I’ve been hiking a lot. I’ve been eating a lot. I’ve been stuffing down feelings and feeling shell shocked a lot. I’ve been avoiding the news, but sneaking peaks––that inevitably make me wish I’d avoided it. I’ve been trying not to get my hopes up, but hoping I can. I’ve been working on my novel… for like ten years. Or more. I’ve been missing my kids. A lot. And I’ve been reading. I’m reading books and listening to books, and reading some more. It’s life for me, in this distorted, surreal Covid bubble.
Last week, I finally logged on to Goodreads, my source for all book reviews. I rarely pick up a book without at least checking their star system. I read whatever our book group selects, but when I’m picking a book outside of group, I stop by Goodreads to see what others recommend. Over time, there are a few Goodread readers I’ve come to trust. I know their taste; if they hate a book, chances are, I will too. I hate to waste my time on a bad book.
I’m not that person who leaves a movie easily, and I rarely abandon books. So, once I’m in, I stick with it. For the most part. If I put a book down, it generally means things when very awry. If I leave a movie… well, aside from Something About Mary, it just doesn’t happen. (I know, I know; you all love that movie. Take it up in my comment section, but don’t think for a minute that I’ll be giving it another chance, any time soon). I’m careful in the selection process, so I don’t have to agonize over whether to jump ship later.
I logged on to Goodreads because I’m very committed to writing my own book reviews. If I rely on other readers, maybe someone relies on me. I’ve buried my nose in reading over the past few months, trying to hit my target of 25 books for 2020, but hadn’t written any reviews yet. I make lots of notes on my kindle, as I read, which helps later. I go back and read my notes, and that helps me plug back into what resonated for me, in any book I’ve read. I make my highlights/comments public as soon as I write a review. As I caught up on writing reviews, I realized that this might be a reasonable way to ease back into blogging. I can share my reviews here, and add some back ground and other thoughts. Win-win.
I miss blogging. I miss you all. I’ve said many times, that I write to put words to thoughts, but I don’t do it in a vacuum. I like that others read my words, because I love the connection that comes from that exchange. Some of you have graciously stayed around for a long time. A decade. And I don’t take that lightly, even if it seems like I do. I know I’ve been MIA. I know I’ve said that before. I know it’s a two-way street. And I’m doing my best––at least, the best I can do, in this moment. A moment that has stretched on for much of two years.
It’s not about you, it’s all on me. I haven’t stuck to my Friday Fictioneer stories; something I love. I’ve come back and written posts, and so many of you send wonderful comments and boost me up… and I drop the ball again. It’s me. I’m sorry. I really am. Because each time I see your memes and faces and names, and then read your comments, I get a charge. And I promise myself that I’ll keep it up. I’ll get back in this saddle I love. But it’s hard, and all I can do is keep trying.
I’m going to blog the hell out of these book reviews. I’m going to try harder to hold up my end of this relationship. I seriously believe that with all this physical distancing, we need the social connection more than ever. All of us. We need to hold each other up, as we combat the trauma that we are universally experiencing. Words do that for me. They connect me to others. Here are my words. Here I am, trying harder.
My first book review is Kelly Corrigan’s memoir: Glitter and Glue. Beyond the fact that I’m a sucker for titles, and I love this one, the subject matter had me from the start. Kelly Corrigan tells a poignant story of coming of age, and the mother-daughter struggle. Corrigan takes the reader back in time, when she was briefly a nanny for two Australian children, who lost their mother to cancer. As “Keely” learns to love and nurture this little girl and boy, who are grieving and lost, with their father, who has built up walls, Corrigan begins to reflect on her relationship with her own mother, who she has not had a close relationship with.
What pulled me in and under and down into my own injured places, and my own hopes and wishes, were Corrigan’s countless beautiful observations. Her words are so eloquent and powerful. I highlighted so many lines and passages, and would have highlighted more, but I was too absorbed and swept me away by the words. Beautiful writing! Having spent an extended time in Australia at the same age, her story really resonated with me, on so many levels. I laughed, and I cried often, for the intersections in my own life. I think there are so many universal themes here, woven into a wonderful coming of age story––with leaving home, falling in love, loss, and self awareness that we all some day experience.
I believe mothers and daughters inevitably “struggle––” even if they are close. As the mother of one daughter and two sons, it’s always struck me that the relationship I’ve built, and continue to work on, with my daughter, is so very different than what I’ve built with each of my “boys.” It’s not just the obvious gender roles–– boys become men, and women (mothers) and men often fall into the spots that women and men have always juggled. Each of my sons is unique, and my relationship with each of them is very different. Raising a daughter is immeasurably different.
I was fortunate to enjoy a relatively close, and loving relationship with my daughter, from early childhood through mid-college. And then we shifted. We drifted for a variety of reasons, which I’ve written about in my blog, but it was painful and challenging for both of us. Glitter and Glue beautifully, and honestly, delves into the many ways that we as women–– who are mothers and daughters––don’t alway “see” each other. We use filters of our own creations, or created via the scarring that so many of us have, often preventing mothers and daughters from valuing each others’ strengths, insights, and challenges, until our mothers are gone.
Corrigan’s story examines this relationship as she tells the story of her own leaving home journey: feeling independent for the first time, living in a foreign place, caring for young children, all bring Corrigan around to looking at her own mother’s role in her life. And it’s Corrigan’s sensitive examination of her relationship with her mother, that really touched me most deeply, reading this book. Over and over, I paused. I re-read the words. I highlighted them, and digested them. I thought about my own mother, and then my daughter. I loved this book for its beauty, vulnerability, humor and so many truths. Glitter and Glue gets to the heart of so many things, that it was a moving escape from the crazy that was setting in, as we all went into isolation. What a time to dive deep!
Check out my Goodreads review to read the highlights, and the gorgeous words Corrigan put out there.
Now it’s your turn. Have you read this book, too? Share your words in the comments. Tell me what you think… about mother-daughter relationships, isolation, reading, your favorite ice-cream. I’m all about ice-cream these days, but that is another post.
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