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20 March, 2008

Book Review: The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan

Read and reviewed for Front Street Reviews

"The Middle Place is about calling home. Instinctively. Even when all the paperwork—a marriage license, a notarized deed, two birth certificates, and seven years of tax returns—clearly indicates you're an adult, but all the same, there you are, clutching the phone and thanking God that you're still somebody's daughter." – Kelly Corrigan

Thirty-six year old Kelly Corrigan was living a very content life. She had a job she enjoyed, a wonderful husband, two beautiful young daughters, and a great relationship with her family. Then, one evening she discovered an unexpected lump in her breast. Before long, she found herself facing the results of many tests – she had breast cancer. Kelly, who still considers herself George Corrigan’s daughter, finds herself facing her middle place. Before starting chemo treatments, Kelly draws a cacoon of safety around her – her family, her friends, and her desire to survive. She plans a the cancer is gone party for one year after her diagnosis, and calls back home to her parents.

Kelly’s life becomes a changing one of chemotherapy, loss of hair, weakening body as she goes through treatments, and through it all her strength is supported by her husband Ed, and her father. However , six months into her treatments, Kelly finds herself facing a phone call of her own. Her father has been diagnosed with bladder cancer. Suddenly, she finds herself plaugued with worries about not only herself, but her father as she tries to help support her parents from the opposite side of the country.

The Middle Place, is a journey through illness, and health, where strength and support are. found in places that the author does not expect. Kelly Corrigan writes a memoir that is both humerous, as well as thought provoking. She makes her readers feel like they are a part of her family, sharing her stories of growing up and her recovery from cancer with honesty, humor, and a fantastic flair for storytelling. I started the book on a day I was myself laid up with the flu, and found myself engrossed by it. It made me laugh, as well as bringing me to tears as the subjects of love, family, friendship, illness, cancer, and even death are touched on.

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