Bloom - Book Review by Adrienne Schroeder
May 04, 2012
Posted By: Shaunescy
Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected is a
memoir by Kelle Hampton that was published on
April 3rd, 2012. It went to #11 on the New York
Times Bestsellers list the same month.
I have loved to read my whole life. I have so many memories of being in my lavender bedroom as a child, lying on my bed, reading for hours and hours. And in all these years, and all the amazing books I've read, I have never, ever been compelled to get the word out about one like this. I have never ordered several copies from my bookstore to start passing out to my friends and family. Sure, I've given the occasional book to a friend after I read it and enjoyed it, but not like this, and not until it was out in paperback.
But I can't say enough about a new book called Bloom, by Kelle Hampton. It is her story, the story of a mother who finds out at the birth of her second child, that her much anticipated little girl has Down syndrome. But this is not a book about Down syndrome. This is a book about love. About motherhood, about acceptance, about the importance of family and friends, about what kind of life you will choose to live. It is inspiring.
Kelle Hampton has been on my radar for a couple of years, ever since my friend who happens to have a little girl with Down syndrome, suggested I check her out. She knew I would appreciate Kelle Hampton's story, but also wanted me to see her blog because I am a photographer and she knew I would love her photos. And I do, they are gorgeous.
I have to admit though, at the time, I didn't actually read much of the blog, I mostly scrolled through it looking at her pictures. For whatever reason, I wasn't ready to read it yet. But recently I was flipping through a magazine and I saw a picture of a beautiful, young woman with two little girls, one of whom had Down syndrome. I quickly realized it was Kelle Hampton and that apparently she had just written a book about her experience.
I went back to her blog, this time fully ready to read what she had to say. I saw the heading "start here if you're new" and clicked. It was her birth story. I read it in the middle of the night on my iPhone, lying in bed between my two youngest children. It was so honest, so touching, so reminded me of what my friend went through, what she must have gone through that none of us even realized, that I just laid there and wept. Not tears of sadness, but tears of empathy and compassion from one mother to another mother, from one friend to another friend.
The next day I went to the bookstore and bought my friend and I each a copy of the book. I had to read it too, and it was the fastest I've read a book since having my second child (at which time books were mostly replaced by magazines and I was lucky to get through one of those).
And while this was probably the most uplifting book I've ever read, I quickly realized I couldn't eat while I was reading it because every few pages there was something so amazing or humbling or beautiful that I would start crying and choke on my food. And just when you think the author might get on your nerves for being so positive, she tells a story about how hot her daughter’s physical therapist is and you realize you could totally be friends with her.
I find that kind of honesty so refreshing. I almost didn't want to finish the book because I so enjoyed being inspired each day that I read it. Not just inspired, but reminded of the kind of person I want to be. Reminded that lots of things in life are not as you imagined them, and the only thing you can really control is the way you react to them. The way you handle yourself in the midst of it all.
And while I happen to have someone in my life that I love who has Down syndrome, it doesn't matter if you've never known anyone with Ds. Because we all love. As parents, we are consumed with love for our children. It drives us, and warms us and teaches us. And that is what this book is about.
The book opens with a quote by Mary Oliver. A question I’ve been asking myself ever since I finished reading it. A question I would imagine everyone who reads it will be asking themselves…
"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
Adrienne submitted this book review to us this past week. Montana Parent is always open to suggestions and recommendations. Have you read a book recently that you want to tell us about? Leave a comment below or shoot an email our way!