Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Glitter and Glue: Kelly Corrigan

     In the new memoir, Glitter and Glue, Kelly Corrigan uses her famous wit and candor to explore her relationship with her mother against the backdrop of a stint as a nanny to a motherless family in Australia. Kelly is becoming the resonant voice of Generation X women who grew up in the 1980’s.  Her 2009 book, The Middle Place, was a New York Times bestseller and her realistic and authentic first person voice detailed an experience with breast cancer as well as the amazing relationship she shares with her exceptional father, Greenie Corrigan. In Glitter and Glue, she explores a sometimes intense life with her mother, and comes to understand their complicated love as she cares for the Tanner family, who has lost a mother to cancer. After college, Kelly is on a youthful mission to explore the world and create her own insights on life, much to her practical mother’s chagrin. As a caretaker to young Martin and Amelia Tanner and companion to their older half-brother, Evan, Kelly gains some introspection regarding her mother who is the “glue” to Greenie’s glitter. In the vein of Michael Lewis, Corrigan is able to create her own narrative beside another tale of her travels in Australia. The style is conversational, sometimes sarcastic, and beautifully permeated by metaphor that feels authentic to the reader.  In difficulties with the willful and grieving young daughter Amelia Tanner, Kelly recalls,“The Guess Jeans Fight of 1984,” which will leave readers who grew up in the 1980’s chuckling. (Excerpt: https://medium.com/thoughts-for-thinking-women/e68bcbef1fc1). There is a rhythm and poignancy to her words and the book is one that will most likely be read in one sitting as it was for me.

     Author Ernest Gaines once said that he started writing of his childhood in rural Louisiana because he wished for books about his people. I feel as if Kelly is writing for my people because like me, she was raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia, summered in Avalon (a lovely part of the Jersey shore), and moved 3,000 miles away to the San Francisco Bay area where she became a mother. Not since I was a youngster reading the books of Judy Blume has a writer captured my feelings and thoughts on so many levels. I was so sad to put down this book that I reread The Middle Place which was even better the second time around. As a reviewer, I see a long writing career for Kelly Corrigan and hope her books will be adapted to film. Glitter and Glue is a special book on parenthood, coming of age, love, and loss which is written in a rich and realistic tone. Thank you Kelly for another jewel of a book and I hope you will keep them coming.

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