Author Kelly Corrigan on Glitter and Glue Part 2: Writing Motherhood, Needing Guess Jeans, and the Strictest Mom in Radnor Township


This is Part 2 of our conversation with Kelly Corrigan. You can watch Part 1 here.

In part 2 of our conversation with Kelly Corrigan about her new book Glitter and Glue, the author talked about the challenge of writing memoir, and the power of specificity to connect.

“I think that that specificity and particularities are the most interesting part of any story—and I kept thinking about that with my mom,” Corrigan said. “[Glitter and Glue] is a very sharp portrait of her, and yet, I think that in the specifics, are the universal. That’s where that moment happens, where [the reader says], ‘Oh, you’ve said it better than I could. I know the same woman. She’s my mother.’ But if you don’t go far enough, then it feels vague and you don’t get as attached to it.”

As an example, Corrigan describes a detailed story originally told in The Middle Place of desperately wanting a pair of Guess jeans. Mrs. Corrigan, whom Kelly calls “the strictest mom in Radnor Township”, refused to front the money for the jeans—far too frivolous a purchase.

“Everyone has that story,” Corrigan said. “It may not have been Guess jeans, and it wasn’t $52, they didn’t go to get a job at the mall to pay for it themselves, they didn’t say it the same way, but everyone has a moment of begging and feeling that their life will truly be ruined if they cannot get said object.”

And therein lies the attraction so many people have to Corrigan’s books, magazine posts, or video essays (like her viral smash, Transcending, which rocketed through the book club set when it first found its way to YouTube): Corrigan says what so many others feel—only funnier, and more poignantly.

It isn’t lost that on Corrigan that she’s found her calling capturing and summarizing the ups, downs, fears and festivity of family life for others.

“I will say that it totally thrills my soul when people come up to me and say, ‘you’ve said it better than I could. You did it. You just put words on something that happens to me all the time.’

Glitter and Glue is available now from Ballantine Books. For more Kelly Corrigan, watch Part 1 of our interview below, or watch the full feature here.

Related Videos

Author Kelly Corrigan on Glitter and Glue, Part 1: Understanding Mom

Kelly Corrigan and Mary Corrigan: You Never Stop Being a Mom


Recorded at Book Expo America, New York, 2013.
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