The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan is ostensibly a memoir about a young woman's battle with breast cancer. In reality, it is that and an ode to her family, to her irrepressible father, her pragmatic mother, to her husband and their two young daughters.
I'm often torn about whether I should read books like this or not. They knock at my heart and drag some of my darkest fears into the light where I'm forced to examine them before locking them away until the next time. But this was a book I was glad to have read.
Ms. Corrigan brings you right in to her story, her battle with breast cancer and the story of her family, by switching back and forth from her childhood to her current situation. This can often be jarring, but she accomplishes it smoothly, without the frustration of being left hanging for a while.
Even though she is telling a difficult story, she tells it with a lot of humour and with a down-to-earth manner that pulls you in and keeps you reading. She is honest about her bouts of selfishness, her impatience with her kids, her silly arguments with her husband, her difficult relationship with her mother. She doesn't sugar coat things and she doesn't make herself out to be a superwoman or a hero, but just confused, scared and angry about having to deal with having cancer.
I found myself laughing, often thru tears, as I read this book. It sounds a little odd to say that I had fun while reading this book - it is, after all, a book about breast cancer, a topic that often elicits hushed tones and somber expressions - but it was a fun book, a book full of hope and life and laughter. It was less a book about breast cancer than it was a book about love.