Kelly Corrigan’s new memoir, Glitter and Glue, about the relationship between mothers and daughters is the sort of book that just seems made for discussing. Here, she talks with us about the themes she hopes readers will take away from her book.

Fresh out of college, Corrigan unexpectedly found herself nannying for a bereaved Australian family. Even more unexpected was the way her mother’s voice kept coming back to her as she worked with the children of that family. And she’s found that that voice keeps coming back to her as she’s mothered her own children. Borne from those life experiences comes Glitter and Glue, a reflection on motherhood, daughter-hood and the women who are our mothers.

As women, we share the experience of being our mothers’ daughters, which makes a book on this topic just right for reading in community. Whether passed between a mother-daughter pair or discussed among a women’s book club, you may find that this memoir provokes insightful conversation and a deeper appreciation of who your own mother is. Read on for five questions that may come up as you digest Corrigan’s memoir.

Just Who Is My Mother? 

Corrigan anticipates that women who read her book will “talk about who their mother is besides just their mother.” Her wish is that readers will discover the fullness of who she is as a person, rather than just being mom. She elaborates, “What parts of their personality would they be stunned to learn? I was stunned to learn that my mother was so funny.”

How Can I Continue to Get to Know Her? 

If we make it our goal to dig into who our mothers are, we’ll continually learn more. Corrigan shares in regard to her own experience with this, “Every day that I am mothering my children, I have more insight into her and more appreciation for her fortitude and stamina. I could almost write another new book about her.”

Do I Accept My Mother As She Is? 

Acceptance of her mother as she is became a major theme of this book for Corrigan. She describes that sort of acceptance as “the moment you stop trying to change someone, not because you’ve given up, but because you realize the way they’re navigating the world is just fine. There’s nothing wrong with my mother. She’s just different from me, and that’s fine.”

What Can I Learn From My Mother’s Parenting? 

Corrigan herself is a mother of two daughters, ages 10 and 12. She says, “One of the things that I noticed looking back was that my mother was not concerned at all with popularity within the home. And I realized that I am. That’s probably a mistake. If I’m going to get them through childhood and teenagerhood safely, I’m not going to be beloved by them.”

How Do Our Experiences Differ From One Another, and How Can We Appreciate Those Differences?

Although being a mother and being a daughter are both such common experiences among women, our individual experiences are not the same. These differences may come out as you read through and discuss this memoir together. For example, Corrigan mentions the differences between mothering girls and boys. “I spent many years assuming all mothers could relate to all other mothers. My best friend has three boys. We compare notes all the time. There are whole categories where we cannot relate to the other. I do think it’s very, very different.”

Forsake not the law of your mother. —Proverbs 6:20

Our mothers’ influence sticks with us for all of our lives. It shapes who we are as daughters, as mothers and as members of society. In her most recent memoir, with poignancy and insight, Corrigan reflects on the profound relationship between moms and their girls.

Glitter and Glue by Kelly Corrigan is available from Ballantine Books. Currently available as an e-book or hardcover, the paperback version will be released in the fall of 2014.

With whom will you be sharing Glitter and Glue?

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