The Middle Place is one of those books that will stay with me for a very long time. I identified at a deep level: I had a larger than life Father. I was a "Daddy's girl". My Dad had a long and lingering illness. During his last couple of years we got the chance to redefine our relationship.
Kelly Corrigan weaves together three compelling stories: her childhood, her fight with breast cancer, and her father's illness (cancer).
This is not a "disease of the month" memoir. This is a vital and honest account of family with all of it's divisions, loyalties and alliances. Over the course of the book you get to enjoy and know the entire family: Father, Mother, siblings, husband and children.
Kelly Corrigan is a graceful writer with a wonderful sense of the absurdity of life and family. After all who else can make you that mad even while you depend on them?
Corrigan captures the joy of childhood and the angst of the teen years. She expresses the frustration of watching your parent rely on the familiar and trusted when better medical help is available. The pain of being told to butt out after all the hard work of finding a new therapy, medication or physician. The anger at the "well spouse" (her Mother) as they try to hide how bad things really are.
Her story underlines the importance of family, friends and laughter in the process of acceptance and recovery.
Read this book! It doesn't matter if you are an Easterner from Philly, a Californian or an Irish Catholic. You don't have to come from a large family. You don't need to have cancer or have someone in your family who has cancer. This is a story with the universal themes of hope, healing and letting go.
The official book information:
"The thing you need to know about me is that I am George Corrigan's daughter, his only daughter." So begins this beautifully written memoir, in which Kelly Corrigan intertwines her own story with that of her larger-than-life, Irish-American, born-salesman father's, and illustrates both an unbelievably powerful and healing father/daughter relationship and the unbreakable bonds of family. Writing with candor and a surprising amount of graceful humor, Kelly alternates the tale of growing up Corrigan with her life and her father's today, as they each-successfully, for now-battle cancer. Throughout, she explores the framework of illness and what it means when the one person who has been your source of strength is in need of some himself. Uplifting without shying away from the realities of life with cancer, this highly personal story ultimately examines the universal theme of family, both those we create and those that created us. The Middle Place is about the bittersweet moment between childhood and adulthood-when you're a devoted wife and mother, but you'll always be daddy's girl. In fresh, insightful prose, Kelly explores and ultimately embraces that "middle place," bringing to light the wonderful opportunity of coming to know who you are and where you truly belong.