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

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

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

4/5 (22 avaliações)
248 página
4 horas
Lançado em:
Jan 31, 2017


#1 New York Times Bestseller

A touching and intimate correspondence between Anderson Cooper and his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, offering timeless wisdom and a revealing glimpse into their lives

The Rainbow Comes and Goes is a charming, intimate and fascinating collection of correspondence between broadcaster and #1 New York Times bestselling author Anderson Cooper and his mother, the celebrated Gloria Vanderbilt.

Anderson Cooper’s intensely busy career as a journalist for CNN and CBS’ 60 Minutes affords him little time to spend with his ninety-one year old mother. After she briefly fell ill, he and Gloria began a conversation through e-mail unlike any they had ever had before —a correspondence of surprising honesty and depth in which they discussed their lives, the things that matter to them and what they still want to learn about each other.

Both a son’s love letter to his mother in her final years and an unconventional mother’s life lessons for her grown son, The Rainbow Comes and Goes offers a rare window into their close relationship and fascinating lives. In these often hilarious and touching exchanges, they share their most private thoughts and the hard-earned truths they’ve learned along the way. Throughout, their distinctive personalities shine through—Anderson’s darker outlook on the world is a brilliant contrast to his mother’s idealism and unwavering optimism.

An appealing blend of memoir and inspirational advice, The Rainbow Comes and Goes is a beautiful and affectionate celebration of the profound and universal bond between a parent and child, and, like Tuesdays with Morrie, a thoughtful reflection on life and love, reminding us of the precious knowledge and insight that remains to be shared, no matter what age we are.

Lançado em:
Jan 31, 2017

Sobre o autor

Anderson Cooper is the anchor of Anderson Cooper 360° on CNN and a correspondent for CBS’s 60 Minutes. He has won numerous journalism awards and nine Emmys, and his first book, Dispatches from the Edge, was a number one New York Times bestseller. He lives in New York City.

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The Rainbow Comes and Goes - Anderson Cooper

Photo by George Hoyningen-Huene, courtesy of R. J. Horst/Staley Wise Gallery.











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My mother comes from a vanished world, a place and a time that no longer exist. I have always thought of her as a visitor stranded here; an emissary from a distant star that burned out long ago.

Her name is Gloria Vanderbilt. When I was younger I used to try to hide that fact, not because I was ashamed of her—far from it—but because I wanted people to get to know me before they learned that I was her son.

Vanderbilt is a big name to carry, and I’ve always been glad I didn’t have to. I like being a Cooper. It’s less cumbersome, less likely to produce an awkward pause in the conversation when I’m introduced. Let’s face it, the name Vanderbilt has history, baggage. Even if you don’t know the details of my mom’s extraordinary story, her name comes with a whole set of expectations and assumptions about what she must be like. The reality of her life, however, is not what you’d imagine.

Photo by Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt.

My mom has been famous for longer than just about anyone else alive today. Her birth made headlines, and for better or worse, she’s been in the public eye ever since. Her successes and failures have played out on a very brightly lit stage, and she has lived many different lives; she has been an actress, an artist, a designer, and a writer; she’s made fortunes, lost them, and made them back again. She has survived abuse, the loss of her parents, the death of a spouse, the suicide of a son, and countless other traumas and betrayals that might have defeated someone without her relentless determination.

Though she is a survivor, she has none of the toughness that word usually carries with it. She is the strongest person I know, but tough, she is not. She has never allowed herself to develop a protective layer of thick skin. She’s chosen to remain vulnerable, open to new experiences and possibilities, and because of that, she is the most youthful person I know.

My mom is now ninety-two, but she has never looked her age and she has rarely felt it, either. People often say about someone that age, She’s as sharp as ever, but my mom is actually sharper than ever. She sees her past in perspective.The little things that once seemed important to her no longer are. She has clarity about her life that I am only beginning to have about mine.

At the beginning of 2015, several weeks before her ninety-first birthday, my mother developed a respiratory infection she couldn’t get rid of, and she became seriously ill for the first time in her life. She didn’t tell me how bad she felt, but as I was boarding a plane to cover a story overseas, I called her to let her know I was leaving, waiting until the last minute as usual because I never want her to worry. When she picked up the phone, immediately I knew something was wrong. Her breath was short, and she could barely speak.

I wish I could tell you I canceled my trip and rushed to her side, but I didn’t. I’m not sure if the idea she could be very ill even occurred to me; or perhaps it did, acting on it would have been just too inconvenient and I didn’t want to think about it. I was heading off on an assignment, and my team was already in the air. It was too late to back out.

Shortly after I left, she was rushed to the hospital, though I didn’t find this out until I had returned, and by then she was already back home.

For months afterward she was plagued with asthma and a continued respiratory infection. At times she was unsteady on her feet. The loss of agility was difficult for her, and there were many days when she didn’t get out of bed. Several of her close friends had recently died, and she was feeling her age for the first time.

I’d like to have several more years left, she told me. There are still things I’d like to create, and I’m very curious to see how it all turns out. What’s going to happen next?

As her ninety-first birthday neared, I began to think about our relationship: the way it was when I was a child and how it was now. I started to wonder if we were as close as we could be.

The deaths of my father and brother had left us alone with each other, and we navigated the losses as best we could, each in our own way. My father died in 1978, when I was ten; and my brother, Carter, killed himself in 1988, when I was twenty-one, so my mom is the last person left from my immediate family, the last person alive who was close to me when I was a child.

We have never had what would be described as a conventional relationship. My mom wasn’t the kind of parent you would go to for practical advice about school or work. What she does know about are hard-earned truths, the kind of things you discover only by living an epic life filled with love and loss, tragedies and triumphs, big dreams and deep heartaches.

When I was growing up, though, my mom rarely talked about her life. Her past was always something of a mystery. Her parents and grandparents died before I was born, and I knew little about the tumultuous events of her childhood, or of the years before she met my father, the events that shaped the person she had become. Even as an adult, I found there was still much I didn’t know about her—experiences she’d had, lessons she’d learned that she hadn’t passed on. In many cases, it was because I hadn’t asked. There was also much she didn’t know about me. When we’re young we all waste so much time being reserved or embarrassed with our parents, resenting them or wishing they and we were entirely different people.

This changes when we become adults, but we don’t often explore new ways of talking and conversing, and we put off discussing complex issues or raising difficult questions. We think we’ll do it one day, in the future, but life gets in the way, and then it’s too late.

I didn’t want there to be anything left unsaid between my mother and me, so on her ninety-first birthday I decided to start a new kind of conversation with her, a conversation about her life. Not the mundane details, but the things that really matter, her experiences that I didn’t know about or fully understand.

We started the conversation through e-mail and continued it for most of the following year. My mom had only started to use e-mail recently. At first her notes were one or two lines long, but as she became more comfortable typing, she began sending me very detailed ones. As you will see in the pages ahead, her memories are remarkably intimate and deeply personal, revealing things to me she never said face-to-face.

The first e-mail she sent me was on the morning of her birthday.

91 years ago on this day, I was born.

I recall a note from my Aunt Gertrude, received on a birthday long ago.

Just think, today you are 17 whole years old! she wrote.

Well, today—I am 91 whole years old—a hell of a lot wiser, but somewhere still 17.

What is the answer?

What is the secret?

Is there one?

That e-mail and its three questions started the conversation that ended up changing our relationship, bringing us closer than either of us had ever thought possible.

It’s the kind of conversation I think many parents and their grown children would like to have, and it has made this past year the most valuable of my life. By breaking down the walls of silence that existed between us, I have come to understand my mom and myself in ways I never imagined.

I know now that it’s never too late to change the relationship you have with someone important in your life: a parent, a child, a lover, a friend. All it takes is a willingness to be honest and to shed your old skin, to let go of the long-standing assumptions and slights you still cling to.

I hope what follows will encourage you to think about your own relationships and perhaps help you start a new kind of conversation with someone you love.

After all, if not now, when?


A flashback this morning when I woke up: it’s my seventeenth birthday and I’m striding along Madison Avenue, hastening to meet my boyfriend.

I knew the excitement, the anticipation that girl felt, and in knowing, I became, for an instant, seventeen once again.

But I am not seventeen. I am ninety-one.

No longer can I stride or hasten. I was unaware that if I lived long enough, there would come a time when this would be impossible. When I was seventeen this never crossed my mind; nor did it as the years passed and I got older. I was aware that old age happened, but to other people, not to me. Perhaps it’s because, as a child, I did not have parents and siblings as most people do, and I didn’t experience the circling spans of life and death.

My first reaction upon reaching ninety-one is surprise. How did it happen so quickly? Am I ready for it?

If I am ninety-one, it means my time on this earth is racing to the finish line. Will I have the power to complete the race with a badge of courage, leaving those I love with a memory of me that will sustain them and give them strength when I am gone?

Until I fell ill with influenza and asthma this year, I believed my best years were ahead. I’d been blessed with superb health all my life, so it was a shock to find myself suddenly on a stretcher in an ambulance, the sirens leading me to New York Hospital, where your father, Wyatt Cooper, was taken by ambulance thirty-seven years ago, the hospital where he died.

Asthma is a terrifying experience, like having a tourniquet strangling your throat. You choke, gasp for air, wonder, "Is this it? Is this how I will die? Please, God, or whoever you are—not yet." It is a cliché, but a true one, and I understand it only now: Health is your most treasured gift. As long as you have it, you are independent, master of yourself. Illness grabs the soul. You plunge in and out of hope, fearing you will never recover. All that I have been, all that I am, all that I might become no longer exist. I am alone. Nothing can distract from the truth of this finality.

How can my body betray me when there is so much still to be done? You see, it isn’t age itself that betrays you; it is your body, and with its deterioration goes your power. You end up obsessed, entirely focused on your health, paying attention to every nuance, every ache and pain. Instead of working or living your life, you waste your time on appointments with doctors.

Do you know the poem by Algernon Charles Swinburne?

From too much love of living,

From hope and fear set free,

We thank with brief thanksgiving

Whatever Gods may be

That no life lives for ever;

That dead men rise up never;

That even the weariest river

Winds somewhere safe to sea.

It is no mystery where time is leading us. No secret the road we are on. Hand in hand, or fist to fist, we move forward at a snail’s pace, relentlessly bent in one direction, toward the same end.


The word leaves a smear across the page as I write it in my journal. There is no denial, no wriggling out of it. The more I try to erase it, the deeper it grinds into a smudge of black blood. There is no other truth to depend on, no other certainty. It is as inevitable as birth. Death is the price we pay for being born.

How we die is another matter. If terminally ill, we have the choice to take our own life. Secretly somewhere inside me lies the notion that I will slip away quietly in my sleep.

There is also the vague, crazy fantasy or hope that it simply is not going to happen to me. Perhaps I inherited this indomitable optimism from my mother’s mother, Laura Delphine Kilpatrick Morgan, whom I called Naney. She stipulated in her will that two nuns sit by her open coffin in rotating shifts for the four days leading up to her burial, to ensure that her eyes did not suddenly open and that she was actually dead.

Ready or not, I know that someday there really will be no more you, no more me. And when it happens, we will be hurled into infinity with no chance of return.

But don’t worry. I am on the mend. Last night I dreamt I jumped over that dwarf planet Pluto, trillions of miles away, the one they have sent a spacecraft to get pictures of for the first time. It was a cinch.

Your Naney Morgan had nuns sit by her coffin for four days to make sure she really was dead? I didn’t realize you could get nuns to do that.

I can’t imagine what it’s like to be ninety-one. I’m still adjusting to the idea of turning forty-eight, which I will in a few months. I haven’t told you this before, but I’ve always assumed I would die at fifty because that is how old Daddy was when he died.

My doctor has assured me repeatedly I will live well past that, but I don’t entirely believe him. The benefit of thinking you will die at fifty is that it can spur you to accomplish a lot of things at a young age, which is what I have attempted to do, but now the prospect of living longer makes me uncertain about the plans I’ve made.

Clearly, I have not inherited your Naney Morgan’s spirit of optimism. I know that, as a child, you were very close to her, but other than that I don’t really know anything about her.

I’ve always wondered why, when we were growing up, you didn’t talk about your past. By the time I was six or seven, Carter and I knew all about Daddy’s childhood on a farm in Quitman, Mississippi. He frequently recounted stories about his brothers and sisters and their large extended family. He told us about his troubled relationship with his father and his deep connection to the place where he was born, but you never mentioned your family. Did you just find it too difficult to bring up?

It never ever occurred to me to talk to you or Carter about my childhood. My life had been scrambled, so filled with strange events and surreal subplots, that to try to lay them out would have been like combining Franz Kafka’s The Trial with Thornton Wilder’s Our Town.

Also, your father didn’t have just anecdotes to tell you about his childhood—he was a great photographer and had hundreds of pictures to illustrate whom and what he was talking about. The people in these photographs gazed into the camera, free of makeup and artifice. I couldn’t help but wonder what they would think of me if they had any idea of the chaos I had come from.

Of course, I spoke to your father about what happened to me, but trying to explain my feelings exhausted me, and all that emerged was a brief encapsulation, nothing that got to the heart of the matter.

If it was too complicated to lay it out for the man I loved, how could I even begin to translate it for my children?

I had never had the experience of talking about my thoughts and feelings. When I was a child, adults really didn’t communicate very much with children. I needed time to sort out what had happened, to understand the motivations of others that I had not been aware of as a child.

The first time I went to a psychiatrist, I was about twenty-seven. I sat down in his office, and said, I’m here, but there’s one thing I don’t want to talk about: my mother.

Well, that was ridiculous of course; it was exactly what I did want to talk about, as I was still fearful of my mother in many ways. It is one of the blessings of age that the fear is now gone.

I later had an extraordinary experience with a different therapist. In 1960, LSD was being heralded as a possibly miraculous new way for some patients to delve into unexplored areas of the subconscious. My therapist asked if I wanted to try it under his supervision, and I eagerly said yes.

Even today, I can recall everything that happened in that one session as if it were a few hours ago.

I saw myself as an infant in 1925, in my crib at my father’s house in Newport, while he lay in the next room dying. I heard footsteps running through the hallways, doors opening and closing, voices signaling to each other. It was night, and I knew something terrible was happening. I could stop it, I believed, if only I could get out of my crib and go to my father, but I lay on my back in the darkness, fists clenched, unable to do anything.

Suddenly the noises stopped. The door to my room opened. Sharp against the light from the hall was the shadow of my beloved governess, Dodo, and my father’s mother, my Grandmother Vanderbilt. They drew close together as they stood whispering to each other in the silence. Screaming, I pulled myself up against the bars of the crib, still believing that if I could get to my father I

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O que as pessoas pensam sobre The Rainbow Comes and Goes

22 avaliações / 26 Análises
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Avaliações de leitores

  • (4/5)
    With the death of Gloria Vanderbilt earlier this year, I couldn't resist the audible edition of this book that is narrated by the authors. Gloria Vanderbilt lived her life in tabloid headlines from the lurid fight for her custody when she was ten years old to her marriage to a two-bit Hollywood gangster and then to Leopold Stokowski who was over 40 years older than she was. She finally found happiness in her fourth marriage to Wyatt Cooper, (Anderson Cooper's father), only to lose him at age 50 to heart disease. She then had a third act with her line of designer jeans followed by a final tragedy when her eldest son committed suicide at age 23.Listening to Ms. Vanderbilt describe all this in her own voice is mesmerizing. She looked at her life clear-eyed and without excuses, and her son Anderson clearly adored her. It was a pleasure to listen to the two of them examine their relationship, their joys and their fears and declare their importance to each other. Everyone should be so lucky to have this kind of honesty with a parent.
  • (3/5)
    Before reading this book, I knew who Anderson Cooper was, but have never seen him on television. I read this book because my book club chose it. It was certainly an interesting read as Mr. Cooper's mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, has had a life full of dysfunctional relatives and friendships with many famous people. What I liked about the book was that it dealt with Mr. Cooper and Ms. Vanderbilt as real people, and not as the celebrities they are. It's obvious he is the reporter in the family: there is much, much more about his mother than he discloses about himself. I can't decide if the book is really an honest conversation between a mother and son, or whether they embarked on a year-long correspondence with a view to publishing the results. It does seem a bit contrived at times.
  • (2/5)
    I usually try to find something good about a book, even if, after spending time reading it, I still cannot find a lot to say .Therefore, in saying little about this book, it reinforces that I don't like it.Usually, I am kind, but in saying that I don't find a lot of redeeming value, this also indicates how I feel.I like autobiographies and biographies. Before joining Librarything.com, it was my genre of choice. So, in saying that this book seemed to be incredibly self centered and boring, I remain thinking that I cannot recommend this.
  • (3/5)
    A year long conversation between Anderson Cooper and his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt. I found it confusing with the family history. I appreciated the different type for mother and for son. Would like t have heard more from Cooper about his growing up.
  • (2/5)
    Ugh!! Remind me not to ever again read any celebrity memoirs! This was recommended (not enthusiastically, but nevertheless recommended) as a touching conversation between a mother and son. Gloria Vanderbilt is approaching her 90's when she and her son Anderson Cooper commence a series of email conversations touching on the "big" issues of life, love and loss.For the most part the book focuses on Gloria's life, a lot of it her really early life as "the poor little rich girl," who was the subject of a sensational custody trial in the 1930's. Her teen years and her early 20's as the lover of Howard Hughes and various Hollywood stars is also covered in detail. There is very little about Anderson's life, and some of the material his mother reveals is new to him. For the most part I found the book superficial and artificial.I was a little creeped out by a mom discussing her sex life with her son (prude--I know). While I think Gloria means to convey that she was insecure, and is just a "regular" person, but with a very sunny outlook on life, somehow, for me, she never overcame the persona of a spoiled, entitled rich person.I just don't need to read any more of these celebrity tell-alls in the time I have left of my reading life.2 stars
  • (3/5)
    I knew little about Gloria Vanderbilt except for the poor little rich girl trial and her jeans. Kudos to Anderson for giving her a platform to talk about her life, unfortunately, that life doesn't do much for me. You've heard the saying "the personal is political?" Well, her personal is personal. In the book she writes several letters to loved ones and they are full of platitudes. Love and family are the most important things in life, etc, etc. She's still, at the age of 91, looking for a man to love her and whom she can love, yet once the romance dies, she seems unable to sustain loyalty. She'd leave one husband to marry another as soon as the divorce was final. Dodo, the most important person in her life for many years, her substitute mother, was left without a second thought when yet a new romance came into her life. Then as Dodo lay dying she destroyed the letter that probably asked for her to visit because she was scared? guilty? She is brave to expose her faults, but did it ever occur to her that there is life outside her superficial fairy tales?
  • (5/5)
    In this unusual dual memoir, Anderson Cooper and his mother Gloria Vanderbilt share a series of emails they wrote back and forth to one another over the course of a year. The "project" began after Vanderbilt suffered a bout of illness in her 90s and Cooper thought it was high time that he learned all he wanted to know about his mother, especially things about her early life. This book was recommended to me by a co-worker, but I honestly wasn't that hyped to jump on the bandwagon. But I was looking for a next audiobook to read, and I saw this while browsing and decided it would be good to finally follow up on that recommendation. I was blown away by how interested I was in this book. I knew little about Vanderbilt's celebrated life beyond that she was born into an enormously wealthy family and that she designed jeans. The story of her tumultuous upbringing, including the infamous child custody case in which her mother and her aunt fought over her, were new to me and heartbreaking. Her teen-aged and adult years flitting around from marriage to marriage and hobnobbing at one celebrity outing or another were interesting to hear about, although also unsettling in their own way. Further misfortune plagued her when her husband Wyatt Cooper died at a young age and her son Carter Cooper committed suicide. But throughout it all, she remains ever hopeful about the future, despite being plagued by insecurities, fears, and doubts.Cooper for his part mostly asks questions of his mother; his reporter's tenacity digs deeper into certain topics to find out more or get to the root of a story. He also provides some context for the reader regarding some of his mother's comments, filling in blanks about her family history with a "just the facts" type approach. But he also discusses his own thoughts and feelings about growing up as Vanderbilt's son, regrets about his brother's suicide, and grief over his father's death when he himself was only aged 10.Listening to the audiobook for this book was a particular treat. Both authors read their parts aloud, so that a clear and distinct voice separates each section. Cooper's voice is not exactly monotone but he reads in that sort of bland, affect-less news anchor's voice. An entire book in this fashion might have been too much, but being as he alternates with his mother, it works out okay. On the other hand, Vanderbilt pours so much emotion into her reading! Even when speaking about events that happened 80 years ago, her voice trembles at sad points and leaps for joy when discussing moments of elation. It was such a moving reading that you can't help but be riveted.
  • (4/5)
    This was an interesting look at the life of an interesting woman, Gloria Vanderbilt. Her son, Anderson Cooper, convinced his mother to write down some of her recollections of her long life (she was 91 at the time) as responses to questions he asked her, mostly by email. From her early life Gloria was the subject of news reports and gossip and she talks quite candidly about her life. The two of them narrate this audiobook.
  • (3/5)
    Until I saw this item on the "new books" shelf, I didn't even realize Gloria Vanderbilt was Anderson Cooper's mother. I thought this would be a great read, giving history of Gloria and Anderson's lives together. It's always nice, too, to hear the author(s) reading their own work. I was a bit disappointed, though, in how much this profiled Gloria's childhood and really didn't spend much time on her life with Anderson. I mean, they touched on it, but this was, largely, an autobiography of/by Gloria Vanderbilt, with a little Anderson Cooper thrown in. It was interesting, but it wasn't quite what I was looking for.
  • (4/5)
    This isn’t a book I would usually pick up to read, but one of my clients told me she also thought she wouldn’t like it until she read it and loved it. So cautiously I started reading it in-between chapters of another book, and I finally put the other book down because The Rainbow Comes and Goes captured my heart. First of all it’s not just a book about two celebrities giving us a look at how the other-side lives; it’s an intimate conversation between a mother and son about how it felt growing up after their fathers died. How they dealt with loss and grief, and how they craved love from mothers who didn’t know how to help them. As I read it I could relate to their universal story of childhood loss, and I read parts to my husband, because when he was eight years old his father also died. Anderson and Gloria have given voice to two different sides of living through grief and how it shapes the child into the adult they become. I definitely recommend this book and give it 4 stars.
  • (5/5)
    The Rainbow Comes and Goes is a sensitive touching book. It is an oral history with Anderson Cooper asking questions of his mother Gloria Vanderbilt. Gloria gives much more of herself than Anderson. As in life, Anderson holds his cards to his chest and that is one of the weaknesses of the book. Gloria is admirable and amazing in. Brought up by her Aunt Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney with an endless supply of money, she yearns for her parents. Her father, Reginald Vanderbilt went down with the Titanic when Gloria was just a baby and her mother, too young, was 18 when she married Vanderbilt went of to Paris to live bringing Gloria and her devoted Nurse Dodo with her. But in fact her mother was partying around Europe and ignoring and neglecting Little Gloria. Finally there was a custody battle between her mother and Aunt Gertrude and Gertrude won and took custody of the child. Despite all this Gloria grew up to have a positive attitude and reminds us and herself that "the rainbow comes and goes".This is a book about feelings and emotions and as such it touches you the reader. I highly recommend this book.
  • (4/5)
    A beautiful love letter between a mother and a son
  • (5/5)
    I really enjoyed this conversation between Anderson and his mom - I got a few life lessons from their very candid exchange. This is a quick read that is a bit of a twist on a traditional biography in that it is told through a series of email exchanges and conversations between a mother and a son. Worth the time and great perspective on not always judging a book by its cover.
  • (3/5)
    Entertaining, informative read on the rich and famous. Who doesn't like Anderson Cooper?
  • (4/5)
    I was touched by the honest communication and obvious love this mother and son have for one another. Gloria is a strong and tenacious women who endured much as young child and her story is one of resilience, hope and love for her sons. This book should inspire all mothers and sons to embark on a year of sharing their life's story with one another.
  • (4/5)
    I will say up front that I am an Anderson Cooper fan, and I really wasn't familiar with his mother's infamous childhood. I was totally engrossed with this book. I listened to the audio version, with Cooper and his mother narrating. It was interesting on multiple levels. Themes included the mother-child relationship, the tragedies that shape a person's future, the difference in parenting styles, and life among the old world of old money. It ain't all it's cracked up to be. Excellent listen!
  • (4/5)
    What a beautifully written and powerful story. Anderson Cooper (of CNN/CBS fame, and his mother Gloria Vanderbilt who turns 92 shortly, embarked on a correspondence last year to finally open up to each other and get to know long held memories. Set as a series of emails, it is a true page-turner. Each one is honest and kind, while revealing events and emotions many would never have allowed to surface. 4 stars
  • (3/5)
    I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Gloria Vanderbilt'srecounting her story as a child, young adult, and adult made interesting reading as did Anderson Cooper's reaction to this account. This book may be the interaction of a famous mother and an equally famous son, but it is mainly an account a mother and son on Life, Love, and Loss.
  • (5/5)
    I don't follow Anderson Cooper's reporting all that often but the tales of his mother's life intrigued me so I decided to try and read the book. Boy, am I glad I did. While this is a bit about Anderson, it is mostly about Gloria Vanderbilt the "poor little rich girl" who suffered more indignities in her life than any one person should ever encounter. Most have heard that at age 10 she rejected her mother in a court of law and was placed with a Vanderbilt aunt. Even up to that tender age her life had been chaos personified. An alcoholic father who died in his 40's, a flighty mother who seemed to have no way to get close to a child, and an historic court case that resonated throughout her life.This memoir is personal, told in letters between mother and son. Gloria turns 91 when the letters begin and turns 92 at then end of the narrative. Anderson is an obviously loving son and both are still mourning the loss of Wyatt Cooper and Carter Cooper husband/father and son/brother of the pair.This story isn't about show business or big business, it isn't even about the terribly rich Vanderbilt family, it is about a child called Gloria who grew up much too soon and her son, Anderson and how the past has influenced their relationship today. Anderson knew very little about the "trial of the century" because he hadn't asked as a child and wanted to do so as an adult. It is fascinating and sad and happy and perfectly written.Highly recommended.
  • (5/5)
    Excellent 21st epistolary of emails sent between motherand son over the course of a year. The son in this case is journalist Anderson Cooper and his mother is the renowned Gloria Vanderbild.I read the Audble version narrated by each of them. It is truly a remarkable book as the reader learns how Gloria felt when she was termed by the media as the "poor little rich girl" and how both of them dealt with tragedies in their lives.Ms. Vanderbilt, approaching 92 years of age, offers wonderful lessons to live by.
  • (5/5)
    Anderson Cooper is my favorite newsman. I find his reporting to be fair and accurate combined with genuine empathy and sympathy for those stories he covers that involve loss and tragedy. After reading this book, I can see how and why he developed the traits I so admire that he exhibits in his profession. This is a wonderfully candid look at the relationship between mother and son from both sides of the equation. Ms. Vanderbilt is an icon who also happened to become the mother of another. This was a fascination read.
  • (2/5)
    Too much time spent on Gloria's mother (a Lesbian) battle for Gloria and on Gloria's many marriages & loves. Too little on Anderson (a gay Yale graduate) and his work. Gloria 91 and Anderson 48 or 49 at time of writing. Book is actually one-year's worth of emails between them. Anderson's father, Wyatt Cooper, dies when Anderson is 10. His brother, Carter, commits suicide at 22 or 23 by jumping off the 14th floor balcony of Gloria's NYC apartment. Title of book refers to the ups and downs of life.
  • (5/5)
    It was so well written. Both Anderson Cooper, and Gloria Vanderbilt are good writers. It is sincere, compelling and very insightful. Except when Anderson didn't know what the light shining through was ;)
  • (4/5)
    Cooper Anderson and his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, together tell the story of their lives by means of a years worth of correspondence. Anderson poses questions and his mother responds, revealing stories of her fascinating but bittersweet life. Both Anderson and his mother narrate the book.
  • (4/5)
    Mildly interesting exchange between Anderson Cooper of CNN fame and his mother Gloria Vanderbilt. It is a an edited email exchange between the two when Vanderbilt is 92 years old. Anderson asks some tough questions about her past, her family, her insecurities, optimism, artistic enterprises, four husbands and lovers and the suicide of his brother, Carter.The reader learns a great deal about Gloria’s mother, who was a teenager married to an alcoholic Reginald when her daughter was born. Reginald died soon after and the scandal surrounding the upbringing of Gloria ensued. Good beach or winter storm read.The story I
  • (5/5)

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    Presuming this is the same version available from library in MP3 format It is read by the authors, which gives it an immediacy that I can't imagine getting from the book version. I found this riveting, but unfortunately Gloria comes across as a deeply disturbed person who bounced from one man to another, abandoned her beloved governess, and drank too much. She had horrible parents, but it's hard to fathom her behavior. Still, it is very sweet to hear her and Anderson Cooper trying to piece together a relationship.

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