The Middle Place
By Kelly Corrigan
(Hyperion, Paperback, 9781401340933, 288pp.)
Publication Date: December 2008
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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.
Kelly Corrigan is, more than anything else, the mother of two young girls. While they're at school, Kelly writes a newspaper column, the occasional magazine article, and possible chapters of a novel. She is also the creator of CircusOfCancer.org, a website that teaches people how to help a friend through breast cancer. Kelly lives outside San Francisco with her husband, Edward Lichty, and their children.
1. What is the effect of having the book structured as it is? Why do you think Kelly's childhood is presented as flashbacks rather than chronologically? In what ways does her childhood affect her adult self?
"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
"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."
"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