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The Middle Place Hardcover – January 8, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Newspaper columnist Corrigan was a happily married mother of two young daughters when she discovered a cancerous lump in her breast. She was still undergoing treatment when she learned that her beloved father, who'd already survived prostate cancer, now had bladder cancer. Corrigan's story could have been unbearably depressing had she not made it clear from the start that she came from sturdy stock. Growing up, she loved hearing her father boom out his morning HELLO WORLD dialogue with the universe, so his kids would feel like the world wasn't just a safe place but was even rooting for you. As Corrigan reports on her cancer treatment—the chemo, the surgery, the radiation—she weaves in the story of how it felt growing up in a big, suburban Philadelphia family with her larger-than-life father and her steady-loving mother and brothers. She tells how she met her husband, how she gave birth to her daughters. All these stories lead up to where she is now, in that middle place, being someone's child, but also having children of her own. Those learning to accept their own adulthood might find strength—and humor—in Corrigan's feisty memoir.
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"Kelly Corrigan's utterly absorbing memoir, The Middle Place, is wry, smart, and often heart-wrenching. Corrigan takes us down memory lane and then, at the same time, down some other, darker road most of us hope never to travel. Yet we follow her all the way, quite willingly, thanks to her sharp eye and her great sense of humor." -- Cynthia Kaplan, author of Why I'm Like This and Leave the Building Quickly
"The Middle Place is inspiring, luminous, and true. Reading this memoir, I felt like an honorary member of the Corrigan family . . . Kelly Corrigan is a wonderful writer." -- Luanne Rice, author of What Matters Most
"An amazing story told with steep honesty, buckets of humor and, above all, integrity. The Middle Place is memoir at its highest form." -- Darin Strauss, author of The Real McCoy and Chang and Eng
"Kelly Corrigan has a great sense of humor, an honest voice, and a brilliant way of telling it like it is -- but that's just for starters. It's her heart that really counts. The Middle Place is a love letter to family and home and life." -- Linda Greenlaw, author of The Hungry Ocean and Slipknot
"Kelly Corrigan takes what might have been a fairly standard story of survival, and reframes it, most charmingly, as a coming-of-age narrative. We see here a headstrong girl, under the most severe adversity, turn into a genuinely strong woman." -- Carolyn See, author of Making a Literary Life
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Top customer reviews
Kelly Corrigan loves her enthusiastic and attentive father. I loved mine for similar reasons. Daughters who are this cherished by their dads survive things. Kelly also had to beat her cancer while her own father battled his. Watching it outside; experiencing it inside, all this while raising her precious children. Speaking of which, every mother will adore reading about the tender moments of mom and child, those quiet, gorgeous times that we sigh, "I love being a mom"! I think of Kelly's mom and siblings here with seeing two people they loved going through treatments at the same time. What faith this family must have.
I enjoyed meeting Kelly's husband on the page. A spouse who is our port in the storm - when the waves are rocking and rolling the boat - is a blessing from heaven above.
There is a refreshing authenticity in The Middle Place because Kelly Corrigan rips the face right off pretension with her humor and story-telling ability so I say high five on this book. I say bravo to this young and very gifted writer.
Mary Jane Hurley Brant
Bryn Mawr, PA
Like Kelly, I also had a father with cancer, although unlike Kelly and her dad, we were not in treatment at the same time. Also unlike Kelly, I did not have a good relationship with my father. I was very young when he had his first bout with cancer, but I still remember very well the frustration I felt as he shopped around for a diagnosis more agreeable to him than cancer. I remember shouting at him - "You'd rather DIE than have surgery?? You'd rather DIE than take care of your family??" (BTW he did have surgery and lived through two more bouts of cancer.) Kelly very accurately describes what it's like to be the advocate for a reluctant cancer patient.
This book will hit you in the heart if you have cancer, are a cancer survivor, or are caring for someone with cancer. If you are fortunate enough to have not been touched by cancer, this book will help you understand what it's all about. I looked at some of the one and two star reviews, many of which stated that Kelly sounded whiny and self-indulgent. I strongly disagree! Having cancer threatens everything you are and everything you have. Perhaps you have to experience it to understand some introspection is appropriate when your life is at risk and you are facing your own mortality.
And if you are a daughter who had a poor relationship with her father, Kelly's strong and loving relationship with her father may make you a bit jealous and bring on a few tears.
I thought this was a lovely book. I will be purchasing the print edition to add to the lending library I maintain for the autobiography class I teach. And I don't do that with many books!