cover image 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

Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt. Harper, $27.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-245494-2

Vanderbilt and her son, Cooper, relate the touching story of how an epistolary exchange created new emotional intimacy between them. After fashion designer and society icon Vanderbilt, now 92, became seriously ill in 2015, Cooper, a globe-trotting journalist, questioned their closeness and realized much had gone unsaid between them. He sets about rectifying that by opening an email exchange that proves illuminating and healing. Vanderbilt's early years were rife with tragedy, and her father died before she was two years old; in parallel, Cooper's father died when Cooper was 10. Vanderbilt writes of having no one to talk to about the turmoil around her childhood and adolescence, leading to countless regrettable turns such as dropping out at 17 to marry a decades-older man, and it never occurred to her to share or explain to her sons what she endured. Cooper recalls feeling loved by his mother, but also feeling that he barely knew her. As Cooper delves into their respective pasts, he starts to understand that, following the deaths of his father and older brother, he also took big risks motivated by the out-of-control circumstances surrounding him. 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. (Apr.)