My favorite authors are those that invite you into their lives to become one of their family members, friends, or loved ones for the duration of the book. Kelly Corrigan is one of these authors. I had the pleasure of hearing her speak at Book Passage today. She is even funnier, smarter, and wittier in person, with her book The Middle Place having already set a very high standard.
Because her book magically weaves tales of cancer, being a parent while also having parents, and lots of humor, she had us all crying and laughing. The majority female audience continued to grow as she spoke. At one point I counted ninety people or so, but more kept arriving (and staying.)
She asked those who have had or currently have cancer to stand so we could support them, and at least fifteen people stood. One was a woman, thirty years old or so, sitting in front of me with a knit black hat covering her bare head. All I had to do was see her wiping tears, and then I was done for.
When Kelly read, she kept interrupting herself to tell us back stories, or follow-ups, which were just as hilarious or touching as the material she was reading. It was like getting the director’s commentary on a movie.
But overall, from hearing her talk and reading her book, what I came away with is the optimism that she shares with her father. It’s contagious, and you come away wanting to be a better person. “I’m so lucky,” she says, and you can’t help but believe her.
I feel that anyone who is a parent, has parents, grew up Catholic (or Irish-American), has been touched by cancer, or even knows someone who is any of these things will find themselves relating to and laughing at her self-effacing stories. I limited myself to buying only three additional copies for friends.
To see her touching video that has become viral (in a good way) click here.