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The Middle Place (Paperback)


From Publishers Weekly
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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review
"Kelly Corrigan's utterly absorbing memoir, The Middle Place, is wry, smart, and often heart-wrenching. Corrigan takes us down memory lane and then, at the same time, down some other, darker road most of us hope never to travel. Yet we follow her all the way, quite willingly, thanks to her sharp eye and her great sense of humor." -- Cynthia Kaplan, author of Why I'm Like This and Leave the Building Quickly

"The Middle Place is inspiring, luminous, and true. Reading this memoir, I felt like an honorary member of the Corrigan family . . . Kelly Corrigan is a wonderful writer." -- Luanne Rice, author of What Matters Most

"An amazing story told with steep honesty, buckets of humor and, above all, integrity. The Middle Place is memoir at its highest form." -- Darin Strauss, author of The Real McCoy and Chang and Eng

"Kelly Corrigan has a great sense of humor, an honest voice, and a brilliant way of telling it like it is -- but that's just for starters. It's her heart that really counts. The Middle Place is a love letter to family and home and life." -- Linda Greenlaw, author of The Hungry Ocean and Slipknot

"Kelly Corrigan takes what might have been a fairly standard story of survival, and reframes it, most charmingly, as a coming-of-age narrative. We see here a headstrong girl, under the most severe adversity, turn into a genuinely strong woman." -- Carolyn See, author of Making a Literary Life --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

The Top Place for Outstanding Memoirs, February 17, 2008
By Michele Cozzens (Cloud 8)


This memoir is filled with love, humility, honesty, compassion and a great sense of humor. Well-written and highly readable, the structure pulls you from cover to cover so quickly, it's readable in one sitting. My one sitting happened to be on a long plane ride, however, the time I spent getting to know Kelly Corrigan and her father, "Greenie," along with the rest of Kelly's family, made the plane not only bearable, but also enjoyable. She moved me from tears to laughter to a place of profound contentment. In the Prologue Kelly tells her readers that the one thing we need to know about her is that she's "George Corrigan's daughter." Ultimately, the one thing I believe this survival story is about is how love of family will see you through anything. Even cancer.

The Middle Place, according to Kelly, is the place between childhood and adulthood. This takes place for her between August, 2004 and August, 2005, which is the essential duration of the story. By alternating chapters between present and past, this young mother moves the reader from the middle place, a place where she learns she has breast cancer, to her past with stories of her life as her parents' child and her brothers' sister. Because Kelly, aka "Lovey," shares the cancer experience with her high-spirited and utterly lovable father, it makes the middle place that much more complicated and rich. She holds back little and seems keenly aware of her reader. Writing outside herself, she keeps readers in the loop in spite of very personal revelations. She is indeed her father's daughter.

A big fan of memoirs, this is one of the best I've read in a long time and I give it my highest recommendation.

Michele Cozzens is the author of It's Not Your Mother's Bridge Club

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