Book Club:
Glitter and Glue

This book lends itself to conversations about the many parts of our mothers that are obscured from us, how difficult it is to know and help another person though we so want to and how distance impacts our perspectives. I'm curious to hear where book clubs go with the story. As always, reach out with questions.


  1. As a young woman, Kelly thinks, “Things happens when you leave the house,” and books a round-the-world trip to Australia. Do you think that these types of adventures are necessary to gain life experience? Does Kelly’s maxim change by the end of the book? 
  2. On page 47, we learn where the title Glitter and Glue comes from. What do you think of having one parent as the glitter and another the glue? Is this what it was like in your family? Was this always the case? 
  3. Milly and Martin respond differently to Kelly’s entry into their lives. Why do you think this is? When (if ever) do things begin to change with Milly? 
  4. Like the characters in the book My Ántonia, Kelly wants to be someone important to Evan. What does she mean by that? Based on what Kelly reveals about Evan at the end of her story, do you think she was successful? Why or why not?
  5. During her time in Australia, Kelly realizes that it’s only when she’s away from her mother that she can truly appreciate her. Do you agree? Kelly hears her mother’s voice in her head, offering advice as she tries to care for Milly and Martin. Has something similar ever happened to you? 
  6. What is the significance of Walker the American? How does he influence Kelly’s understanding of life experience? 
  7. Are daughters’ relationships with their fathers inherently different from their relationships with their mothers? Does Kelly’s relationship with Greenie support this? What does the fact that Mary kept Kelly’s shoplifting a secret from her father suggest? 
  8. John Tanner is barely hanging on by a thread when Kelly arrives. How does he change over the course of the book? 
  9. When Kelly works at her mom’s real estate agency, she is shocked to hear co-workers describe her mother as “the life of the office” (page 87.) Why is this an important moment for Kelly? 
  10. On page 146, Kelly explains the phenomenon called “Reader Response.” Did you find yourself interpreting Glitter and Glue through the lens of your own personal experiences? How so? 
  11. Kelly remembers many vivid moments from her stay with the Tanners, including her trip to the beach and Martin’s tantrum walking home from school. Why does Kelly still remember these events so clearly twenty years later? Why do you think she chose to write this story after her cancer scare? 
  12. Of all the ideas juxtaposed in the pages—mothers and fathers, adventure and life experience, stepping out and stepping up—which resonate the most with you? Why?