Every child is closer to one parent, and Kelly Corrigan is definitely her father's daughter. He's the fun one, while Kelly's mother, Mary, is all rules and no-nonsense. (A few years back our library book group read Corrigan's cancer memoir, The Middle Place, which deals a lot with her relationship with her father, Greenie.)
When Kelly and a friend decide to wander internationally and seek adventure after college, Mary is unhappy to say the least. Yet mom is the one person who never fails to send Kelly the mail and news from home she craves. And Kelly is amazed to realize it's her mother's wisdom she hears in her head guiding her choices when she takes a nanny job with an Australian family shattered and rebuilding after the mother's death.
While most of this book happens half a world away from home and separated from her family, it's at its heart a book about Kelly's relationship with her mother and the lessons Kelly absorbed even when she didn't know she was listening. Many women find a new appreciation for their mothers when they become mothers themselves; Kelly is lucky to have begin that shift earlier in life thanks to the Tanners.
It's an excellent book, engaging and incredibly touching as Kelly comes to recognize and appreciate all that her mother is and does. The title comes from her mom's description of her marriage and parenting: "Your father may be the glitter but I'm the glue."