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

4.4 38
by Anderson Cooper

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

Though Anderson Cooper has always considered himself close to his mother, his intensely busy career as a journalist for CNN and CBS affords him little time to spend with her. After she suffers a


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

Though Anderson Cooper has always considered himself close to his mother, his intensely busy career as a journalist for CNN and CBS affords him little time to spend with her. After she suffers a brief but serious illness at the age of ninety-one, they resolve to change their relationship by beginning a year-long conversation unlike any they had ever had before. The result is a correspondence of surprising honesty and depth in which they discuss 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 and an unconventional mom’s life lessons for her grown son, The Rainbow Comes and Goes offers a rare window into their close relationship and fascinating life stories, including their tragedies and triumphs. In these often humorous and moving exchanges, they share their most private thoughts and the hard-earned truths they’ve learned along the way. In their words their distinctive personalities shine through—Anderson’s journalistic outlook on the world is a sharp contrast to his mother’s idealism and unwavering optimism.

An appealing memoir with inspirational advice, The Rainbow Comes and Goes is a beautiful and affectionate celebration of the universal bond between a parent and a child, and a thoughtful reflection on life, reminding us of the precious insight that remains to be shared, no matter our age.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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.)
Library Journal
Weeks before her 91st birthday, Vanderbilt (Obsession) experiences her first major illness. While she's hospitalized, her son Cooper (Dispatches from the Edge) is overseas. When Cooper returns home, he resolves to leave nothing unsaid between them. The result of that promise is this epistolary memoir, a yearlong conversation between the author and his mother via email. There's the infamous custody case separating Vanderbilt from her mother at age ten, her intimate relationships, her career in fashion and the arts, the loss of husband Wyatt Cooper, Anderson's father, and the suicide of her son, Anderson's older brother Carter. With five autobiographies under her belt, one wonders what Vanderbilt has left unsaid, but the strength of this book is that she's saying it for the first time to her son. Cooper draws her out, learning not just what happened to her, but how she felt—and this is his story, too. He describes losing his father and brother, and his perspective on the day he came out to her. VERDICT Memoir readers (and Hollywood fans) will appreciate this book, especially those interested in relationships between mothers and sons. A perfect Mother's Day read.—Terry Bosky, Madison, WI
Kirkus Reviews
A famous mother and famous son bond through email exchanges. When Vanderbilt reached her 90s, her son, CNN journalist Cooper, realized there might not be many years left to interact, so they began to correspond via email, carrying out a conversation on the important things that have mattered in both their lives. Over the course of the following year, the two delved deeply into Vanderbilt's childhood. She discusses the loss and effects she felt from never having known her father, who died when she was very young, the trauma she experienced during the well-publicized custody trial she endured at age 10, and the closeness she felt toward her governess rather than toward her biological mother. Vanderbilt writes with frankness about her impulsive love affairs and subsequent marriages to men she barely knew but who were older and filled the emptiness that only now she realizes was created by the lack of a father in her life. Cooper also explores some of his own issues during these mother-son conversations. He discusses his own anxieties and sense of loss when his father died and his trepidation at coming out as gay to Vanderbilt. The combination of questions asked and answered brings forth much more of Vanderbilt's hidden life than that of Cooper, allowing readers insight into a woman whose name is known and who has shared much of her life through various memoirs. The perspective of old age and the distance from past events has allowed her to unveil these new aspects to her son and now to readers. The takeaway for mother and son is a closeness they didn't have before, and their interchanges might prompt readers to do the same with their own elderly parents, perhaps with the same outcome. Entertaining and thoughtful moments exchanged between a mother and son who have spent much of their lives in the spotlight.
Wall Street Journal
“Meaningful, revealing...”
New York Times
“A remarkably frank and tender undertaking.”
Andy Cohen
“A beautiful book that will resonate for all generations, especially mothers and their sons . . . riveting, touching, dishy, funny, and surprising.”
Booklist (starred review)
“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.”
AARP Magazine
“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.”
Washington Times
“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.”
Bay Area Reporter
“Intriguing… an ideal Mother’s/Father’s Day gift, with the opening, ‘Let’s get to know each other better’…Affectionate, heartfelt, inspirational, and sometimes hilarious, the book’s message is that it is never too late to cultivate a new relationship with your family and break down those walls of silence.”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

Anderson Cooper joined CNN in 2001 and has anchored his own program, Anderson Cooper 360°, since 2003. He had previously served as a correspondent for ABC News and was a foreign correspondent for Channel One News. Cooper has won several awards for his work, including an Emmy. He graduated from Yale University in 1989 and also studied Vietnamese at the University of Hanoi. He writes regularly for Details magazine.

Gloria Vanderbilt is the author of four memoirs and two novels. She contributes to various publications, including the New York Times, Vanity Fair, and Elle, and has received two honorary doctorates of Fine Arts. She lives in New York City.

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The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son On Life, Love, and Loss 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Reading this book helps anyone that thinks they are alone dealing with an unhappy childhood, and the death of a child. Good or bad every thing happens for a reason. God bless Gloria and Anderson for sharing their souls with us.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What survivors!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous 10 months ago
A look into the relationship between Gloria Vanderbilt, known as the child caught in an infamous custody case and later as an artist and designer and er son Anderson Cooper, renowned reporter and correspondent. Beautifully told story developed through emails between mother and son. A wonderful exchange that leaves you with beautful life lessons.
MasonCanyon More than 1 year ago
The name Vanderbilt brings to mind wealth and fame and to some that automatically translates to happiness. However, in THE RAINBOW COMES AND GOES Gloria Vanderbilt tells her son, Anderson Cooper, some of the heartaches and sorrows she has faced growing up dubbed ‘the poor, little rich girl.’ Thought emails the mother and son shared over a year period listeners learn money truly does not buy happiness and love. The story is read by Gloria and Anderson giving listeners an added bonus. After his mother suffered a brief serious illness at age 91, Anderson resolved to get to know her better. They began corresponding through emails which lead them to have more in depth and honest discussions than they had ever had. Anderson questioned his mother about her childhood and the choices she had made along the way. THE RAINBOW COMES AND GOES cover a year-long discussion between mother and son that brought them to a closer understanding of each other. In their own voices, the two share their sorrows and disappointments, along with fleeting moments of happiness. Gloria talks at length about growing up without a father or father figure in her life, her unresolved feelings toward her mother, and what life was like for a young girl thrown into the spotlight when family members fought in court to control her inheritances. This is not a story about having it all. It’s a touching, tender story of a young girl searching for love and family, her drive to live, and the life she created. In addition, it’s a story of a grown son’s love and admiration for his mother and the driving spirit that pushes him forward. Through the telling of triumphs and tragedies, the story stresses the need for parents and children to share more between themselves. The sometimes humorous and often very candied private thoughts reveal a lot remains to be shared if only one will pursue it. An inspiring memoir that might just change the way you view people, especially those who have it all. This is a lovely reminder to connect with those you love before it’s too late. FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this audio book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.
Anonymous 8 months ago
Being fascinated by the Vanderbilt family since my first visit to the amazing Breakers since at age 12- I found this book very interesting to read. Andy and Gloria live a fascinating and fufilling life. Of course there a bumps in their roads but they live a life that is far from the ordinary. I wish them both the best!
Anonymous 11 months ago
A joy to read, very relatable on many levels
Anonymous 8 months ago
There were so many ah-ha moments in this book, it was amazing and honest. For anyone who has had a difficult or confusing childhood, this book helps put many feelings into perspective and proves that we can all come out the otherside as normal, functioning adults without using our upbringing as a crutch.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Awesome read, relate in so many levels..
Cheryl Thompson More than 1 year ago
A way of heart felt, open and safe conversation that every parent and every adult child should have or wish they had. The writing of both Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt is a way of story telling that keeps you engaged while breaking your heart and making you smile from page to page. The love between them is a painting created by every word as a stroke of color. Absolutely beautiful!!
Anonymous 20 days ago
I loved this book from beginning to end.
Anonymous 30 days ago
Anonymous 4 months ago
Great read
Anonymous 5 months ago
Beautiful story!
Anonymous 6 months ago
Heartwarming and at times surprising. Proves once again that money can't buy happiness!
SigmundFraud 7 months ago
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.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Anonymous 8 months ago
Really enjoyed this book!!
Anonymous 8 months ago
toniFMAMTC 8 months ago
This was an interesting look inside the lives of Gloria Vanderbilt and Anderson Cooper. I really didn’t know much about either. I enjoyed the frankness of their dialogue. There’s so much good stuff in there to make a person think about life in general.
Anonymous 11 months ago
A truly wonderful book. One of the most honest stories that I think I have ever read. Thank you Gloria and Anderson for sharing your lives and memories.
cupid92 11 months ago
I received this book as a gift and am I glad I did! I read it in one day-couldn't put it down! What a life Gloria led-and she laid it all out! Highly recommend
Anonymous 12 months ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago