Monday, May 30, 2016

The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son On Life, Love, and Loss

Title: The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son On Life, Love, and Loss
Author: Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt
Published: April 5th 2016 by Harper
Format: Hardcover, 304 pages
Genre: Memoir

Each time I picked up this book I came away with a different feeling. At times I was hopelessly sad for the little girl that was in the middle of a grown up war then only to find myself mad at her for her extreme naiveté. Slowly I found myself at a middle ground. It was not asked of me to judge or to accept, but to learn and that is what I feel that I took away from this book.

It was not until the part of the book where both mother and son could bond over their shared experiences of being fatherless children. Gloria’s father dying when she was less than two years old and Anderson’s when he was only a boy burgeoning on his teen years. How this one shared hole formed their complete lives. When a child loses a father, they also lose safety. They each chose different paths with this lose, but it was a mutual ground for them both. That is a large concept to grasp, but yet they both did with differing outcomes and emerging with a joint understanding and accepting bond.

The Rainbow Comes and Goes is a book about fear. I know that sounds strange but fear is a continuing theme throughout the book. Fear of a parent, of being alone or not being good enough. A fear of the unknown and of judgements. A fear that genetically you were bound to become your parent and that somehow you were responsible for their choices. This is a great deal for any child to be emotionally responsible for and it was surprising how the fears of a mother can be revisited upon their child.

There were many things within this book that I did not know and with each page something new would jump out at me. This is not a quick read, at various times, I found myself on the computer either looking up people or dates or even looking at the art that Gloria created and getting lost in a different world.

By the end, I enjoyed the comforting place that Gloria and Anderson found themselves in. They discussed people, marriages, children, death and parental roles. They had the conversations that parents and children should have but do not. Wounds were opened and exposed to sunshine that in turn allowed them to heal without the layers of scar tissue that they continued to carrying with them.

I still believe that the rich are different and because of that, Gloria still seems to be living in a fantasy world. This may be a world that she had to create just so she can get out of bed in the morning, but still it is a fantasy. As I said, I am not going to condemn a woman who has lived a life that was rockier than most and I applaud Anderson for starting this conversation with his mother on her ninety-first birthday. By the end, they both seemed more at peace and it is a place that they both needed to be.

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