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The Middle Place

A book by Kelly Corrigan

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From MainlyPiano

  • Nov 14, 2009
The Middle Place is as compelling a memoir as I have read in recent memory. The book was a gift from a friend shortly after I had a bout with breast cancer earlier this year, so although my own experience with the dreaded C word was much less traumatic, Kelly Corrigan's recollections about the fears and other overwhelming emotions that occur while going through the process rang so true. In addition to her own diagnosis, at about the same time, Corrigan's father had a recurrence of bladder cancer, so she shares the emotions and experiences she had dealing with her father's illness as well as her own. Corrigan is brutally honest and fascinatingly objective about her own follies and insecurities both in the present tense and in telling her life story. Alternating between current and past histories of herself and her family, Corrigan paints a vivid picture of why she is so close to her father and how each of the main "characters" in her story came to be who they are. No one is a saint, and no one is patently evil. This is a story of very human beings doing the best they can with the hand of cards they have been dealt. I loved every page of the book and recommend it very highly!

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review by . March 25, 2008
Memoir has been a new discovery for me over the last year or two. It's just about my favorite genre at this point. The Middle Place is a different type of memoir--it's more a journey to adulthood, yes with the typical memoir-esque obstacle (in this case, cancer--both hers and her father's). Most memoirists show you the pit of despair from which they came and bring you along the journey as they crawl out of it. I like those stories of hope as well, but Kelly Corrigan simply offers perspective, hope, …
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Kathy Parsons ()
Ranked #60
I have been a private piano teacher since 1981. I have been writing reviews for a long time, and have my own review and interview site, MainlyPiano.com. I teach piano in person and online, so now I can … more
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About this book


Newspaper columnist Corrigan was a happily married mother of two young daughters when she discovered a cancerous lump in her breast. She was still undergoing treatment when she learned that her beloved father, who'd already survived prostate cancer, now had bladder cancer. Corrigan's story could have been unbearably depressing had she not made it clear from the start that she came from sturdy stock. Growing up, she loved hearing her father boom out his morning HELLO WORLD dialogue with the universe, so his kids would feel like the world wasn't just a safe place but was even rooting for you. As Corrigan reports on her cancer treatment—the chemo, the surgery, the radiation—she weaves in the story of how it felt growing up in a big, suburban Philadelphia family with her larger-than-life father and her steady-loving mother and brothers. She tells how she met her husband, how she gave birth to her daughters. All these stories lead up to where she is now, in that middle place, being someone's child, but also having children of her own. Those learning to accept their own adulthood might find strength—and humor—in Corrigan's feisty memoir.
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ISBN-10: 1401303366
ISBN-13: 978-1401303365
Author: Kelly Corrigan
Genre: Health, Mind & Body, Nonfiction, Biography
Publisher: Voice
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