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. 

1 comment:

  1. This book is everywhere at the moment. And deservedly so, in my humble opinion. Kelly Corrigan is one of those writers who makes you feel like you are vastly under-using the English language. And she wrote about her battle with cancer in a way that was not remotely tired or expected. In fact, the book was not so much actually a memoir about her battle with cancer. The cancer served more like a symbol (although I am pretty sure it felt a heck of a lot more than symbolic to her and her family--I don't mean to minimize the experience) of whatever that thing is that boots you out of whatever comfortable place you inhabit and right on into full-fledged adulthood. It resonated.