Well, I may be using the word wrong. I've never actually seen any of the Superman movies or read the comics (although I do own the soundtrack from the TV show Smallville). What I mean is, I'll get sucked into almost any book if it offers short chapters, even if I'm not enjoying the book or the subject matter that much. Because I seem to be powerless against them, short chapters are my kryptonite.
The Short Chapter Lure most recently got me to page 136 of Kelly Corrigan's latest memoir, Glitter and Glue. Corrigan is the author of the memoir The Middle Place, which was a rather surprise big bestseller. I never got around to reading that one, so when I saw this new memoir by Corrigan, I thought I'd give her a try. In The Middle Place, she laid bare her own struggle against cancer and her relationship with her father; in this book, she writes about her time working as a nanny in an Australian family with two children (in a household where the children's mother had recently died from cancer) and how her experiences there made her re-evaluate her (often contentious) relationship with her own mother.
In retrospect, I should have known this wasn't going to be a book for me when I read this: "That schedule left all unpleasant tasks to my mom, who liked to point out, Your father's the glitter but I'm the glue." (p. 47.) Now, I understand all the unpleasant tasks being left to Mom. But saying things like "your father's the glitter but I'm the glue"? Yeah, no. In the 100+ pages I read, I did get the picture that Mom Corrigan was a formidable and surprisingly funny woman and mother, but I just can't imagine any of the mothers I know saying anything like that.* But: as previously noted? Short chapters. So even when the book wasn't setting me on fire I just kept on going, really feeling like I was getting somewhere, because every 3-5 pages I got a new chapter.
It's not a bad memoir. Corrigan's a serviceable writer and keeps the story going nicely, and her story is not without insights, like: "But now I see there's no such thing as a woman, one woman. There are dozens inside every one of them. I probably should've figured this out sooner, but what child can see the women inside her mom, what with all that Motherness blocking out everything else?" (p. 88.)
But somewhere in the middle I thought, am I only reading this because I feel like I'm flying through its short chapters? Am I really enjoying it? And the answers to those questions were "yes" and "no," so I'm going to read the last ten pages or so for closure and then take it back to the library.
Have a happy weekend, all.
*In my family we're more apt to say less poetic and more pragmatic things, like "Thank God spring is here so I can get that man into the garden and out of the house."