The Middle Place

 By Kelly Corrigan


I have been accused of only writing good book reviews. I guess that is because I really do like most books I read, I’m not difficult to please! However, today I will prove that I do not think that all literature is created equally; in fact, I don’t even believe that all literature has the right to be considered literature.
The Middle Place, by Kelly Corrigan was a disappointment to my book list this year. Although she is a decent writer her attitude and her outlook on life was discouraging and childish. One of my book group friends summed it up best when they said, “I was discouraged to read a book written by someone who had no faith”.
The gist of the story is that Kelly, a young mother of 2 little girls is diagnosed with breast cancer, a difficult discovery, no doubt. The story takes us through her battle with cancer and the struggles she has with people, places, and things during this time. Shortly after her ordeal begins she finds out her father also has cancer and they will be completing many of their treatments on the same time schedule. Throughout her fight she keeps her head up in terms of her own cancer but she worries and frets about her father’s ability to survive.
I am baffled throughout the story with the unnatural relationship she has with her father. She holds him on a pedestal much high than anyone else she has relationships with. She even refuses to take her husband’s name at marriage because she feels that if she were to take this step she would cease being her father’s daughter.
Perhaps the feelings she has for her father directly influences her relationship with her mother. She appears to despise her mother and is constantly putting her down. She even goes so far as to criticize her mother for having the respect and foresight to change her shoes before attending church: ‘“Lemme change my shoes,’ my mom said, since going to church in the wrong shoes practically negated the impact of going to church at all.” She says sarcastically! If I were this woman’s mother I would be sad and ashamed to have read her book.
Although I did not particularly like this woman and her outlook on life and family I did find some of her stories honest and funny. I liked hearing about her relationship with her brothers growing up and I appreciated a FEW of her comments about motherhood. “Our travel bags get fatter and fatter – filled with stuffed animals and books and rows of diapers, like all we’re gonna do when we get there is lie in bed – snuggling, reading, and peeing.”
The Middle Place is a story of overcoming a challenge in life that I respect anyone who has to suffer through. I was simply not on the same page as Kelly Corrigan in terms of life observation and family relationships. If I ever find myself placed in a similar situation I hope to cling to my husband and children for support and comfort rather than placing my energy in shedding tears and fighting battles for a father who really does not want my help. 


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