Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Book Review~The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan

The Middle Place

Description of The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan:

For Kelly Corrigan, family is everything. At thirty-six, she had a marriage that worked, two funny, active kids, and a weekly newspaper column. But even as a thriving adult, Kelly still saw herself as the daughter of garrulous Irish-American charmer George Corrigan. She was living deep within what she calls the Middle Place--"that sliver of time when parenthood and childhood overlap"--comfortably wedged between her adult duties and her parents' care. But Kelly is abruptly shoved into coming-of-age when she finds a lump in her breast--and gets the diagnosis no one wants to hear. When George, too, learns that he has late-stage cancer, it is Kelly's turn to take care of the man who had always taken care of her--and to show us a woman who finally takes the leap and grows up.
My Thoughts:

I was drawn into the story of Kelly's life at the start of this book. I felt empathy for her as a young woman, wife and mother of two young girls as she found a lump in her breast and goes through the testing and treatment for breast cancer. I was a bit envious of her close knit family, gregarious and loving father who adores her and two big brothers that she is close to. I enjoyed many of the stories and humor about her family and her strong and funny father known as "Greenie". Then, as I continued to read Kelly's story as she alternates chapters between her past growing up years in Philly and her adult college life, world travels, her career and her current life as she deals with her treatment of breast cancer and the effect on her life...she lost me. I found Kelly self indulgent and whiny.  There were several heartfelt moments with her father and her girls. When she shared the story of losing her hair and sharing that with her girls and talking about cancer with them were sweet and gentle moments. At several points in the book, her insensitivity towards others and the focus on herself were surprising. Near the end of the book, she visits her parents house and notices all the old, worn out items around the house that looked "ugly" to her. She wanted her parents to be surrounded by what she perceived as more beautiful things. She went out and spent over $400 on new towels, silverware, dishes and picture frames. Even replacing a favorite blurred picture of her brother as a child with a  picture of her daughter in the bathtub. Her mother was hurt and rightly so, she loved the old pictures in the rusty frames and the chipped plates. Yes, Kelly is a strong and amazing women and she is a good writer. I wanted to know more about what she learned from the experiences she went through but found more complaining than revelations. I expected her to mature and grow...maybe she did but for me, she didn't portray that very well in the book.

Disclosure: This book was from my own collection. I am an Amazon associate and Indiebound associate.


  1. Bonnie, your comment about this author is not the first I have heard regarding needing to mature and grow. I have also heard really good things about the book, and I know you shared many of those. I read a review of her new book, LIFT, on Lesa's Book Critiques recently and Lesa commented that this author seems to have grown up. That book presents a much more positive picture of her I think. Thanks for sharing your honest opinions!

  2. I think I enjoyed this book more than you did, but I did find her relationship with her father a little odd.

  3. Indulgent and whiny...what a way to turn someone off. I still may read this one but I'm not rushing out to grab it either.

  4. Sounds like I'll hold off on picking this one up until I find it at, say, the library book sale. Thanks for the honest review.

  5. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy this book more but I appreciate your honest thoughts.

  6. I enjoyed this a bit more than you did. This may be one of those books that you need to read at the right time in your life, you know? I liked her style of writing. Sort of candid and on the funny side even though she was dealing with such a weighty topic.


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