The Middle Place
Author: Kelly Corrigan
269 pages in Paperback
Published: December 23, 2008
Dates Read: August 30- September 7, 2016
My Rating: 2.5 Stars
Book Summary from Amazon:
For Kelly Corrigan, family is everything. At thirty-six, she had a marriage that worked, two funny, active kids, and a weekly newspaper column. But even as a thriving adult, Kelly still saw herself as the daughter of garrulous Irish-American charmer George Corrigan. She was living deep within what she calls the Middle Place–“that sliver of time when parenthood and childhood overlap”–comfortably wedged between her adult duties and her parents’ care. But Kelly is abruptly shoved into coming-of-age when she finds a lump in her breast–and gets the diagnosis no one wants to hear. When George, too, learns that he has late-stage cancer, it is Kelly’s turn to take care of the man who had always taken care of her–and to show us a woman who finally takes the leap and grows up.
Kelly Corrigan is a natural-born storyteller, a gift you quickly recognize as her father’s legacy, and her stories are rich with everyday details. She captures the beat of an ordinary life and the tender, sometimes fractious moments that bind families together. Rueful and honest, Kelly is the prized friend who will tell you her darkest, lowest, screwiest thoughts, and then later dance on the coffee table at your party.
Funny yet heart-wrenching, The Middle Place is about being a parent and a child at the same time. It is about the special double-vision you get when you are standing with one foot in each place. It is about the family you make and the family you came from–and locating, navigating, and finally celebrating the place where they meet. It is about reaching for life with both hands–and finding it.
Kelly Corrigan’s title of her memoir is The Middle Place; which is where she feels she is in life when this journey began. She is in that time between being someone’s child and being someone’s parent. I am the age Kelly is when she discovers the lump in her breast that ends up being cancer.
From the description of the novel, I expected to read more on her journey of going through the cancer treatments. Yes we do get some of that, but then her father gets his third occurrence of cancer and the book becomes more about her being concerned about losing her father. That may have been her coping mechanism to get through her cancer. But being her age, I wanted more of her story. Yes, this is her story to tell in her way, but it seems I wanted a different book than what I got.
In some ways she also became unlikeable. Again, this was most likely her coping mechanism. In one point of the novel she is angry with her husband for “talking to his parents too much” according to her:
“I’m glad you’re bringing your cell. If you get bored, you can call your parents again.” (Page 236)
“It bugs me that you’re always calling your parents,” (Page 237)
Then a couple of pages later, she is calling her parents to check on her dad and her girls. At one point her dad says:
“Lovey! I better let you go! You can’t spend your vacation on the phone with us!” (Page 240)
Isn’t this what you just got upset with your husband about?
Some reviewers have issues with the language she uses. Again, this is her story to tell in the way she will tell it. There was also no big revelation at the end. She didn’t discover faith as some would have liked. This is a memoir and sometimes we don’t get what we want as we do with with fiction books.
Overall, I can’t recommend this book. It just wasn’t for me.