although that was fiction, it showed us another way to define Family. Kelly's memoir, Glitter and Glue, shows us different ways to define Motherhood.  But instead of talking about that, I want to quote a few passages from G&G.  Kelly's writing is so good that I'm going to eliminate my usual banter and just let you enjoy the words - not only for the writing, but also for what they say.

1.  This passage is talking about the family of Ellen Tanner, who had passed away a number of months earlier:  So now I've met all of Ellen Tanner's people.  The newish husband.  The young children, the nearly grown son, the father.  If this family were a poker hand, you'd fold. Without that middle card, you're drawing to an inside straight, and that almost never works out.

2.  And it occurs to me that maybe the reason my mother was so exhausted all the time wasn't because she was doing so much but because she was feeling so much.

3.  It's easy to love kids who make you feel competent.  God help the ones who lock themselves in their rooms, who let go first, who make you pine for some sign of validation and then hate yourself for chasing the affections of a child.

4.  Referring to her mother, she says: This is the first time, here in Australia, that my life has looked and sounded and moved like hers, from bed to kitchen to car and back, and consequently she is everywhere, like a movie playing across the walls and furniture from hidden projectors.

And I'll close with this one:

5.  I remember a lecture from one of my lit classes about a theory called "Reader Response," which basically says: More often than not, it's the readers - not the writers - who determine what a book means.  The idea is that readers don't come blank to books.  Consciously and not, we bring all the biases that come with our nationality, gender, race, class, age.  Then you layer onto that the status of our health, employment, relationships, not to mention our particular relationship to each book - who gave it to us, where we read it, what books we've already read - and, as my professor put it, "That massive array of spices has as much to do with the flavor of the soup as whatever the cook intended."

So is this like a movie trailer, where you get to see all the good scenes before you even watch the movie?  The answer is an unequivocal and resounding "NO!"  Kelly has these very well-written, insightful comments throughout the book.  And don't get me started on the emotional moments I had reading Glitter and Glue.  They were aplenty.  Just read the book, okay?

P.S.  There was one part late in the book where I blurted out:  "You better have an epilogue!"  Was I emotionally connected much?


  1. My parents were very much like Corrigan's - my dad was the glitter while my mom was the glue. I enjoyed this book and find Corrigan's writing to be thoughtful.

    1. You're right on with the "thoughtful" comment. I was definitely struck by how thought-provoking so many of her passages were.

  2. Nice review. I read The Middle Place but never got around to this one.

    1. Thanks. I didn't even know who she was until I saw her "in conversation" with Jodi Picoult a couple of weeks ago.