The Middle Place

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"An amazing story told with steep honesty. The Middle Place is memoir at its highest form."

--Darin Strauss, author of More Than It Hurts You and The Real McCoy

"If you're in a book club or just love to read, make sure this book ends up in your lap, where it will remain until you finish. Plan to laugh, cry, and be consumed by Kelly Corrigan."
--Winston-Salem Journal

"Bravely reveals the frightened daughter inside the grown-up wife and mother."

"Come for the writing, stay for the drama. Or vice-versa. Either way, you won't regret it."

--San Francisco Chronicle

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.

Customer Reviews:

  • Raw, emotional, wonderful
    As a mother and a cancer survivor I could relate to so many of the emotions Kelly Corrigan skillfully expresses in this memoir. I was amazed at her candor, I don't know if I could have been as open about some aspects of my past as she is. But she holds nothing back from the reader. And as a result this book is completely engrossing. If you read it, be prepared to be consumed by it. Oh, and I guarantee you'll fall in love with Kelly's dad, George ("Greenie") Corrigan like I did.

    Sara Ellington
    The Must-Have Mom Manual (Ballantine, 2009)
    The Mommy Chronicles (Hay House, 2005)...more info
  • I did not like Kelly!
    OK, hate that anyone has to go through cancer, and glad that she did survive. But. I found her superficial and trite, to be as kind as possible. When I got to the part of her sulking because her husband calls home...Or earlier, bringing down a whole group of friends at a dinner in Carmel, or the constant references to how much she cried, she lost me. The whole bit with her father was just too cutesy to bear. I do not understand all the five stars awarded this book. If you want to read about loss, survival and faith, go to Anne LaMott....more info
  • A Fun and Great Communicator
    This isn't really literature, it's more of a journey through the author's fight with cancer. Really, the thing that makes it special is her loving way of describing her love for her family, especially her charismatic father. She has the ability to describe with great warmth, human relationships and the importance of friends and family. ...more info
  • Cancer is so yucky!
    I'm not sure Kelly Corrigan even thinks cancer is yucky. I'm not sure what she thinks other than she is the centre of the universe and other people better know it.
    This entire book is full of her superficial complaints and whining, and shows a complete lack of insight on her part (my daddy my daddy oh no my husband wants to talk to his parents! how dare he! oh there's my daddy!). Being young and diagnosed with cancer should make for a compelling story on its own but she appears to have no internal life other than being sad that Chemo made her miss the big Crate and Barrel sale. (Okay, I made that up). I'm giving it two stars because for some reason I finished the stupid book so she's got writing skills at least....more info
  • If you like fluff, then this is for you
    My book club read this memoir and all nine of us disliked it. Not one of us thought this was the inspiring memoir of a breast cancer survivor - which is what we expected. If you like reading light, fluffy stuff about people you don't know, then you may enjoy this book. There are some funny stories (when she went to the prom as a freshman, for example), but to read this book thinking you'll hear about a survivor's journey is a mistake. I think she used her breast cancer as an excuse to write a memoir. I found her to be incredibly selfish. For example, she criticizes her mother throughout simply because she was (had to be) the disciplinarian in the family - she even recognizes her unfair treatment but chalks it up to "that's just a mother's burden". What??? Everything had to be about Kelly - especially her father's cancer (she was unbelievably bossy - to the point of bombarding her father's doctor with emails, the poor guy!!! Bless him for his patience with her). Add her whining tone to her selfishness and what a recipe for bad reading. ("It's just so unfair that I can't have more children because it would put my health at risk" - ever consider helping a child in need and adopt? And, "Oh my God, do you really mean I can't drink alcohol anymore? I don't think I can handle that - I, like, live to drink, even if it means temporarily losing my daughter.") I was also very offended by her statement that women are just play-acting at life and marriage until they have children, which, according to the author, is when "real life" commences. Sorry, Ms. Corrigan, but I've chosen not to have children and I think my life and marriage are plenty real. It amazes me that someone can write such fluff and make, presumably, tons of money off of it. Hmmm... I gotta go - need to write my own memoir....more info
  • The Middle Place
    I loved this book so much that I even attempted to send an e-mail to the author, Kelly Corrigan, but was not able to find the correct address. I did send one to one of the listed representatives, but nothing from her. I laughed and cried throughout this memoir and hated to see it end....more info
  • 5 stars?are you kidding me?
    I do not understand why this book has been so praised. It's superficial and has no point, except that cancer can be beaten. This is a miracle,a God's miracle, but the author doesn't take it this way.There are a lot of vernacular words which do not have their place in an acclaimed book....more info
  • 5 stars?are you kidding me?
    I do not understand why this book has been so praised. It's superficial and has no point, except that cancer can be beaten. This is a miracle,a God's miracle, but the author doesn't take it this way.There are a lot of vernacular words which do not have their place in an acclaimed book....more info
  • Amazing story
    The Middle Place is beautifully written and pulls no punches. Kelly is an accomplished woman...she has done so many things in her young life...the traveling alone is very impressive! Her devotion to her dad is touching and it breaks your heart that she has to divide herself between caring for him and fighting cancer herself...truly an amazing spirit....more info
  • Funny, poigant page-turner memoir
    Kelly Corrigan has penned a poigant memoir describing those 30-something years when you've a young family of your own, but feel deeply connected to your family of origin, still. Readers will giggle over the exuberance of the author's Dad, "Greenie." Any girl who adores her dad will relate to this story.

    The structure of the book, alternating chapters between childhood remembrances and cancer treatments, works well. The topic could well be maudlin, but Corrigan's humor tempers the description of coping with cancer.

    About 3/4 of the way through the book, I became just a bit annoyed with the author's self-absorption, but I read the book from cover to cover. The text elicited laughter and tears. My only complaint is that I didn't get my housework done because I couldn't put the book down. Read it. ...more info
  • Humorously Touching Journey
    Kelly Corrigan has a humorous approach to her writting. Found the transition from present to past interesting. Wasn't sure how losing her virginity had a thing to do with her journey. Actually found it a little disappointing. Wanted to give it to my daughter to read but changed my mind.

    It was easy read and her recovery was worth celebrating....more info
  • How do you rate someones life?
    They say every life is a story. This book just happens to be about Kelly Corrigan. This story will neither dazzle nor disappoint. The story seems to be about a daughter who loves her father more than anything. It also is a wake up call for Kelly that as much as she does love her father she realizes she would let him die to save her children. I think Kelly was very lucky to have such a great family. Her husband and her mother who deserve more acclaim then they receive in the story, made me feel bad for them. It is hard to put stars on someone else's life, so for writing it and making easy to read I gave four stars....more info
  • Middle Place
    This book came in good condition as in very good. I am very pleased...more info
  • Exploring the spaces in between
    A treasure of a read, The Middle Place is as inspirational as it is real. Artfully weaving together the chapters of Kelly's life, The Middle Place is both a memoir and an opportunity to reflect on what ultimately matters most. Kelly explains that the "middle place" is the place between being a child and being a parent. It seems as if it is also the space between life and death, hope and despair, vulnerability and empowerment, connection and independence, what-could-be and what-is-now, and beginnings and endings. The Middle Place takes readers to dark places, light places, and all places in between....more info
  • The title should have been - "Me Me Me"
    I'm not sure why people liked this book. I did not like the book because the main character was so incredibly self-focused and so needing for everything to be about her. I keep thinking it is fictional because surely the Dad couldn't be so perfect and the daughter so unlike him. Something just doesn't jive. But that is just my impression, I hope they will all continue to do well. I'd love to meet the Dad but would never be interested in meeting her. I must be missing something....more info
  • It was just OK
    This book was my book group's selection for February. It was a decent read, but I didn't get any serious drama out of the book. Her dad isn't any more, or less, special than mine, or any other loving father. I'm really wondering why the publisher thought her story was so necessary to be told, other than she took the time to write it down. I'm glad there's a happy ending to the book. I thought the best part was her essay about her mom's friends "The Pigeons." ...more info
  • honest and funny memoir
    I enjoyed getting to know Kelly Corrigan and I laughed and cried throughout the book at her wit and honesty. I loved learning about her "larger than life" Dad, aka "Greenie" and the special father-daughter relationship they share. Her candid point of view and humor kept me reading and wanting more - I look forward to her next book!
    ...more info
  • Fabulous
    I laughed out loud and, at other times, had tears in my eyes while reading this book. I found her storytelling abililty to be fantastic, and really connected with her sense of humor. ...more info
  • Mediocre, better books to be read...
    Book was self indulgent and mediocre at best. I read all the reviews posted in and on the book itself and thought it would be a great read. It was not. It was just ok. I would not recommend it. Some parts were somewhat funny, but I've read far more funnier, wittier books, well written books that tugged at your heart stings. Try "Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs,(novel)" and "Running with Scissors by Augustin Burroughs (memoir)"
    The book was annoying from the self centeredness it exuded and had me wanting to get my $10.43 back. Some of the behavior was abserd and left me wondering who the heck she thought she was and her insistency on this "Corrigan tip" was annoying. Like as if..., really? Presumptuous. Pass this one and pick another book....more info
  • The Middle Place
    I really enjoyed reading this book. It made me laugh and cry sometimes at the same time. Kelly Corrigan make you feel and understand the love and strengh her family shares....more info
  • Great book! Share it with your friends!
    Easy read. Laugh out loud. Touching too. The ladies in my book club loved it!...more info
  • A Great Read
    This is an excelent book. I have read some of the other reviews and if you're looking for a cancer how-to book pick up something by Kris Carr. This is a story, a make you laugh, make you cry, make you wish that you could say things in such a poignant way story. It is well written, easy to read and entertaining. It makes you want to appreciate your family and friends just a little more. It makes you want to live in the moment. ...more info
  • A lovely read
    Alternately funny and poignant, I found this to be a delightful read. It made me want to hug my kids and my parents and live a more joyful life.

    ...more info
  • Touching
    I had received little clips in email from this book from friends so I decided to get the book. I will have to say that this book made me both cry and laugh. I really enjoyed this book and have passed it on as I really feel that this is a book to be shared....more info
  • best book in ages
    this is the best book i have read in ages. it was such a quick read and so enjoyable. i have shared it with all the moms in my playgroup who have enjoyed it as much as i did....more info
  • Kudos to Kelly Corrigan
    The Middle Place is a well written book, filled with characters the reader can identify with and excellent down-to-earth detail. Kelly Corrigan puts her reader on the scene and writes a touching tale from the heart, with humor and honesty. Lisbeth Thom ...more info
  • The Middle Place
    A very touching and heart warming story of the love between a father and daughter, when both are undergoing medical challenges....more info
  • The Middle Place
    Kelly Corrigan has written a very encouraging, fast read. It will make you laugh, make you cry.
    I can relate to her "middle place".
    A great book with lots of feeling. ...more info
  • Easy, delightful, insightful read...
    This book is an easy read! I read it in 24 hrs, with 2 kids under 6 on the go. Even though I myself had a benign tumor removed from my own breast, the possibility of having breast cancer never dawned on me. I never knew anyone I cared about having breast cancer. But the day after I finished reading this book, a friend wrote and told me her mother had just been diagnosed with breast cancer in both breasts. I immediately tuned in and understood a little better on how to talk to my friend because of Kelly Corrigan's account of her experience in her book. The book opened my eyes to the possibilities of a tragedy that only her humor and positive outlook could overcome. She talks lightly, yet seriously about her illness in such a way, that you just have to be rooting for her team. I just loved the way she talks about her dad. I wish she wrote a whole book just about her dad. What a great character. Oh, while I'm at it, I want her husband too, not the real one, her fictional book husband! If you don't fall in love with her 'in book' husband, there has to be something wrong with you. ...more info
  • Uplifting and life affirming
    Kelly Corrigan grew up quite the "Daddy's Girl." Her father, George, is one of those characters who everyone loves - the kind of person who never meets a stranger. In 2004, Kelly was a happily married mother of two, comfortable in the middle place - "that sliver of time when childhood and parenthood overlap." While playing with her daughters one evening, Kelly discovered a lump in her breast that turned out to be cancer. While she was undergoing cancer treatments, her father found out that he had bladder cancer.

    The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan is more than the story of Kelly's and her father's battles with cancer. It includes stories from Kelly's past, so that you learn how she got to be who she is. The love she and her family have for each other is evident in the pages of this book. Kelly's parents really reminded me of my own parents. When Kelly's mother told her that one of the worst times of her life was Kelly's sixth grade year, I could tell that she is just like my mother. I really enjoyed this emotional book. I wouldn't call it sad, though - it's really up-lifting and life affirming. I probably laughed more than I cried while I read it....more info
  • Happy Families are All Alike
    As Tolstoy once said. It's the unhappy ones that are truly interesting. As a child of one of the "other" types of Irish Catholic families -- the ones you usually hear about with drinking and violence and generations-old seething, stewing feuds and lets not forget the unwanted pregnancies -- I personally found it hard to believe that everybody could be so damned happy! There, I've said it. I found it even harder to believe that Ayelet Waldman is quoted on the back as saying she loved the book, since her own writing is so much darker, biting and edgy.

    I sensed throughout that the author was being disingenous, that she kind of covered up anything that made her uncomfortable and didn't REALLY share anything. For example, she hints at this whole ongoing drama about how she wants to move back to Philadelphia to be with her family, and her husband finally sits her down and says, "we're your family now, and home is where we are" meaning the husband and children. You've gotta wonder if his take on the whole situation, where she forces her brother to find a job for her husband in Philadelphia and then badgers him to go on the whole job interview, and then it falls through, is anything like hers.

    Also, every Irish catholic family I know was so damned repressed that there's no way in heck anybody's DAD was ever going to be there for someone with BREAST cancer, given that that might involve actually having to say the word "breast." My dad would probably use some euphemism like "your health issues" and stay about as far away as he possible could. She kind of tells these little stories throughout, for example, about how she was travelling in Australia, and while she was gone, four relatives including her dad had cancer, but no one told her because they didn't want to upset her. But she glosses over it, like it's nothing. She never REALLY tells the interesting stories. Now that would have been a good book.

    ...more info
  • The Middle Place
    Very realistic perspective and great writing on that perspective. The perfect book for a neighborhood book club....more info
  • Funny, Real, a great Memoir
    This book is one of the best memoir's I've read, up there with A Girl Named Zippy. Corrigan is funny and honest, and you know she is a real person just like you, holding nothing back. Although she talks about her cancer and her father's, it does not take a depressing, sad tone. A very quick read, I couldn't put it down!...more info
  • Awesome Memoir
    Kelly Corrigan will make you laugh and cry with her memoir of growing up and being the person who still needs her parents when she is diagnosed with breast cancer at an early age. Corrigan writes with passion and enough detail that you will feel like you know her family personally. Going back and forth between telling stories of her childhood and her battle with cancer, Corrigan's book reads quickly....more info
  • Balancing in the Middle
    In an era of memoir publishing that seems to have become an ongoing contest of who can claim the most horrific childhood, The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan is strikingly different. She had an enviably normal childhood with a doting father, a somewhat stern mother and two lacrosse-crazed, good-natured brothers. But in the middle place in life, where she is both a child who still needed her parents for guidance and yet also a young mother herself, Kelly Corrigan is diagnosed with breast cancer.

    Written in chapters that alternate the story line of Corrigan's year with cancer with chapters of traditional memoir, we come to know who she is and why she so loves both her families--the one she came from and the one she makes with her husband and children--as she relies on them both through the medical nightmare of fighting cancer. In her weaving of the story of her childhood and young adulthood with her more recent year of illness and recovery, Corrigan makes it easy for the reader to fall in love with the characters in her life. Central among them is her father, George Corrigan, who not only goes by the nicknames "Greenie" or "Green Man," he also gives a nickname to most everyone he knows. His only daughter he calls "Lovey," never denying that she holds the sweetest spot in his heart. The favorite dad in the neighborhood, Corrigan always went to her dad for permission, knowing he was the easier target. Once, after he told her she could go to a party where there was beer, he showed up an hour later telling her he was there to bring her home because her mother couldn't sleep until he did.

    Months after Corrigan's discovery of her breast tumor Greenie himself is diagnosed with bladder cancer (something revealed on the book jacket). Corrigan then begins to take care of her father in the only way she can while living on the other side of the country and undergoing her own cancer treatment--she becomes and expert on bladder cancer and navigates her father to the foremost oncologist specializing in that area. In the process of literally fighting for not only her own life but also her father's, she truly becomes an adult.

    Filled with revealing--even embarrassing--anecdotes and honest assessments of herself and those around her, Kelly Corrigan's The Middle Place is a funny, yet serious, memoir. In the final chapters, the two threads meet, Kelly's memoir culminates where her cancer story began, the year she fought not only her own cancer, but for the best treatment for her father's cancer. A character driven, fast read, The Middle Place is a delightful antidote to the dark, abused-child focus of many contemporary memoirs. Its only risk is leaving the reader jealously longing for such a richly normal and loving childhood as Kelly Corrigan's....more info
  • Utterly moving
    I absolutely loved this book. Greenie reminds me of my dad with a little dysfunction thrown in. It was poignant to read about her relationship with her Dad and her Mom through the lense of her recovery from cancer. I am in a recovery of sorts myself - this book was healing, uplifting - the perfect medicine. Thanks Kelly!...more info
  • Courageous topic made fun and approachable
    Chose it for bookclub. Hoped it wouldn't be a downer. Cancer is never a fun topic, but Kelly Corrigan wrote her story in such a way that you can't help but want more. You'll feel like you've known her and the loving Corrigan family for years, cry with her, definitely laugh a lot, and hopefully learn a few things about how to deal through some of life's hardships, whether they are your hardships or those of someone you care about. It's a pretty fast read, but my entire bookclub seemed to really enjoy it and were very surprised at how approachable Kelly (I feel like I'm on a first-name basis with her now!) could make the topic of cancer. I just passed the book on to another friend. ...more info
  • A Wake-Up Call
    Amazing book! It really made me wish my dad was George Corrigan! If you do not read this book, you are missing out on those warm feelings you get when you think back to great childhood memories. ...more info
  • Loved it!
    Great book! It is our next book club title. I was afraid it would be too sad, but very inspiring family to read about. Highly recommended!...more info
  • Caught In The Middle
    This book is the true story of Kelly Corrigan, who is having a nice life until she finds out she has breast cancer. if that is not bad enough, later on she finds out her dad has cancer. Thus she is caught in trying to battle cancer and deal with her husband and kids while wanting to be there for her dad too. She's stuck in the middle, hence the name of the book. How she does it is her tale. It goes quick. I would say this is a woman's book primarily, but I read it anyway. It's a nice story--read it if you get around to it.

    ...more info
  • Make that call
    You will know Kelly Corrigan when you finish this book. You will figure out early that her father, the Green Man, is one of the deep loves of her life, and when you meet her husband, Edward, you will meet another deep love. Her young daughters will dash through the pages, giving you glimpses of Kelly's care as their eager and devoted mother. You will feel as though you want to pick up the phone to hear her laugh and to give you light-hearted morsels about her day. But, if you do make that call, you will also hear about her cancer and that of her father. Don't be afraid to call. She won't lie to you about how frightening cancer is, but she won't belabor the point. Somewhere in the conversation she will make you laugh. Somewhere else she will have to shout some quick guidance to one of her girls, and, of course, there will be the newest story to tell you about "Greenie". You'll call back. She's too full of life not to. ...more info
  • A memorable story
    After seeing her "transcends" tribute on You Tube, I had to read her is a funny, sweet, sad,,memorable read......more info
  • a careful dance between lightheartedness and gravity
    Kelly Corrigan does an amazing job at recounting her experience of dealing with cancer with 2 very young children. During this traumatic experience, she learns her father who is her idol is diagnosed with cancer as well. The most remarkable aspect of this novel is how light-hearted Corrigan manages to keep her tale while alternating between stories of growing up as a Corrigan between her day-to-day experience fighting cancer. I was laughing most of the time while fighting back tears some of the time. I LOVED this book and strongly recomment it to everyone....more info
  • The Middle Place
    This book was in mint condition. I received it within 3-4 days. I will definitely order again!...more info
  • A Memoir of Triumph
    I loved this story of life and strength, family and love. The Middle Place helped me to appreciate even more deeply the spirit of a young woman - Kelly Corrigan - who, like my beloved daughter, had to surrender to her baldness and her new identity post diagnosis. This kind of "put your feet down on the floor every morning" living takes enormous courage and humor. It all comes through in this memoir. It also takes sheer guts to write about a journey that is both scary and unpredictable while making oneself vulnerable in the process. It's also the truth that sets the spirit free.

    Kelly Corrigan loves her enthusiastic and attentive father. I loved mine for similar reasons. Daughters who are this cherished by their dads survive things. Kelly also had to beat her cancer while her own father battled his. Watching it outside; experiencing it inside, all this while raising her precious children. Speaking of which, every mother will adore reading about the tender moments of mom and child, those quiet, gorgeous times that we sigh, "I love being a mom"! I think of Kelly's mom and siblings here with seeing two people they loved going through treatments at the same time. What faith this family must have.

    I enjoyed meeting Kelly's husband on the page. A spouse who is our port in the storm - when the waves are rocking and rolling the boat - is a blessing from heaven above.

    There is a refreshing authenticity in The Middle Place because Kelly Corrigan rips the face right off pretension with her humor and story-telling ability so I say high five on this book. I say bravo to this young and very gifted writer.

    Mary Jane Hurley Brant
    Bryn Mawr, PA
    ...more info
  • Hillarious
    What a great book. I need a Greenie in my life. Even though the cancer is real, the family is a strong one and I know for a fact that I was a nicer person while reading this book. Life is too short!...more info
  • An Optimistic Book
    The bookseller at Borders highly recommended this book and I had been eying it for some time when I decided to go ahead and buy it. I wasn't sure what to expect. It is a fast read ... read this book in three days. It is funny. It is heart-warming especially when she talks about her dad. It is sad in spots and basically an endearing book. She is a very blessed woman being forced to grow up.

    Corrigan discovered a lump in her breast and after tests, found out it was cancer. Shortly after she started treatment for it, her father was discovered to have cancer also. Rallying back and forth between her childhood/young adulthood memories, she would talk about her love for her father and her mother. In between treatments, she would share conversations among friends and family ... it is a very light-hearted read about something so scary and what possibly could be fatal. She shares her hardest moments when she lost the last of her eyelashes due to chemo. She shares her joy of getting married and having children and throughout the entire book, one gets the sense that she is slightly spoiled, but oh so loved by everyone, her husband, her children, her parents and brothers and friends.

    This book touches lightly on cancer and how scared she must have felt. This book is more of a gratitude, "count your blessings" type of book, and definitely not a book about "woe is me, I have cancer." There is humor throughout this book and love. It is just a delightful book to read.

    If you know someone who has cancer or had fought it and survived, this book might be a good read for them. Corrigan and her father survived the treatments and their love for one another is stronger than it was before. It is a time where Corrigan realizes that she is no longer a child and she has to be strong for her children's sake, and perhaps learn to love and let go. Even while letting go, she has never stopped the love.

    It is a thoughtful and optimistic book about a cancer survivor.

    3/26/09...more info


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