By Elle Lamboy, ACAC Marketing Committee Member
There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get after you read a good book cover to cover.
A feeling that I’ve missed since my son Brooks was born and he introduced me to the wonderful world of motherhood. Suddenly, he gets any and all feelings I can handle.
Thankfully, my membership in the Adams County Arts Council re-invigorated my love of reading by introducing me to Kelly Corrigan’s new memoir, Glitter & Glue (coming to the ACAC this Friday! Click here for details!)
On a recent road trip to New Jersey, with Brooks snoozing in the back seat, I made my husband’s day by saying, “Sorry, babe, I won’t be too chatty this car ride. I’m going to read Glitter & Glue.”
As he feigned disappointment he replied, “Good for you…I haven’t seen you read a book since The Hunger Games.”
I read The Hunger Games series in 2011.
As I finished the last page of Glitter & Glue on our return trip home and closed the cover with a great sense of accomplishment I looked at my husband, with tears in my eyes, and said, “That book made me want to laugh, cry, and call my mom all at the same time.”
“Sounds quite different from The Hunger Games,” he said.
At first, I agreed with him. But, the more I thought about it; there are actually several similarities between Katniss Everdeen, the protagonist in The Hunger Games, and Kelly Corrigan of Glitter & Glue.
They Are Both Anti-Establishment
In The Hunger Games novels, Katniss bands together with fellow revolutionists to rebel against the Capitol’s corruption.
In Glitter & Glue, Kelly is fighting to get out from under her mother’s roof stating, “Things happen when you leave the house.”
While Kelly’s mother longed for her to, “…walk out the door and go to an office, like everyone else,” Kelly had other plans. She craved “life experience” and the only way for her to obtain that was to hop on a plane with her best girlfriend and head to Australia.
They Are Both Unlikely Caretakers
At the start of The Hunger Games Katniss is running around the woods with her best friend, Gale, shooting her bow and arrow and hating everything conventional. Yet, when her sister is in danger of heading to the Hunger Games, she sacrifices herself and fights in her place. She steps into the role of caretaker again with Rue and Peta.
Kelly may have gone to Australia to break free from work and obligations but she ironically ends up landing the most stressful, heavy, rewarding, and laborious job in the world—childcare. Being a nanny to young kids is challenging in a “normal” family situation. But, Kelly cares for two children who lost their mother to cancer. They not only need someone to take them to school, cook them dinner, and go to the park, but also someone to make them feel whole again. It seems like an impossible order for someone like Kelly. But she goes from considering herself a “weird new appendage hanging off the sagging mobile that is the Tanner family” to “feeling so much” for Milly and Martin Tanner.
They Are Both Survivors
Katniss is the epitome of a survivalist. She keeps her family and community afloat while living in District 12 and comes out as victor in the Hunger Games.
Kelly is a modern day survivalist. She manages to survive and thrive as nanny and surrogate mother for the Tanner family. Later in the book, she’s a successful author and mother of two. She has a loving marriage. She is a caring and present daughter. She’s a philanthropist. She’s an inspiration.
Sure, reading about Katniss fighting for her life and the lives of everyone in the other districts was exciting. But, as a new mom, there was nothing more inspirational or hopeful than the end of Kelly’s book. When she realizes that even after all her exciting trips around the world, exhilarating book tours, and a high-powered career, the greatest adventure of all is daily survival alongside her family.
They Both Gain An Appreciation For Their Mothers
Katniss starts out resenting her mother, but develops a new admiration for her when she sees her caring for other warriors and, later, for herself.
Kelly goes through a similar transformation throughout Glitter and Glue. When she first leaves for Australia she can’t wait to get away from her mother. But, as she finds herself in the “mom” role with the Tanner family, she begins to listen to her mother’s voice in her head instead of mocking it.
Before Kelly left for her trip she preached that there is no “poetry” in words of complacency like, “ground-beef special, informational interview, staff development.” Yet Kelly finds herself miles away from home, gaining her “life experience” by emulating her mother, “…stockpiling hamburger meat, sorting through hair dyes, demanding eye contact, staring down the occasional adversary.” But, she’s not resentful, or ashamed. In fact, she “ find[s] the likeness kind of exhilarating.”
Unlike Katniss’ journey, Kelly’s adventure rang very close to home for me. As a new mom, I find myself appreciating my mother, and moms everywhere, in a very different way. And while I tended to fight my mom’s voice ringing inside my head when I first moved out on my own, I find myself searching for it now and, like Kelly, smile when I do something my mom did or yell something she screamed at me over and over again.
But, I must say, some nights as I’m trying to get dinner on the table after my 9 to 5 with two hungry boys yelling my name, life is also a bit like The Hunger Games.