Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Middle Place [Corrigan]

Book: The Middle Place
Author: Kelly Corrigan
Reason for Reading: Book Club
Genre: Nonfiction
Summary: Kelly Corrigan is a happily married mother of 2 young girls when she is diagnosed with breast cancer. While undergoing treatment, she learns that her father, a survivor of prostate cancer, now has bladder cancer. Told in alternating chapters of past and present, we look at Corrigan's life growing up and her present life dealing with cancer.
Christine's Review: I chose this memoir based on the positive reviews on Amazon and I wasn't disappointed. This is a story where two of the main characters are battling cancer and although the reviews said it was not a depressing book, I still thought it would be. I am happy to report that while there are sad moments, the overall tone is humorous.

We learn about Corrigan's life growing up in PA with her vivacious, happy-go-lucky father, stern mother and 2 older brothers. The cast of characters are so vividly described you feel like you are an extended member of the family. Many of her stories are relatable (and had me thinking about my own childhood): the hardships of middle school, picking fights with her mother, being overly concerned about hair and fashion. Kelly is the baby in the family and needy-in some ways, she reminds of me Vicki from the Real Housewives of Orange County, she is an attention seeker and always needs affirmation from those around her. Part of that has to do with her father-a man with a big personality who always made her feel special.

In the present day chapters, Corrigan tells us right away that she is in the middle place-a parent herself but still a child to her parents. When she is diagnosed with breast cancer, she tries to tackle it head on with a positive attitude. When her father is diagnosed with bladder cancer, Kelly is forced to grow up and mature.

This book is honest, wry and filled with heart.

Book Junkie's Grade: B+

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