Discussion #2 & Final Wrap-Up: The Middle Place

Alrighty, Chicken Lit’ers! Ready or not, here comes discussion #2 for book #29, The Middle Place. And once again, we’ll be answering a few questions from Kelly Corrigan’s reader guide, because why not? Here goes:

  • Given her attachment to her family, why do you think Kelly moves so far away from home at the age of twenty-five? Do you think families need to live physically close to one another to remain emotionally close? Why or why not?
  • How does Kelly change when she becomes a parent? In what ways does she choose the family she’s created over the one that created her? Do you think is a common occurrence as we mature into adulthood?
  • Do people need crisis—like the illness or death of a parent—to become full-fledged adults? Is it possible to outgrow childhood without losing a parent? In what ways do our parents keep us in the “child” role?
  • How does Kelly learn to be sick? How much help do you think she should have accepted from others, and how much should she explain and share with those trying to help? What are the benefits she finds from letting people be involved? How do Kelly’s attitudes about sickness differ from her father’s?
  • What is “The Middle Place”? Why is this the title of this book? What does being in The Middle Place mean to Kelly? What does it mean to you?
  • Rating alert: On a scale from 1 to 10 (1=hated it, 10=love, love, LOVED), what do you give The Middle Place? Are you interested in reading Kelly Corrigan’s next novel?

Well, what did you think?

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11 Responses to Discussion #2 & Final Wrap-Up: The Middle Place

  1. maksbestfriend says:

    * Given her attachment to her family, why do you think Kelly moves so far away from home at the age of twenty-five? Do you think families need to live physically close to one another to remain emotionally close? Why or why not?

    I think that the end of the book and the argument that she has with Edward makes that one clear. Her parents did not hold her close but set her wings free so that she can fly and that is what she did, and when she married Edward and he had the job with TiVo, it seemed like the perfect fit. I think that it depends on the family dynamic. There are some families that thrive on that uber closeness all their lives and there are families that are smothered by it. I think that you have to decide what is best for you and the family that you are making. Mitch and I are several hundred miles from his family but we can get there quickly if need be and that works for us. It will be changing soon since my in laws are elderly and they might need us, but time will tell.

    * How does Kelly change when she becomes a parent? In what ways does she choose the family she’s created over the one that created her? Do you think is a common occurrence as we mature into adulthood?

    I think that she tries to be for her children everything that she thinks that her mother wasn’t for her. She is that emotional heartstring for her children in all the ways that she has talked that her mother is lacking. I think that she has chosen the nurture over nature routine. She shows far more affection to her children and praises their efforts no matter how they turn out. I think that it depends upon how you were raised. If you were raised in horrendous circumstances, I am sure that you are going to do whatever you can to make sure that your child/children are spared having to go through any of that,

    * Do people need crisis—like the illness or death of a parent—to become full-fledged adults? Is it possible to outgrow childhood without losing a parent? In what ways do our parents keep us in the “child” role?

    No, I don’t see why you need a life crisis to become a full fledged adult. I mean we all have things that challenge and change us along life’s way, but who doesn’t, really? I wish that everyone went through their childhood without losing a parent. But we all know, realistically, for some, that is not to be. Either through illness, accident, or in these days, random violence, or the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan, death can touch a family far too soon. I think that parents never really want to see us as the adults that we are, no matter our physical age, or relationship status. I think that they do tend to try to tell us/guide us in the ways that they think is best. It is up to us to take the good and bad and make the right choices for ourselves.

    * How does Kelly learn to be sick? How much help do you think she should have accepted from others, and how much should she explain and share with those trying to help? What are the benefits she finds from letting people be involved? How do Kelly’s attitudes about sickness differ from her father’s?

    I think that you learn how to cope. Cancer doesn’t go away in one treatment. You have to take it all as it comes and you can’t fold when the going gets tough. I think that she should have accepted the help that she felt comfortable with. Everyone has their own comfort level when it comes to things so intimate. She should only share as much as she is comfortable with, because it is hers to deal with not community news. The benefits are that she is not going through this alone and that alot of people care about her and will be there for the good and bad. She only had to ask. She is very proactive, where her father, at his age, is more resigned to what will be. More laid back. She is definitely more Type A.

    * What is “The Middle Place”? Why is this the title of this book? What does being in The Middle Place mean to Kelly? What does it mean to you?

    The middle place to me is when she is battling the cancer. Her life before it is on hold. While she fights. And her life after is now not what she thought that it would be, in that she will not be able to have that third child. Being in the Middle Place to me was a time for me when I was going between an abusive relationship and leaving it and starting over, and now, when I see that I can have a fantastic life. I just had to fight hard enough for it and not give up.

    * Rating alert: On a scale from 1 to 10 (1=hated it, 10=love, love, LOVED), what do you give The Middle Place? Are you interested in reading Kelly Corrigan’s next novel?

    A rock solid 10! I am definitely interested in reading another book by Kelly Corrigan!

  2. * Given her attachment to her family, why do you think Kelly moves so far away from home at the age of twenty-five? Do you think families need to live physically close to one another to remain emotionally close? Why or why not?
    As when Kelly felt the need to travel abroad, she used the distance as a way to separate the child Kelly living at home with her parents from the adult Kelly starting her own family. Living farther away allowed her to live independently as an adult without interference from Mom & Dad. As for the distance factor, advances in communication technology make living physically nearby no longer a requirement for staying emotionally close. Personally, I’ve been able to maintain emotional ties with my own family across the miles by way of the internet, email and telephone, whether they be in Alaska, Europe, New York, Florida, etc. Not only that, but living farther away from one another gives us extra reunion destinations each year. *woohoo!*

    * How does Kelly change when she becomes a parent? In what ways does she choose the family she’s created over the one that created her? Do you think is a common occurrence as we mature into adulthood?
    Kelly changed by becoming completely selfless, caring for the girls’ needs ahead of her own. She and her husband moved to Silicon Valley to provide the ideal environment in which to raise their children rather than move closer to her roots. I do believe that gravitating toward the family that we ourselves create over the one in which we’re created seems to be a common phenomena, possibly out of the dependence they have on us.

    * Do people need crisis—like the illness or death of a parent—to become full-fledged adults? Is it possible to outgrow childhood without losing a parent? In what ways do our parents keep us in the “child” role?
    Yes, crisis is the strongest force of all in making someone a ‘full-fledged adult’. Having to go through hardship such as divorce or death of a parent cuts the apron strings like no other, leaving no point of turning back. I’ve noticed that in families absent of crises, parents tend to continue viewing their children as ‘kids’ for the rest of their adult lives, possibly as a way to keep themselves in the ‘adult’ role indefinitely. This might not be the case with all parents, but definitely with more than I can count.

    * How does Kelly learn to be sick? How much help do you think she should have accepted from others, and how much should she explain and share with those trying to help? What are the benefits she finds from letting people be involved? How do Kelly’s attitudes about sickness differ from her father’s?
    Kelly learned to be sick by researching, learning what to expect, and then accepting the necessary procedures she would endure to overcome cancer, even if it involved being pampered along the way. She allowed her parents to help out by taking care of the children on occasion, which allowed for the alone time she needed with hubs. Unlike her father, she took a hard look at reality, taking note of actual statistics and realizing that she might not survive through cancer. Greenie was more happy-go-lucky in his attitude, indifferent to his symptoms, sometimes ignoring them completely.

    * What is “The Middle Place”? Why is this the title of this book? What does being in The Middle Place mean to Kelly? What does it mean to you?
    “The Middle Place” appropriately describes that time in life between caring for one’s own children and parents simultaneously, just as Kelly was caring for her young girls and aging parents. Like any other 30-40 something year old adult with a young family and parents still living, this book gives me insight on the possible reality we might need to face.

    * Rating alert: On a scale from 1 to 10 (1=hated it, 10=love, love, LOVED), what do you give ‘The Middle Place’? Are you interested in reading Corrigan’s next novel?
    I rate this book a 10, because I actually did ‘love, love, LOVE’ it and would definitely be interested in reading other novels by Kelly Corrigan. What an amazing author and touching memoir – BRAVO!

  3. @All – Let’s keep both discussion threads open as we release book #30. Go ahead and post any comments that you might have as you finish reading… are there still readers working on this book?

  4. ginabeana says:

    I am just about finished reading (I had a late start)the book – which I love, btw. I’ll come back during my lunch time to answer the questions. Phew, this is like home work! : )

  5. @ginabeana – Great! Can’t wait to read your answers, but no pressure. We don’t want to be known as The Chicken Lit Homework Bookclub. 😉

  6. ginabeana says:

    * Given her attachment to her family, why do you think Kelly moves so far away from home at the age of twenty-five? Do you think families need to live physically close to one another to remain emotionally close? Why or why not?

    I think Kelly was ready to move at that point in her life to figure out who she is a part from her family; to have her own adventures; her own independence. I think it’s probably very similar to when High School graduates go away to college. As corny as it sounds, the distance allows you to spread your wings. I give Kelly all the credit in the world for doing it. Moving far away from family isn’t always as easy as it might seem. Sometimes absence does make the heart grow fonder. You learn to appreciate family & friends when you don’t get to see them every single day.

    How does Kelly change when she becomes a parent? In what ways does she choose the family she’s created over the one that created her? Do you think is a common occurrence as we mature into adulthood?

    Kelly grew up. Plain and simple. Not that she was immature, but she was able to shift the focus from herself to her family. Being a parent allowed Kelly to make comparisons to her childhood to her children’s childhood. She learned why her parents did things the way she did; and she learned it wasn’t easy.

    Do people need crisis—like the illness or death of a parent—to become full-fledged adults? Is it possible to outgrow childhood without losing a parent? In what ways do our parents keep us in the “child” role?

    I think crisis does help one become a full-fledged adult by pretty much forcing the person to adulthood faster – whether you like it or not or whether you are ready or not. It pretty much throws you into the adult world with little time to think about what’s happening. A crisis can really show you what you are capable of doing –things you probably never knew you were capable of doing. While being in a crisis or experiencing a death is not a prerequisite for adulthood, it definitely gets you there a lot quicker. I’m sure having a baby is another express bus to Adulthood. Although not a crisis, having a child catapults you to adulthood, because it’s not longer just about you.

    How does Kelly learn to be sick? How much help do you think she should have accepted from others, and how much should she explain and share with those trying to help? What are the benefits she finds from letting people be involved? How do Kelly’s attitudes about sickness differ from her father’s?

    I have to agree with Brenda, research was key for Kelly. She soaked up whatever research she could find when it came to her illness and her father’s illness. I think I would be the same exact way. I like to know what I’m in for. It’s so hard to say how much help she should’ve accepted or shouldn’t have accepted. I think everyone has a different comfort level. I was slightly shocked when she emailed and/or called most of her friends & family as soon as she heard the Cancer news. But, it makes total sense. Why hide it, why fight by yourself? I think it’s more comforting and advantageous when you have a slew of people in your corner; offering help; sending hats; cooking meals. Family & friends have the amazing ability to pick you up when you’re down and help you to remain standing. Her father handled his sickness much differently. He had a laid back approach; handling things whenever and not worrying (or at least not showing worry). Kelly was more intense – more of a go getter when it came to her dad’s treatment. Maybe it allowed her to think about someone else for a moment.

    What is “The Middle Place”? Why is this the title of this book? What does being in The Middle Place mean to Kelly? What does it mean to you?

    I think Kelly’s The Middle Place is the place between your parents taking care of you and you taking care of them. The roles are reversed at times. Sometimes Kelly wanted her parents to take care of her and other times Kelly wanted to take care of them, especially her father.

    For me, my Middle Place is happening right now. My marriage and being on the cusp of wanting to start my own family. I recently moved about an hour away from my family and I’ve noticed that my focus is more about my husband and I; our goals; our plans ; needs and less about the goals; plans; and needs of other members of my family. For me I think this shift is vital.

    This book is a solid 10. I would love to read another Kelly Corrigan book. I think she has her father’s gift for storytelling.

  7. @ginabeana – enjoyed reading your responses! That ‘Middle Place’ really hits home, and you nailed it perfectly.

    @all – who will be reading book 30? I finished ch 4 yesterday but will hold off until everyone’s ready. It seems to have a slow start in comparison to ‘The Middle Place’. Almost fell asleep on it! 😮

  8. maksbestfriend says:

    I left you a message on the book 30 slot. I have it but have barely cracked it, being on vacation and all that, but I will in the next day or so..heehee, other priorities..like finding t-shirts!

  9. @maksbestfriend – Got it and I understand completely! You go have fun and find some great Hawaiian t’s, while I put the book aside and read something else. Thanks for keeping us updated! 😀

  10. maksbestfriend says:

    Your t-shirt is in my shopping pile! Heehee! Go check out the blog fir pics..hey and the temp is a balmy 76 degrees this morning! 😉

  11. maksbestfriend says:

    Oops…for..

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