Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Review: Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected--A Memoir
Author: Kelle Hampton
Publisher: William Monroe
Genre: Non-fiction, Memoir
Synopsis: (from Goodreads): The author of the popular blog Enjoying the Small Things recounts the first year of life with her daughter Nella, born with Down syndrome-a celebration of the beauty found in the unexpected, the strength of a mother's love, and, the gift of experiencing life in a wondrous new way
Love me. Love me. I'm not what you expected, but oh, please love me.
That was the most defining moment of my life. That was the beginning of my story.
When photographer Kelle Hampton learned she was pregnant with her second child, she and her husband, Brett, were ecstatic. Her pregnancy went smoothly and the ultrasounds showed a beautiful, healthy, high-kicking baby girl.
But when her new daughter was placed in her arms in the delivery room, Kelle knew instantly that something was wrong. Nella looked different than her two-year-old sister Lainey had at birth. As she watched friends and family celebrate with champagne toasts and endless photographs, a terrified Kelle was certain that Nella had Down syndrome-a fear her pediatrician soon confirmed. Yet gradually Kelle's fear and pain were vanquished by joy, as she embraced the realization that she had been chosen to experience an extraordinary and special gift.
Bloom takes readers on a wondrous journey through Nella's first year of life-a gripping, hilarious, and intensely poignant trip of transformation in which a mother learns that perfection comes in all different shapes. It is a story about embracing life and really living it, of being fearless and accepting difference, of going beyond constricting definitions of beauty, and of the awesome power of perspective. As Hampton writes, "There is us. Our Family. We will embrace this beauty and make something of it. We will hold our precious gift and know that we are lucky."
My Review: I stumbled across Nella's birth story on day on the web. I didn't start following the blog but the story really stuck with me. It did so for a few reasons. First it was a moving story. Second I know how a medical diagnosis can rock your world, though in my case it was MY diagnosis. Third, I remembered the feelings I had when G had an increased possibility of having DS. I was really excited when I heard Kelle Hampton was going to have a book coming out. I even pre-ordered it!
Bloom was delivered on it's release date and I delved right in! Unfortunately I found myself not connecting with the book, with the story, but almost annoyed.
I guess I should start with the book itself. It is bigger and heavier than a normal hardcover. It seems like it is trying to double as a photography book and there are a lot of pictures in it. I found the layout of the pictures to be odd. they would just randomly be on the side of a page, then the bottom, then on both. It was distracting and I didn't find that more than 50%, if that, helped to really supplement the story. I know why they were included but they just didn't work for me.
As far as the story goes Kelle just felt over the top to me. I couldn't relate to her. I found myself getting frustrated with her. Her writing was over descriptive and felt very self-indulgent.
With all of the above said I don't think that is my place to judge her story. I can comment on the layout of the book and the actual writing, but in the end the story belongs to her. It is her life, her daughter, her grief, and her hope, not mine. I admire her openness, the courage that it must have taken to write and share some of the things in this book. I love where she ended up in the end. Kelle might have taken the long way around but she ended in a good place. Acceptance and love for Nella, and the rest of her family, an understanding of what might be ahead of them, and the willingness to deal with those problems as they come up while living and loving life one day at a time. Oh, and Nella is simply adorable!!
If you are interested in this book, read it, digest it, and feel for yourself. Just because it didn't turn out to be for me doesn't mean that it won't be just what you need.
I wish Kelle, Nella, and the rest of the Hampton family all the best as they continue their journey!