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Review: Bloom

August 23, 2012

Kelle Hampton’s life seemed to be perfect.  She was close to her family and had a wonderful husband, a two year old daughter she adored, great step-sons, and another baby on the way.   Kelle had always wanted to be a mother, so she was happy and content.   When it was time for her second daughter to be born, she went to the hospital full of anticipation and excitement which was quickly replaced by grief and despair when she learned her second daughter, Nella, has Down syndrome.

Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected, by Kelle Hampton, is an absolutely gorgeous book.  The cover is just as striking as the dust jacket and the pages are thick and glossy and filled with beautiful photographs, many of which were taken by the author.   I’ve flipped through the book many times just to admire the photos.

Hampton shares her story during Nella’s first year of life from her utter despair, to her acceptance, and, finally, to her celebration of what Nella and Down syndrome could bring to their family.

Things were slowly shifting as my perspective tilted toward seeing my child having Down syndrome less as an obstacle and more as an opportunity.  An opportunity to bloom where we are planted.

I admire Hampton’s brutal honesty in this book because she doesn’t always come across as sympathetic after Nella’s birth.   She was devastated because of the difficulties Nella would face in life and also because she was worried about what other people might think.  It’s easy to sit back and judge someone when they express feelings like that but, I think if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ve all shared the same kind of emotions.

Speaking of emotions, Bloom is full of them and I found myself crying on more than one occasion.  Hampton’s writing draws the reader in and makes you feel like you’re there with her, experiencing the same thing.  My only complaint with the book was that some of it became repetitious after a while.   Having said that, I enjoyed the book a lot and hope to see more from Hampton in the future.

Review copy provided by Harper Collins. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
32 Comments leave one →
  1. August 23, 2012 7:28 am

    I heard about this book and spent an evening reading her blog. I loved her pictures and her honesty.

  2. August 23, 2012 7:59 am

    This sounds a bit like the book Expecting Adam, which Martha Beck wrote after having her own Down’s syndrome baby–Expecting Adam is well-written and very readable. It may appeal more to the academic crowd, though, as she was at Harvard when she got pregnant with Adam.

  3. August 23, 2012 9:57 am

    The Down Syndrome children I’ve known were uniformly sweet, happy kids. It takes very little to make them absolutely ecstatic. Having said that, they make me so sad because I can’t help thinking of all they miss in life. I don’t think I could bear to read this one.

  4. talesofwhimsy permalink
    August 23, 2012 10:06 am

    I’ve been wanting to try this. It seems so moving and inspiring.

  5. August 23, 2012 10:06 am

    You know I’m picky when it comes to memoirs, but this sounds like something I’d actually read. I’ll definitely keep it in mind.

  6. August 23, 2012 10:35 am

    I rarely read memoirs – I hate to admit but I prefer the People Magazine length versions!

  7. August 23, 2012 10:47 am

    Like some of the other commenters, I don’t read memoirs very often, but this one sounds touching. A friend of mine read it and really loved it.

  8. August 23, 2012 11:12 am

    This really sounds emotional, and you it had your crying wow. I enjoy the touching memoirs, will consider this one.

  9. August 23, 2012 11:29 am

    This sounds so good. I love that the author was honest about her feelings, because I’m sure many other parents share those same emotions when they have a child with Down’s. I just read January First about a father’s struggles with his daughter who suffers from schizophrenia and I thought it was such a great story, because like Bloom, he was just as honest about his feelings regarding his child’s illness, her future and how it affected him, his wife and son. These types of books are so great in showing us how the family is affected. Thanks for such a great post!

  10. August 23, 2012 11:31 am

    That definitely seems like it would be a powerful read. I have an older friend who has a teenager with Down Syndrome. I do think that parenting a child with such special needs is something that can probably never really be understood until you have to do it yourself. It would be interesting to get an inside look at that though.

  11. August 23, 2012 1:04 pm

    Wow, this sounds powerful! I’ve not read a book like this before, and I can only imagine how much emotion and tears I’d have for it as well. Compelling and thoughtful review and although there might be aspects that were repetitive, it’s great to read that you thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to more from this author. Will put this on my Goodreads TBR, thanks, Kathy!

  12. August 23, 2012 1:06 pm

    I agree with the commenter who said it reminded her of Expecting Adam–which I thought was such an amazing book, I read it aloud to my husband as soon as I finished reading it. A friend of mine has a daughter with special needs, which has brought challenges and joy that she never expected. Life is such a journey. Thanks for sharing Bloom with us.

  13. August 23, 2012 1:44 pm

    Quite a story. I liked your balanced review, and thought the trailer added so much insight into the mother and daughter. Images and her voice were powerful. Thanks for this one, K. !

  14. August 23, 2012 1:57 pm

    It sounds like a very moving book.

  15. cherylmash permalink
    August 23, 2012 3:22 pm

    This book sounds like an amazing read. Is definitely going on my tbr list. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on it.

  16. August 23, 2012 4:25 pm

    I think this would be too emotional for me.

  17. Patty permalink
    August 23, 2012 5:00 pm

    It truly sounds wonderful!

  18. August 23, 2012 5:22 pm

    I saw the book trailer for it and bawled. I can read about the darkest subjects, but I have a soft spot for kids.

  19. August 23, 2012 8:55 pm

    Beautiful sounding book!

  20. sandynawrot permalink
    August 23, 2012 9:19 pm

    I don’t know if you remember Melissa from Shhh…I’m Reading. But a couple of years ago she had a DS baby, and has since had another child. She doesn’t book blog anymore but has a blog about Claire called Moos Crossing. I have followed her almost since I started blogging and have learned so much about life with a DS child. I know I would love this book, having learned so much from her, and she would probably love it too.

  21. August 23, 2012 9:28 pm

    I could understand how a mother could have strong emotions knowing what her child will face in the future. Sounds like a compelling story.

  22. August 23, 2012 11:49 pm

    I appreciate the author’s honesty. I think most people’s first reaction would be despair when faced with the same circumstance. This does sound like an inspiring read. I don’t read many memoirs but this one appeals to me.

  23. August 24, 2012 2:09 am

    Great review! After a long wait I finally got this book recently from my library. I had seen the author’s blog and read about her family’s amazing journey and that she had a book coming out. I was very impressed by her photography and crafting skills too. I look forward to reading the rest of this book!

  24. August 24, 2012 8:07 am

    I do like memoirs but want to start seeking out uplifting ones – this sounds like it would be one I’d enjoy. I’ll look for it!

  25. August 24, 2012 1:20 pm

    I do think it’s easy to judge what she might have been feeling, but I do agree that most of us would have had the same thoughts. This sounds like a really powerful read, and one that would pull the tears out of me as well. It must have been a difficult book to write, and even more difficult to live out. Great review today!

  26. August 25, 2012 3:06 pm

    What a difficult thing to put out there for the masses. As a new mom I can understand he devastation and I can imagine the dark thoughts that get into your head. It was very brave of her to air them instead of pretending they weren’t there.

  27. bookingmama permalink
    August 26, 2012 11:09 am

    The appeal to me is that she is so honest. I can’t imagine the thoughts that would run through your brain.

  28. August 26, 2012 8:43 pm

    I think she is to be admired for sharing her emotions honestly .. even if they weren’t flattering to her. I’m sure her feelings are what most people would feel but I’m not sure how many would admit them in public.

  29. Staci@LifeintheThumb permalink
    August 27, 2012 7:05 am

    I watched the trailer of this one and wanted to read it immediately. My copy never showed up…oh well. I will be adding this to my TBR list!

  30. August 27, 2012 12:49 pm

    This is in my TBR pile…you have made me want to move it up!

  31. October 22, 2012 5:51 pm

    As Sandy mentioned, I used to blog at Shhh I’m Reading (no time for book blogging anymore!) and I finally got around to reading this one. I posted my review on my blog, but thought it had both the good and the bad, as does any book. I love that Kelle is bringing more awareness to Down syndrome. Her photographs have shown so many people that Down syndrome isn’t scary. Yes, there are unknowns, but you have that when you parent *anyone*.

  32. April 25, 2013 7:51 pm

    Having just read and posted on this book, I had to revisit your review, Kathy. The trailer is beautiful and the book is as well.

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