Sunday, April 18, 2010

Book Review - Lift by Kelly Corrigan


Title: Lift
Author: Kelly Corrigan
Year: 2010
Page: 95
Genre: Non-fiction, family

New to me author? Yes
Read this author again? Don't know
Tearjerker? No
Where did it take place? US
FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

Summary (from
Penned as a letter to her two young daughters, the latest from author Corrigan is an attempt to illuminate their particular relationship ("I want to put down on paper how things started with us"), and an ambitious, inspirational meditation on parenthood in general. A slim volume, it perhaps suffers for its brevity but recounts engagingly events like Corrigan and her husband's decision to start a family, and baby Claire's bout with viral meningitis, "the beginning of how I came to know what a bold and dangerous thing parenthood is." She also examines the gifts all mothers hope to present their kids: "a decent childhood, more good memories than bad, some values, a sense of a tribe, a run at happiness." Fans of Corrigan's The Middle Place, a memoir of her fight with cancer, will welcome the return of figures like Corrigan's father, Greenie, and should appreciate her wistful but down-to-earth thoughts on parenthood. Newcomers might be less inspired, but should appreciate Corrigan's charm and honesty.

First Sentence:
Dear Georgia and Claire, You're both in bed now.

Why did I pick this book?
Read about this book from Lesley Book Nook (see review here) - she said, "After finishing Lift, I did something I've never done before. I turned around and read it again." How can I not pick up this book? This book was written as a letter to the author's two children. As my husband and I are deciding whether to start a family, I thought perhaps the book would provide some insight - for what it's worth - we're really on the fence... and since I usually suffer from analysis paralysis, I need to do my research to see the pro and con side of each issue :p We really enjoy our lifestyle right now as a 2-people family, we also want to see if having child(ren) is something we should consider. We both like kids (but like giving them back to the parents at the end of the day!), but my biological clock just has never ticked... Since I'll be turning 33 later this year, we really need to think more seriously about this. I guess when we decide to have kid(s), I just want to make sure we're both 100% willing to accept the responsibilities and not regret or recent our decision. I know some said you're never ready, but at least I want to be "willing to try to be ready" if that makes sense. The last thing I'd want is to have a kid who feels they aren't wanted. I definitely don't see there's anything wrong with child-free family if the couple choose so, though it seems like there is sometimes a negative association about it (that they are selfish, that they don't know what they're missing out on, that their life is not complete).

My thoughts:
  • This is an extremely small book - 5x7" and rather thin. I finished it in less than an hour.
  • I am afraid to say I don't find it very inspirational or touching. I don't know if it's because I don't know much about the author (she mentioned fighting breast-cancer), or that because I don't have kids, I don't quite feel what she felt? I was hoping it'd at least be a bit more influential or persuasive on why having kids is so great, especially since the author said (p63) 
"Now, though, for me, the most unthinkable loss would be never to have had a child in the first place."

  • I don't know if really what I have (or don't have) right now is a loss... I definitely don't see it this way. In fact, my husband and I had talked about it that if we have decided to start a family, but have trouble with it, that we'll be okay with it. We will adopt if we feel strongly about having a more-than-two-person family. But of course that's my own opinion, just as the author is entitled to hers. Guess we just don't agree... and that's okay
  • I guess I just really didn't find anything groundbreaking, and the "thing that utterly altered the way I look at you was not the cancer or the hysterectomy. I twas Aaron, Cousin Kathy's lanky, broad-shouldered boy" was not something too surprising... I am not doubting the impact it has on the author's outlook, but it just didn't affect me the way it perhaps should
  • I hope you don't think I am a cold-heart person. I am sure the author's two daughters would appreciate this book. In fact, if there's something good that comes of for it, is that if we do end up having any kids, I want to document my thoughts to them (i.e., if I could find the time - yes I have read how many sleepless nights there are for new parents!) Perhaps it is just that I'd read quite a few heartbreaking parent-child love books previously that this book didn't quite has the same effect on me. I guess once (if) I have kids, and re-read this book, I may feel differently.


    I didn't know they do this:

    ... took me to Leon, born the day before, at forteen ounces. he had a toube down his throat and wires taped to his chest. Near his face, someone had laid a piece of fabric about as big as a gum wrapper. Ken said it was a scent square.

    "Parents wear the fabric on their skin -- moms tuck it in their bras, dads rub it between their fingers -- and before they leave for the night, they set the square by the baby's nose... so he'll know them when they return." (p23)


    Have you read this book? 
    If you have, I would love to hear what you think!
    I'll link your review here if you wish!

    100+ Reading

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