Monday, May 28, 2012

"Bloom" by Kelle Hampton. Reviewed by Tricia Ann Dutterer

I didn't intend to write this.  I figured I would just let it go, but I decided, why not.  So I'm going to just go for it. 

First of all, I want to recognize the things about Bloom that I liked.  I liked her honesty.  She was transparent and raw in sharing her emotions.  In her blog, she has not been very open on her thoughts about Down syndrome and her struggles, and I think she opened up more in the book.  She's still unicorns and rainbows, because she always goes back to the same fundamentals:  Nothing else matters, because I love my child.

I LOVE how she has the pictures in the book too.  If I ever write a book, I think I might steal that little idea. 

In college, while learning to be an elementary school teacher, I learned that during a parent-teacher conference, you should tell the parent what you like/ the positive, then give the negative.  I did my positives, so here's my "negatives".

Kelle made reference to the fact that "she was going to do this different".  I get that she's all unicorns and rainbows, and even though she is a pretty extreme version of that, I don't feel like she is doing things so different than most of us do.  I think the vast majority of us are celebrating our children and focusing on the positive.  We are not walking around depressed, with a black veil over our faces.  We are living every day and loving our child.  Some of us share our struggles with things like gross motor or speech or sensory issues, or whatever more freely, but it doesn't mean we're dark and twisty.  We're just being honest and trying to help someone else who may be feeling the same way.

I felt like I was judged for being a Christian.  Because certainly I must hate anyone who lives a lifestyle that is different than mine.  I don't, by the way.  I also must think that anyone who is gay is going to Hell.  I don't think that, either, by the way.  The Bible makes it clear the Way to Heaven, and that's Jesus Christ.  You know that whole "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life."  It's true. 

I felt like I was mocked for being a Christian.  You know, the whole "God spinners" thing.  Sure, there are people that use God as a cliche and could care less about God until their version of God fits into their life.  But I believe that God has a plan, and I'm not "spinning" God when I say that.  The Bible says, "But the very hairs of your head are all numbered" in Matthew 10:30.  And in Matthew 6:26, it says,  "Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?"  It's like saying, Hello!  If God cares about a stupid bird, don't you think he cares so much more about you?  Does that mean that God's hand is absent from things when tragedy happens?  No, of course not.  God does not want anyone to suffer, but some things just are, because they are a part of life.  Death and sickness are a part of life.  I would never go up to someone who just lost a loved one and say, "Oh, it must have been God's plan", because that is not helpful.  But I would encourage them to turn to God for peace, because it's there.  And I know it's there when I look at ladies like this one or this one.

Ok, and now for the part that I know is going to make me really uncool, which I am pretty uncool, by the way.  But I'm cool with that, because it's been that way my whole life.  In middle school, I got made fun of for wearing tennis shoes from PayLess and clothes from KMart.  I still wear shoes from PayLess, by the way.  And if there was a KMart in our town, I'd go right now and buy a shirt.  In high school, I was known as the girl who never talked.  And then in college, I started to figure that it's ok to be who I am.  So here goes.  I find it completely annoying when people cuss.  And not just annoying, but I feel like it makes them sound less intelligent.  It doesn't mean they are not intelligent, it just sounds that way.  We have a beautiful language, full of descriptive and colorful words and someone has to use a 4 letter cuss word to describe how scared or surprised or mad they were.  C'mon, there's so many better ways.  By the end of Bloom, it felt like I was reading cuss words on every page.  I would never let my kids read it, and I wouldn't recommend that they read it either. 

And for uncool thing number 2:  I find the sentiment of "throwing back a cold one", whenever life's troubles arise, unappealing.  I grew up with an alchoholic.  We would come home after an evening out at soccer practice or where ever, and he would be so passed out, drunk that we had to climb in the window, because we were locked out, and he couldn't hear us knocking.  When I was probably around 6 or 7 years old, I remember sneaking into the beer stash and dumping it all out into the yard, because I didn't want him to drink anymore.  And I'm sure when he went to get more, he just figured he had forgotten, and it was all gone.  And by the end of Bloom, I felt like the running theme was, "Hey if you're having a rough day, just drink.  It makes everything better."  I don't know if she was trying to come off as cool, because she wants her kids to think she was the cool mom when they read the book one day.

So that's what I thought about the book.  Boo me if you want.

As far as Kelle, I respect everything she has done in the Down syndrome community.  All of the interviews she has done only bring more awareness to Down syndrome and how beautiful it is, and I love that.  I love her writing (when she's not cussing), and I love her pictures.  I'm just not a big fan of the book.

Blog: Life is Beautiful 


  1. "I don't feel like she is doing things so different than most of us do. I think the vast majority of us are celebrating our children and focusing on the positive." Agreed 100%.

  2. Love your individuality and plain speaking voice and great points! But I do myself cuss a bit because it feels so darn good sometimes, sorry :)