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Glitter and Glue

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  14,143 ratings  ·  1,950 reviews

From the 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 summarized the family dynamic as “Your father’s the glitter but I’m the glue.” This meant nothing to Kelly, who left
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published February 4th 2014 by Ballantine Books
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3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  14,143 ratings  ·  1,950 reviews

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Dec 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
On the surface, this seems like a fast, easy read because it is--but there are a whole lot of layers built in that I'll be thinking about for a long time: the whole business about when you start channeling your own mother in unexpected ways, the things you learn from how you're parented (by both parents) that don't necessarily present themselves until later in life, and how being a mama is simultaneously the hardest, most exciting, and most demanding way to spend one's time.

The secondary part o
Mar 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
I miss my mom. This memoir brings it all back. She died when I was 19, so I never got to experience being an adult with a mom. This memoir is about a daughter and her relationship with her mother over the years.

At one point the daughter/author/Kelly Corrigan is in Australia and a boy is explaining chess to her: The queen is the most important piece. She can move everywhere. And if she is gone, you're lost.

Later, she rewords this with "the mother". It's true.

NOTE: I listened to the audio of this,
Dec 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Every daughter has a mother, and whilst some relationships are more fraught than others, I can only guess that no mother-daughter relationship is plain sailing at all times. This book struck so many chords with me, particularly having had an equally "uncool mother" like Kelly Corrigan's who wouldn't let me paint my nails, wear make-up, heck, even get contact lenses as she was "sensible" and would not pander to my vanity. Similarly, I wasn't allowed to watch trashy TV, read trashy books (Enid Bly ...more
Do not read this book while premenstrual and on a plane.

I grabbed this as a prepub galley from ALA Annual 2013. I haven't read Corrigan before, but I enjoyed her light, breezy, at times humorous style. This is a book about learning to appreciate the grown-ups in your life--in this case, Corrigan's strict, hard-to-please mother. Told through the lens of a memoir of her half-year as a nanny for a widower and his children in Australia, the premise is lightweight but the emotional impact is solid.
Jan 27, 2014 rated it liked it
I wanted to like this more than I did. In fact, I want to give in 2.75 stars :). The memory of her travels abroad with the Tanner family after college were compelling and I really enjoyed the writing. I felt the current day "tie" to her mother was lacking and she didn't make me care about their relationship like I did about her relationship with the Tanners.
Dec 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book hit me in ways I didn't expect. It made me laugh but it made me cry so suddenly as her words snuck up on me. I related to this book on many levels. One I lost my mom when I was 17 and helped raise my three brothers one of which was only 1 1/2. I related to Evan.
My brother recently lost his wife to cancer leaving him to raise two children at 4 & 7 years old. I could see my brother in John.
My oldest daughter just became a mom and I see our relationship changing as moms united.
Jan 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
Glitter and Glue is a love story to Corrigan's mother that all women can relate to whether you have children or not. My mother in law gave me this book after she went to a book release event with the author, whom she found to be witty and funny. This book made me think of my own relationship with my mother and how blessed I was as a child, I am and still continue to be with my own sainted mother and how scared and excited I am to become a mother one day and most importantly that I need my mother ...more
Judith E
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A lightweight reflection about a young adult daughter’s realization that her mother was actually a person. Also, an age old scenario of nanny trying to win over traumatized/sulky child.
Jun 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved Kelly Corrigan's "The Middle Place" - even though I don't have children, I found her insight into the changing role of being an adult child to be very honest. As much as I loved TMP, I think I love "Glitter and Glue" more. It really resonated with me as someone who grew up idolizing her more exciting and jovial dad and getting frustrated with the rules-oriented, calm mom. I love the description of her mother summarizing "the division of labor in her family as 'Your father's the glitter, ...more
Nov 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: bea-arc-2013

Dear Reader,

I read this book in 3 days. I suppose that says something about both its accessibility and its engagement level. This book was, however, nothing like I'd expected. Having never read anything by this author before, I wasn't prepared by her other works. Amber and I got this book as an ARC at BEA 2013, and we'd both been eager to get to it, especially having met the author and gotten our books signed. I think the title appealed to me most of all: it evoked memories of craf
May 13, 2014 rated it it was ok
It's probably me, not the book. But I had to force myself to finish. 2.5 star, with a .5 star given for the truthfulness level. And yet these "me, me, me" and "I had to find myself" books are just not my cup of tea. It was suggested as a cozy? Why does it not surprise me that when she finally was forced to physically and mentally work for others' wants and needs, she begins to wake up to her own past parental reality. Having spent 13 years taking care of ill parents and their house too, and just ...more
Apr 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
That was a real sob fest. I started it in the doctor's office but couldn't continue because I was tearing up in a waiting room full of strangers. I explained to the lady sitting next to me, who then showed me pictures on her phone of her 92 year old mother....when she was young and beautiful. She had movie star looks, reminded me of Lana Turner. This is a story that most every woman can relate to and then proceed to celebrate the uniqueness of her own mother. My mother passed 26 years ago but I ...more
Ayelet Waldman
Dec 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Kelly did it again, brought us another heartbreaker that'll keep you laughing and crying.
Nov 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
By the time I finished this heartfelt book, tears quietly slid down my cheeks. After I read a certain quote, I sobbed. I will forever hold this in my heart, "You don't have to be able to decode every passage to want to hug it when you finish." Hug it, I did.
I loved this with my whole heart. At times it's difficult to get through (because much like Kelly's observation below) it's exhausting to FEEL so much, but it's absolutely worth it. So many layers to absorb as a woman, a daughter, a mother, and a friend.

“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.”

"It's hard to watch someone struggle, with a testy machine, a sticky door, a heavy suit
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Updating this review a week later to bump up to five stars– this one left a lasting impression, and I’m still thinking about it a week later. I’d press this one into the hands of all of my young mom-to-be friends!

OG review: I’ve had this book sitting idly on my shelf for, oh, maybe 18 months? With really no inclination to pick it up (sorry, Kelly Corrigan!), but when I finally did, I devoured it in a day. But some books just find you at the exact right time, and this one found me just at the tim
Lauren Henderson
Oct 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Your father may be the glitter, but I'm the glue.

Whoa... heartstrings.. hold on. This book is a great read for anyone who has a mom... so EVERYONE. I found myself tearing up often with memories of my own mom. Glitter and Glue is a beautiful tribute to the mother-daughter relationship.

Kelly Corrigan is a really great writer. I've never read anything by her, and I picked this one up solely because I love memoirs about mother-daughter relationships. She writes the story in first person, so it rea
Patti's Book Nook
"Your dad's the glitter, but I'm the glue." I flew through this one...really looking forward to meeting her in Vermont:-) Corrigan does an excellent job articulating the disconnect that is often present between mothers and daughters. Due to lack of perspectives as kids, most of us can't even fathom our parents as having lives before we existed (just like it was mind boggling to see your teacher at the supermarket- gasp! they live in the classroom right??). One of my favorite excerpts was when K ...more
Jan 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Glitter and Glue by Kelly Corrigan is a memoir about her life with her mom. The story follows Kelly’s but is a long reflection about her mother. The younger Kelly felt her mother was too hard, always had rules, didn’t let anything go and always pushed her. The older Kelly realized that her mother took her job as mother seriously.

What make this a great book are the emotions of a woman coming into her own. A woman who starts out feeling about her mom, like many of us did as a teenager {roll the ey
Oct 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
Oh how I wish we had partial stars in Goodreads, because I need them to accurately describe my feelings for this book! It wasn't bad enough for a two, but it also didn't earn a 3 in my mind. A 2.5 would be perfect here!

What did I like? It was a fast read and was enjoyable for the most part (when I could get past my annoyance with the narrator)

What didn't I like? While I found her experiences in Australia to be interesting, she was a bit whiny. Perhaps this is an honest reflection of her age/pers
Barbara (The Bibliophage)
Solid 3.5 stars. Corrigan tells her experiences as a mother and daughter through three life events. First, as a nanny for a family whose mother had died. Second, and more briefly, seeing her mother as a mutable human with the potential to become ill. And more briefly still, how the possible recurrence of her own cancer blends these two previous moments into a third—imagining what her family would do without her. She navigates these stories with wry humor and pithy insight. It's a coming of age s ...more
Feb 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I love this coming-of-age memoir. I have been meaning to read The Middle Place by the same author and picked this up when I saw it at the library. I may have read it at a vulnerable time when we are going through a lot with our aging parents while trying to manage the business of raising young children, but it was perfection. It's a quick but profound read.
Lorie Kleiner Eckert
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is a memoir that deals with a mother/daughter relationship as told by the daughter who didn't think - at least in her early 20s - that she and her mother had anything in common and that they certainly had no basis for relationship. However, when the daughter runs out of money while traveling overseas and takes a job as a nanny to a family whose wife/mom died of cancer, she finds her mother's voice constantly speaking inside her head, directing her and leading the way. I identified with ...more
Glitter and Glue was my selection for the 2015 round of Postal Book Club 2. Because we have a limit of 225 pages and this was 226 of actual novel, that was my driving force to look at this one for my contribution.

Once I read the blurb on the book there were two other compelling reasons to read it.

First and foremost, I loved that most of Corrigan's story was set in Sydney. My daughter married an Aussie so she lives on the North Shore of the Sydney area. Anything that pulls my heart to Australia r
Elizabeth A
Mar 18, 2015 rated it it was ok
The relationship between mothers and daughters is one that has been complicated since we first started walking upright as a species I'll bet. There is something about the mother-daughter bond that pulls and pushes at us, binds and embraces us, and one we often reject at the very core of our being when we are young. Most of us are horrified when we first hear something our mother would say come out of our mouth, but as we get older, we make our peace with that.

This memoir is a coming of age stor
Jan 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
(3.5) Slides down like ice cream. And I say that even though the whole basis for this memoir feels rather thin. Corrigan frames it around five months in the early 1990s when she worked as a nanny for two Australian kids whose mother died of cancer. For a young woman fresh out of college, it was like a trial run for being a mother, and also gave her a new appreciation for everything her own mother had done for her during her Philadelphia Catholic upbringing. If Corrigan’s father (subject of her p ...more
Feb 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
I listened to the audiobook of this in one long car trip, about 5 hours of total audio. When I got to the end, I was worried I'd have to pull over because of the tears. It's a gorgeous meditation on death and motherhood, which doesn't sound anywhere near as compelling as it is.

To be sure, this book was definitely in my wheelhouse - an American's recollection of the five months she spent nannying for a Sydney family in 1992. The daughter in the family must be exactly my age, which gave it a funny
Kristin Schuck
May 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
A book club selection for this month, and a perfect one in the week leading up to Mothers Day. I have read another of her memoirs (The Middle Place), and I like her writing style - it feels casual and accessible. While I suspect she is actually nothing like me, the writing fools me into thinking that she is. But this is a nice reflection on our mothers' roles in our lives. While the author's mother is nothing like mine, the way that their relationship changes as they grow older is probably almos ...more
Feb 04, 2014 rated it liked it
A lovely tribute to mothers, Kelly Corrigan-style. I really liked "The Middle Place" and if you read that book, this is very similar. After college, Kelly sets out with a girlfriend to see the world and do exciting and interesting things. They run out of money in Australia and each of them takes a job as a nanny to save money so they can continue their adventures. Kelly's family consists of a widowed father, his young son and daughter, his stepson and father-in-law. The mother has recently died ...more
Oct 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014, memoir
I really should not be surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. After hearing the author speak and read at an event it was clear that she was very charming, vivacious, and had a great sense of humor. And yet, I put this book off for a long time thinking that it would be good for a day when I wanted something "light". Instead I was riveted to her story and loved the emotional journey she takes discovering her own mother from half way across the world on her own trip to Australia. This book had ...more
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Bookworm Bitches : March 2015: Glitter & Glue 16 131 Aug 31, 2018 09:06PM  
Binkies and Brief...: February Discussion 1 12 Mar 01, 2017 05:13AM  
Goodreads Librari...: consolidate the multiple copies 2 17 Mar 08, 2015 10:03AM  
Mansfield Public ...: The"Glitter and Glue" review by Sharon Wapen 1 10 Aug 13, 2014 04:57PM  
Classic Readers : Classic Readers -- June 18 1 5 Jun 17, 2014 12:21PM  
Peggy Taylor vs. Ellen Tanner 1 13 May 06, 2014 12:05PM  

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Kelly Corrigan is a New York Times bestselling author whose writing has appeared in O Magazine, Glamour and Good Housekeeping. Her newspaper columns for the Bay Area News Group cover everyday matters from the power of an unequivocal apology to the contagious nature of weight gain, extramarital affairs and going green."
“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.” 23 likes
“But now I see there's no such thing as "a" woman, "one" woman. There are dozens inside every one of them. I probably should have figured this out sooner, but what child can see the women inside her mom, what with all the Motherness blocking out everything else?” 18 likes
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