Friday, April 29, 2011

Review: The Middle Place

Title: The Middle Place
Author: Kelly Corrigan
Publisher: Voice, 2008
Genre: Non-fiction, Memoir/ 266 pages
Source: Friend
Rating: 4.5/5

The author writes about her life growing up with an amazing father, who it seems never finds anything that gets him down. He is the most positive person who makes friends wherever he goes. When his daughter, the author gets cancer, he prays for her, he flies out to California to be with her, and calls her all the time. Even when his own cancer returns, he doesn't complain. He makes friends with all the nurses. He maintains his positive outlook on life and never expects that he will succumb to his illness or worries about it. This lack of worry on her father's part drives the author crazy. She wants nothing less than the best care for her father, and she gets it for him.  She finds herself in the "middle place" - worrying about her parents and being dependant upon them, and also taking care of her own family. She tries so hard to strike the proper balance.

This book brought to life for me a real loving father, someone who even I grew to care about deeply. He is a special person who can make anyone he meets feel special. But I also feel sympathy for the author, as she is the mother of two young girls when she gets cancer, and then finds out that she will not be able to have any more following her treatment, and this is so very important to her. I was unable to break away from this book.  I wanted to know what happens to them, and wish only for the best. Her father is the most optimistic, loving, and inspirational person, even when undergoing cancer treatment. I also got a closer look at what it might feel like to have cancer. I liked how each chapter went back and forth from the past to the present. I thought this book was excellent. I enjoyed the author's sense of humor as she tells about her family adversities. I loved how her parents reminded me of my own with their fervent belief in the Catholic faith. I loved what her father says to her after finding out about her cancer:

"I'm just saying, you can do this, Lovey. You're special. I've always said it. You're just a very special girl, that's all." 

The author is in the middle place, struggling with her comfortable role as a daughter and now breaking away to form her own nucleus of a family. After reading this book, I looked for more information about the author's family online and was very happy to hear that her father is doing well as he turns 80. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sunday Thoughts

I have not been as committed as I wish I could have been to this blog, but I am determined to make a comeback and rededicate myself to reading 100 pages a day.  I have made 2 trips to Ireland since I last posted, and they were wonderful.  In February, my daughter and I went to Killarney for the All-Ireland Championships.  In April, we went to Dublin for The World Championships.  These were both for Irish step dancing.  At the All-Irelands, my daughter won the title in her age group, and at the Worlds she came in second.  We are both very pleased.  On both trips, we did some sightseeing - visiting castles in the south of Ireland and for the Dublin trip, I wanted to go see Trinity College and the Book of Kells, but it didn't work out, so we'll have to save that adventure for our next trip.  We visit Ireland/England/Scotland about 4 times a year, and I love visiting all the ancient historical places.  In particular I loved staying at Dromoland Castle with friends and learning about the Smith O'Brien family that I'm reading about in The Great Shame.  I still have not finished this book and it is really terrific at covering the Irish who were sent to Australia for minor crimes and mainly for standing up for their legal rights as tenants or maybe plotting against the British.  At this point, I think I will write some short reviews on the few books I read in the past two months, and take it from there.  I'm almost finished Galway Bay too.  I really enjoyed this one!  Here are a few pictures:

Ross Castle in Killarney:
 Inside Dromoland Castle:

 Bunratty Castle:

On another note about Irish dancing.  There is a new documentary coming out about the 2010 World Championships called Jig - the movie.  It won't be available in the US until the summer of 2011.  One of the dancers focused on in the movie is in my daughter's dancing school, and we think she might show up in some part of the movie.  My daughter hopes so.  Here is the trailer for the movie:

Have a Happy Easter!