The Rainbow Comes and Goes
A Mother and Son on Life, Love, and Loss
A charming and intimate collection of correspondence between #1 New York Times bestselling author Anderson Cooper and his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, that offers timeless wisdom and a revealing glimpse into their lives.
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.
Praise For The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son on Life, Love, and Loss…
— Bay Area Reporter
“A beautiful book that will resonate for all generations, especially mothers and their sons . . . riveting, touching, dishy, funny, and surprising.”
— Andy Cohen
“Fascinating, forthright, philosophical, and inspiring, these mother-and-son musings on family, life, death, forgiveness, fame, and perseverance are at once uniquely personal and deeply human.”
— Booklist (starred review)
“[A] touching story. . . . Through greater openness, Cooper and Vanderbilt achieve a new closeness, demonstrating in this intimate and lively read that it’s never too late to have a rich relationship with family.”
— Publishers Weekly
“A layered mix of reminiscences, heart-rending revelations and apologia, all captured with unsparing candor. . . . Rainbows may in fact come and go, but this revealing take on the forces that shaped two dynamic lives promises to have real staying power.”
— AARP Magazine
“A remarkably frank and tender undertaking.”
— New York Times
— Wall Street Journal
“This is a book like no other I have ever read…if any two people have lived through way more than their share of crises, singly and collectively, it is Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt. Their brave engagement with what they confront so staunchly in this extraordinary dialogue leaves me quite simply awestruck.”
— Washington Times
“Memoir readers (and Hollywood fans) will appreciate this book, especially those interested in relationships between mothers and sons. A perfect Mother’s Day read.”
— Library Journal
“Entertaining and thoughtful moments exchanged between a mother and son who have spent much of their lives in the spotlight.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“Through greater openness, Cooper and Vanderbilt achieve a new closeness, demonstrating in this intimate and lively read that it’s never too late to have a rich relationship with family.”
— Publishers Weekly
Harper Paperbacks, 9780062454959, 320pp.
Publication Date: January 31, 2017
About the Author
Anderson Cooper joined CNN in 2001 and has anchored his own program, Anderson Cooper 360°, since March 2003. Cooper has won 18 Emmys and numerous other major journalism awards. He lives in New York with his son, Wyatt.
Gloria Vanderbilt is an American artist, writer, and designer. Her artwork can be found at GloriaVanderbiltfineart.com. She is the author of eight books and has been a regular contributor to the New York Times, Vanity Fair, and Elle. She lives in New York City.
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
1. Why do you think it took Anderson and Gloria so long to have this kind of discussion? Does old age provide a kind of urgency for these conversations? Have you had a similar dialogue with a parent or grandparent?
2. Gloria writes, “My first reaction upon reaching ninety-one is surprise.” Have you had the same feeling upon reaching a milestone birthday? Do you think we feel frozen at a certain age? What age would that be for you?
3. Anderson writes that he assumed he wouldn’t live past fifty, which is the age at which his father died. Is it hard for you to imagine living past the age at which a parent has died?
4. Great wealth can open many doors, but it can also be a burden. How does Gloria’s case illustrate this? Would you want to be wealthy beyond all imagining? Like Gloria, do you think you would reject the idea of sitting on a beach somewhere, or not?
5. The novelist Mary Gordon wrote, “A fatherless girl thinks all things possible and nothing safe,” a line that has resonated with Gloria throughout her life. Do you think this is true? How does it apply to Gloria’s decisions about romance, career, and family?
6. Anderson and Gloria learn in the book that they had each fantasized about being left a letter by their deceased fathers. Have you ever imagined the same kind of letter from someone you loved and lost?
7. In what ways does Anderson take after his mother? What do you see as their most striking differences?
8. Do you believe that everything happens for a reason, as Gloria does, or do you reject the concept, like Anderson does? Why?
9. Do you tend to plan for the future, as Anderson does, or assume that things will work out, in his mother’s style?
10. Toward the end of the book, Gloria writes a letter to her seventeen-year-old self. If you were to write a letter to yourself at seventeen, what would you say?
11. What do you think of the phrase, “The Rainbow Comes and Goes”? How does it apply to the authors’ lives? Does it apply to your own life, too, and if so, how?