I’ve been corresponding with Jennifer Graf Groneberg, who writes the review column at 5 Minutes for Special Needs each month about possibly teaming up and doing joint reviews. When she said that she was reviewing The Middle Place, I knew that I wanted to share more of my thoughts right here (for a more traditional review, read the one at 5 Minutes for Mom). Jennifer will usually be focusing on books which are written for or by parents of children with special needs. The Middle Place does not fit this category, but to Jennifer, the mother of a son with Down syndrome, it resonated. You can read her thoughts on this great book in this month’s book column at 5 Minutes for Special Needs.
When she brought up that angle, I immediately thought of one of the things that stood out to me the first time I read this book. When Kelly Corrigan was diagnosed with breast cancer, she sends out these emails to her friends and family outlining in a very matter-of-fact way what the plan of attack was. She seemed almost glib.
However, I had to think back to nine years ago when we received a diagnosis for our newborn Amanda (which I wrote about on my blog). What did I do? The exact same thing. I sent out a big mass email to friends and family–those who knew we had been waiting on a diagnosis and treatment, and those who did not. The responses I received must have been similar to those that Kelly Corrigan received, ranging from “Oh, we’re sorry,” (when I really didn’t want or need their pity), to “My friend’s son had to get classes as a baby, and it’s just a part of him, so she’ll be cute” (which is probably what I did need).
Thinking back on my initial thoughts of the book, I find it funny that I was sort of critical of her (or at least perplexed by her actions), when in reality I had acted in the same way when faced with a similar situation.
I think that’s why discussing books with others adds an important layer to our understanding of them, and perhaps of ourselves as well. I might not have made that connection if I hadn’t have framed it in that context when chatting via email with Jennifer Groneberg.
Morninglight Mama left a comment yesterday on the Children’s Classics roundup post saying, “I’ve been enjoying reading others’ ideas about classics, and it’s a great experience to be in the company of other book lovers.”
To that I say, “Yes indeed!” That’s why I want this to be not just a book-review blog, but a community of people who love books. Our thoughts about books can change our thoughts about ourselves, as I just demonstrated, and sometimes it even takes some time to settle before we realize it.
When has a book changed you or your thoughts about yourself?
Managing Editor Jennifer Donovan is a contributing editor at 5 Minutes for Mom. She has been blogging at Snapshot for over two years. You’ll almost always find her holding either a book, a fork, a child’s hand, her laptop, or some combination therein.