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

This is not a book about a famous journalist, nor is it a book about a famous family. THE RAINBOW COMES AND GOES is a story about a mother and her son, and their desire to know more about each. The two live in very different worlds, and have different world views.

It's only slightly relevant that the correspondence took place via email. It doesn't really matter so much. Anderson asks mom questions about her childhood, and the people she knew, and mom gives detailed answers. Some of the questions are startling--questions about death. Anderson asks, "Do you think about death a lot? Over the years you have talked to me about dying many times." Gloria then gives frank answers about her thoughts on dying, and asks Anderson a favor: "I'd like you to place a handful of my ashes in your father's grave."

The fact that both people are world famous is not so much relevant in this book--at least in most cases. One big excepttion is the terrible experience of the custody battle over little Gloria. There are long accounts of the fight, with Anderson asking his mother why it happened, "Why do you think she fought for custody?" Not surprisingly, a lot of money was involved, all about who gets custody of a little, scared girl. "Lawyers were hired, a trial date was set, and both sides began preparing for a court fight unlike any the country had every seen." Anderson's grandmother started a court fight, "for custody of a child she barely knew."

I thought the most interesting question in THE RAINBOW COMES AND GOES was Andersons question, "Do you have any regrets?" Gloria admits that yes, there is a very long list: "For me the list of regrets is so long I wouldn't know where to begin or to end." Gloria then shares a very personal letter "I would write to myself at age seventeen."

In looking over her life, Gloria mentions her recent exhibits of her paintings. Gloria is ever hopeful, ever the optimist: "The phone can ring, and your whole life can change in a blank." She recounts the words of the poet Wordsworth, "The rainbow comes and goes. Enjoy it while it lasts. Don't be surprised by its departure, and rejoice when it returns."

All in all, I found THE RAINBOW COMES AND GOES a bittersweet book. There are lots of very touching, very personal remembrances. THE RAINBOW COMES AND GOES is really most valuable to the mother and her son, but I appreciate their willingness to share such poignant memories with the world.

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