Growing up, Kelly Corrigan was always a daddy's girl, the youngest child in a happy, well-balanced Maryland family that cherished togetherness and bonding. Her father, an ad man and high school lacrosse coach, was the quintessential paterfamilias, a caring, compassionate man whose emotional support helped Kelly through many sad and troubling times. It may have helped things that she was the youngest, the only girl with two older brothers who got a lot of the defacto attention. So when the 36-year-old happily married mother of two young girls found a lump in her left breast which soon translated into cancer, among the first persons she called was her father. Then she found out that her father George also had the disease, his a form of prostate cancer which later also spread to his bladder. Their struggle, equally shared through grueling chemotherapy and false hope, helped bring about a greater bond between them and a new understanding of life in "the middle" for Corrigan.
Corrigan, a freelance magazine editorialist, pens a readable memoir of about a common subject which affects about a third of the population. The parallel journey traveled by both she and her father adds something to the mix, even as they lived on opposite ends of the country--Kelly in California, George back at the family home in Maryland. And while the book's not terribly original, the author manages to blend the issues involving her emotionally rigorous time dealing with her own fate and that of her father well enough to keep the interest of the reader. Interspersed between her present battle with the disease are segments she recalls from her childhood, charming incidents from middle school through college which do a good job of fleshing out Kelly's character and perspective. On the other hand, how many of these types of books can there be, seriously? (362.196 CORRIGAN)