It’s not often you find me sobbing on the Piccadilly Line on the way to work, but I’ve been reading The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan. I know that doesn’t sound like a good recommendation for a book, but it is a lovely read….really.
I lost my mum to cancer this year. As we get older our chances of avoiding either getting cancer ourselves, or knowing someone close to us who gets it, become ever more slim. Corrigan’s autobiographical account of getting breast cancer when she is in her mid thirties, with two small kids is a fantastic insight into what it’s actually like to go through that awful journey of diagnosis, treatment and what ever happens next. Due to her age and circumstances, it’s not difficult to make the leap and imagine yourself in her place, or somewhere similar.
Ok so I know this isn’t a great sell so far, but Corrigan’s book manages to be both accutely observational and really funny at the same time. She keeps up an open, easy going narrative (in the way that some American female writers excel at) that makes you warm to her as she talks you through how she copes.
I recognised many of the events in the book, they happened to our family too when we were caring for mum and I wish I’d read this before it had all happened as I suspect it would have helped. It would be really useful to read if anyone you know is currently fighting cancer as Corrigan spells out what’s often left unspoken by both sufferers and close family.
But although I’m making this out to be something of a therapy-read, it’s not, it’s an uplifting, accessable and joyous book which I think would appeal to anyone who appreciates family. It was a massive hit in the States when it was published there and it is out in paperback here end January 2010.
It makes you realise just what is and isn’t important, which resonates at this time of the year, might keep you sane as you dash through the after effects of Christmas-craziness.