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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Momma Said There'd Be Days Like This OR Glitter and Glue by Kelly Corrigan

Book Type: Coming of age-ish memoir

Stereotype Alert: Nada

Cover Art: Mail Call!

Bed/Bride/Bludgeon: Following my rule about books dealing with cancer, I'm not going there on this one. 

Character Score: 7 out of 10 Mr. Micawbers

What's the Story?: A young woman sets out to see the world and become Interesting.  While nannying for an Australian family who has just lost their mother to cancer, her views on what makes life worth living begin to shift.

X-Factor: Globetrotting

Stereotype Alert: I haven't read a lot of memoirs.  And I really haven't read, well, any memoirs that deal with motherhood.  And while most of this book takes place long before the author has any children of her own, I really identified with her thoughts and feelings.  

Cover Art: I know this book takes place (mostly) in 1992 before the age of email, but I love seeing the big stack of handwritten letters.  And red being my favorite color... an eye-catching book for sure! 

Character Score: Not so much a comment on the characters since this is a work of non fiction, but I really loved Corrigan's writing voice.  

What's the Story?: I originally picked up the advanced copy of this book because I thought it was a funny memoir by a crafty person.  Like Jen Lancaster's Tao of Martha or Amy Sedaris's I Like You. What a misleading title!  But after reading the blurb on the back of the book, I thought it would still be worth a go and I was not disappointed.

Kelly Corrigan is a young woman in her early 20s.  She longs for adventure, for a chance to have interesting new experiences that you can only have when you “leave the house.”   She and her college roommate decide to go on a round-the-world trip beginning in Taipei.  The two are on the road for two months before they run out of cash while in Sydney, Australia.  Corrigan pictured herself working in a bar or restaurant to save up money for the next leg of her trip; not playing nanny to two kids whose mother has recently died of cancer.   And she certainly never expected to travel more than half way around the world to connect with her mother, of all people.  But this book is all about difference between what you imagine and what is.  About what you think is important, and what actually is important.

Corrigan uses a lot of flashbacks to talk about the type of person her mother is.  She makes it very plain that she and her mother have virtually nothing in common.  Her mother is a practical woman.  One who doesn’t spoil her children and makes them follow her rules at all times.  Her father, however, was always a pleasant, outgoing guy who loved to spend time with his kids after work and called his only daughter “Lovie.”  But as her mother liked to remind her daughter, “Your father’s the glitter but I’m the glue.”  Corrigan relishes the opportunity to be living her own adventure away from her mother’s nagging but soon finds that her mother’s voice is the one constantly giving her advice on how to care for the Tanner children.  As the weeks tick by, Corrigan is struck by how the Tanner family learns to survive without a mother.  The harder she tries to help the children, the more she thinks about her own mother and slowly discovers that life’s true adventure is experiencing life within a family. 

Glitter and Glue  is a quick read that is a different type of coming of age memoir.  It begins with a young woman's quest for independence and excitement and ends with her deep feelings about the importance of family.  Maybe it's just because I'm going to be a mother soon, but I really enjoyed this book.  Glitter and Glue is available everywhere February 4th 2014.  


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