Jennifer's Reviews > The Middle Place

The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan
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Aug 29, 09

Read in August, 2009

The Middle Place is a book that will resonate with countless women in their 30s, women trying to figure out how to stand on their own two feet when it’s so comfortable to (still!) be coddled by doting parents. The book’s jacket description states this, but makes it sound like a reasonable and sympathetic dilemma. Reading the book myself, I got a more negative spin on this quandary.

I absolutely loved this book for its honesty. Kelly does not paint herself as a heroine who reaches through difficulties, experiencing growth and an ability to find a higher, better self. There are moments in the book where she seems aware of how egocentric she is—and that a very large part of it is due to the way her parents (father) made/make her feel she was/is the center of the universe. But for the most part she goes through her life and her challenges (tough as they are!) still thinking that she’s the only one who hurts, hers is the only opinion or feelings that matter. Even her enormous need for her father to be healthy and cancer-free is about her need for him to still be there for her—not about what he’s feeling or experiencing.

I think there are some interesting discussions that will come from this book—about how Kelly got to be so self-absorbed. Is it her nature or the influence her parents (namely her father) had on her? Does this mean that parents shouldn’t make their kids feel like they are the best thing out there? Is it reasonable to become so self-absorbed when faced with such a tragedy as cancer? Where’s the balance? As another reader put it, “This book is an interesting example of the difficulty transitioning (not only) from being someone's child, to being your own person. But…also a fine example of how profoundly (for better or worse) parents are able to warp their children's views and expectations of what the world owes them.”
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