Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan

When I downloaded this book to my Kindle Tuesday night I was pretty sure it was a memoir about cancer. I didn't remember that it was about breast cancer or I probably wouldn't have begun reading it. On Tuesday I had my first mammogram and ultrasound and was able to put to rest the fears I had been carrying around for over a month after finding a lump in my breast. The nurse sounded almost certain that what she saw on the screen is a cyst. So, as I read The Middle Place I wavered between feeling like I needed more distance between my experience and reading about the author's and feeling like I had just bought some cheap therapy.

The Middle Place is a memoir about cancer, growing up, raising children, confronting life's trials. The title refers to that time in life when you still depend on your parents but you have people depending on you also. Corrigan alternates between short episodes from her younger years and a chronicle of her and her father's cancer treatment. She battled breast cancer at the same time her father was battling bladder cancer. Corrigan has a very close relationship with her father and many of her stories showcase his uniqueness and what draws people to him.

The author is a flawed person, just like the rest of us, and I think that is why I like the book so much (and other memoirs). She loses her temper with her children, starts unnecessary arguments with her husband, and seems to want to give the advice that she needs to hear to others in her life. Sound familiar to anyone?!?

The only disappointment I had was the lack of a lesson/realization by the author. I find it hard to believe that you and your father fight cancer at the same time and you don't come out different on the other side. She doesn't seem very reflective about the experience. There might be a hint of a lesson learned in one of my favorite quotes from the book: "Someday, some later day, I'll find out what it is to be an adult- to bury someone essential, someone you don't think you can live without, someone attached in so many place you almost fall in after them." Beautiful words...

Happy Reading!