The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan

by

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Author:  Kelly Corrigan

Title:  The Middle Place

Genre:  Memoir

Publication Date:  2008

Number of Pages:  269

Geographical Setting:  Philadelphia and the Bay Area

Time Period:  1970s through 2007

Plot Summary:  Kelly Corrigan is the youngest child and only daughter in a raucous Irish-American family.  We are introduced to her in her mid-thirties when, while bathing with her two young daughters, she feels a lump in her breast that turns out to be cancerous.  The book spends time in the present as she undergoes cancer treatment but also flashes back to her experiences growing up and getting married.  Her loud and endearing father George, who she adores, is also diagnosed with cancer a few months after Kelly and she is forced to change her way of thinking about herself and grow up.

Subject Headings:  cancer, breast cancer, bladder cancer, grieving, growing up, aging, parenting, father daughter relationship, memoir, Irish American culture

Appeal:  easy, engrossing, humorous, evocative, realistic, vivid, heartwarming, nostalgic, bittersweet, frank, conversational, family centered

3 terms that best describe this book:

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):
3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

  1. The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee:  This book is the first ever biography of cancer, from what we know of its origins through today’s modern treatments.
  2. Eating Pomegranates: A Memoir of Mothers, Daughters and the BRCA Gene by Sarah Gabriel: A young mother herself, Gabriel’s memoir details her coming to terms with the existence of breast cancer and the breast cancer gene in all of the women in her family.
  3. The Council of Dads: My Daughters, My Illness and the Men Who Could Be Me by Bruce Feiler: A young father to two daughters who learns he has cancer, Feiler decides to gather a council of men who were influential in his life to act as fathers should he pass away.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

  1. So Much for That by Lionel Shriver:  A look at human relationships and the cost of health care in the U.S.
  2. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith:  This beloved classic also describes a young Irish American girl’s love for her charismatic father.
  3. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult:  Faced with a moral dilemma, the young narrator tries to keep her family together in the face of her sister’s pessimistic cancer prognosis.

Name:  Laura Melton

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