In this fun but also moving debut memoir, Gasbarre tells the story of how she “boomeranged” back home to help care for the newly widowed grandmother who unexpectedly became her “ideal relationship guru.”
The two women seemed polar opposites. “Grandma Glo” had married young and never finished college, while Gasbarre had graduated with a master’s degree, lived in Europe, and “spent all of [her] twenties questing and introspecting to understand where [she] fit in the world.” But for all the adventure she had experienced, the author, unlike her grandmother, had only known unfulfilling, short-lived romances with men. Yet the two women found common ground in one important way—they both shared an “equally intense affinity for the first generation all-American alpha male.” Their bond deepened as Gasbarre shared the details of the two relationships that occupied her attention during her stay at her parents’ house: one with an immature collegiate six years her junior and the other with a shy, gentle cosmetic surgeon who showed her what it was like to be courted. Grandma Glo in turn provided glimpses into a bygone era when men cherished their women and women stood steadfastly by their men. Gasbarre uses each “lesson” she learned from her Grandmother—such as learning to listen, being prepared to forgive and loving by existing—as the title of each chapter, and each chapter as a kind of chronological “illustration” of how she came to terms with that lesson. Her depiction of how two “fiery, independent women” bonded across generations is heartwarming without being saccharine. The author’s treatment of the central conflict that drives the book—the quintessentially modern female quandary of finding lasting love while staying true to personal ambitions—comes across with an integrity and veracity women readers will undoubtedly appreciate.