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I am the mother of a downs syndrome child who has significant health issues so I recognize that my perspective might be a bit different than others. I was hoping for some inspiration or life lessons that I could apply to my own life. I was hoping to find a connection in this sisterhood of being a mother of a DS child. Unfortunately, I did not connect with the author or her experience really at all. The books tone felt heavy on melodrama and seemed really self-centered. I cannot believe that the full first half of this book was focused on her own disappointment with Nelle's DS. So much grief and pain. So many people had to come to her rescue. So many pages and words dedicated to her self-pity. I never felt that level of disappointment. I always felt DS was the least of my worries, we would work with that, just keep him alive and healthy! Maybe it is because I know the real threat of not having your child at all, but I can't help but feel she should be ashamed for acting so selfishly. Ultimately, it was hard for me to complete the book because I found myself not learning anything, completely lacking empathy for her, and wanting to admonish her behavior. Liked her blog...not the book.
Selene M. (West Chicago, IL)
Bring the Kleenex
This was a very quick read only hampered by how often I had to wipe my eyes and blow my nose. It was poignant and true to life as we examine one mom's struggle with accepting a newborn with Down's Syndrome. The story takes us through the year long journey from shock and disbelief to acceptance and happiness. A sweet memoir.
Pam C. (Artesia, NM)
What an absolutely amazing book and author! So brimming over with the joy of life and living. Kelle and her family were eagerly expecting a second child; the girl they hoped for turned out to have Down syndrome, but otherwise perfectly healthy. Her book is about the choices we make to cope with life. I have no experience being a mother, but her voice spoke to me after having lost my husband in December and helped me to embrace my grief and then go beyond it to an acceptance of all that is life. Kelle is an amazing lady!
Margaret H. (Springfield, VA)
Imagine the shock when Kelle saw that her anticipated daughter, Nella, had Down syndrome. Kelle had not opted for tests to determine if this was a possibility. It wasn’t long before her pediatrician confirmed her fears but it was equally fast for her friends and family to gather around her and support her during her days in the hospital with Nella and their first year together. This memoir traces Kelle’s feelings and actions as she deals with the fact that her daughter will be different. She starts a blog and eventually reaches out to others who are parents of Down syndrome children. All along she has so much support from her many friends and her husband and family, including the other children in the family. However, this book is mainly about Kelle and very little about the things that Nella did during her first year. We hear about her going places with her mother, wearing glasses, facing blood tests, and meeting her therapist. This would have been a better book for parents of Down syndrome children if more of this information had been included and not quite so self centered. However, I suppose this is a purpose of a memoir.
Gail I. (Delray Beach, FL)
An Unexpected Blessing
This beautiful memoir of the birth of the author's second child is a lesson to us all. Having expectations for her second child and the future and realizing that her fantasy of perfection is not what life is about, Kelle leads on a journey from grieving over having a child with a handicap to support from her many friends and family members and finally acceptance and joy. I loved the photos since they made me feel as if I were part of her support group. Everyone has something. Sometimes we put too much emphasis on perfection instead of unconditional love and acceptance. It is gratifying that she found joy and learned a lesson from the birth of her "less than perfect" baby. We should all live up to our individual potential and not project our expectations upon others. A heart warming journey of life...
Sharon M. (Oceanside, CA)
BLOOM is a wonderful book. It is so much the story of my Niece who was born with Downs. It is a wonderful, tragic story. I loved the pictures of the two girls. Kelle told the story with such love. I laughed and then I cried. A wonderful story.
Linda P. (MEDFORD, WI)
A Book to be Savored
Bloom by Kelle Hampton is a wonderful book. Her prose and photos blend into a beautiful life-affirming journey about what really counts. I so enjoyed meeting her family through her words. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Run out and get this title. Enjoy!
Mary M. (Beverly Hills, FL)
Kelle Hampton's memoir of her second, much anticipated, pregnancy and the birth of her second daughter is a poignant, hilarious, and ultimately enriching story of a journey to perfection. Kelle's beautiful daughter is born with Down Syndrome (not giving anything away here) and she is devastated. She loves her daughter with all her heart and soul, but is heartbroken at what she initially sees as a tragedy for both her girls. The story of her, and her family's journey to the realization that little Nella is absolutely perfect is a story of Kelle's own soul-transforming, personal growth and understanding of the full richness of life. Hampton is a lively writer, the family photos are a welcome and charming addition, and both girls are too, too cute! This book is absolutely worth reading.