Discussion #1: The Middle Place

The time is now for our first discussion on book #29, The Middle Place. Kelly Corrigan has so graciously provided questions to guide bookclub members such as ourselves, so let’s get started:

  • 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?
  • What role does religion play in the Corrigan family? How do you think Kelly feels about her parents’ faith? About her own? What sorts of things does Kelly believe in?
  • How do Kelly’s parents help her to feel secure and protected as a child? How does that continue or fade in her adult life? Which of her parents does she emulate in her own role as a parent?
  • How does Kelly’s breast cancer diagnosis prepare her for her father’s cancer? Does her own experience help her to help her father, or does it hinder her ability to cope?
  • Why do you think it is important for Kelly to travel in Australia and Nepal? What need does the act of traveling fill for her?
  • Our standard CLBC question: How do you feel about Corrigan’s writing style? Interested in reading more of her novels?

We want your thoughts!

About these ads

4 Responses to Discussion #1: The Middle Place

  1. ginabeana says:

    My book hasn’t arrived yet, but I will try and catch up with the rest of you.

  2. @ginabeana – no problem, you’re not alone. I’ll post my comments later, so try not to peek!

  3. maksbestfriend says:

    * 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?

    I think that the fact that the book keeps going from the present to her childhood is a testament to how much love and support she had then and still has now. I think that everything in her life keeps revolving around unconditional love and support and all the strength that she needs to fight this cancer.

    * What role does religion play in the Corrigan family? How do you think Kelly feels about her parents’ faith? About her own? What sorts of things does Kelly believe in?

    I think that her parents have a strong religious faith, and I think that Kelly feels that at some point her parents put too much on religion to make everything better. I think that while she does believe in religion, she also believes in doing research and making your own decisions and doing what works for you where you health and well being are concerned.

    * How do Kelly’s parents help her to feel secure and protected as a child? How does that continue or fade in her adult life? Which of her parents does she emulate in her own role as a parent?

    I think that her parents taught her that she could be anything that she wanted to be and yet them gave her the groundedness that she needed to know that with everything you choose to do in life there is a consequence. They also gave her the wings to let her go and explore the world and find our what kind of a woman she is and wanted to be before she married and settled down and had children. I think that she emulates both, but if I had to choose, I would choose her dad. I think that they are a lot a like. I don’t see her as uptight, probably not the right word for it, maybe closed off is more appropriate.

    * How does Kelly’s breast cancer diagnosis prepare her for her father’s cancer? Does her own experience help her to help her father, or does it hinder her ability to cope?

    I think that her own cancer gives her the opportunity to get over the shock that it could happen to another person that she loves. Remembering too, that her father had cancer when she was travelling when she was younger. In some ways it hinders as well, because she wants to push what she wants her father to do for himself and not letting him make the decisions that work for him. She is a take charge kind of person and she wants her dad to do the same and when he tells her that he has it under control and he is doing what is right for him, she doesn’t take it well.

    * Why do you think it is important for Kelly to travel in Australia and Nepal? What need does the act of traveling fill for her?

    I think that it is important for everyone to travel or do those things that they feel that they must in their hearts when they are young and ambitious and determined to conquer the world and see that the world doesn’t end at the end of the street in the home town. The world isn’t flat. There is much out there and she had to see where she fit in.

    * Our standard CLBC question: How do you feel about Corrigan’s writing style? Interested in reading more of her novels?

    I love her writing style. Especially the going back and forth between current day and her childhood. I love reading how the relationships grow and evolve. I would definitely read more!

  4. 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?
    Seems like having the book alternating in past & present is a way of giving the reader insight on Kelly’s background and the way it affects her thinking and subsequent reactions to current events. The use of flashbacks provides a “window” for viewing Kelly’s memory as she recalls key situations in her life. Alternately, having the book structured chronologically would force readers to make the connections on their own, rather than giving it to them directly, piece by piece. I prefer the spoon-fed method, personally.

    What role does religion play in the Corrigan family? How do you think Kelly feels about her parents’ faith? About her own? What sorts of things does Kelly believe in?
    Many references to God and religion pop up throughout the first half of the book, demonstrating strong importance of faith to the Corrigan family. Kelly seems to be somewhat of a rebel against her parents’ traditional, old fashioned Catholic beliefs. While still calling herself a ‘Catholic’, she’s non-practicing and questions the whole belief system. Kelly is quite obviously open other theological thinking such as Buddhism, but not quite ready to commit herself to a specific religion. She’s searching for understanding and true meaning.

    How do Kelly’s parents help her to feel secure and protected as a child? How does that continue or fade in her adult life? Which of her parents does she emulate in her own role as a parent?
    Kelly’s parents created a loving, structured, and well-grounded environment with realistic expectations from her. They made sure Kelly’s brothers were always around to ‘watch her back’, keeping her away from trouble. While guiding her morality, Kelly eventually learned her parents (read, her mother) were overly strict in their attempts to maintain her innocence. Yet like her parents, Kelly maintains a worry-free environment for her own children, even in the face of adversity.

    How does Kelly’s breast cancer diagnosis prepare her for her father’s cancer? Does her own experience help her to help her father, or does it hinder her ability to cope?
    At this point in the book, we’ve just learned about her father’s cancer. At first she didn’t seem to cope well emotionally, but then she took action by diving into online research and making the requisite phone calls. It’s as if her own diagnosis taught her to become educated about the disease, take immediate action, and then seek out the best resources possible for the tough fight ahead.

    Why do you think it is important for Kelly to travel in Australia and Nepal? What need does the act of traveling fill for her?
    Like her brother, GT world traveler, getting out and about allowed Kelly to see life on a much larger scale. She filled the need for independence and freedom outside of life with her family, another step away from childhood and toward becoming a responsible adult.

    Our standard CLBC question: How do you feel about Corrigan’s writing style? Interested in reading more of her novels?
    I am really enjoying Corrigan’s writing style, flashbacks included. So many of the back-in-the-day references trigger memories of my own, causing me to wonder if Kelly grew up on my block – Guess jeans and all!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: