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I Wore The Ocean In The Shape Of A Girl: Kelle Groom

Tuesday, June 7, 2011
At the age of fifteen, Kelle Groom found that alcohol allowed her to connect with people and explore intimacy in ways she’d never been able to experience before. She began drinking before class, often blacked out at bars, and fell into destructive relationships. At nineteen, already an out-of-control alcoholic, she was pregnant. Accepting the heartbreaking fact that she was incapable of taking care of her son herself, she gave him up for adoption to her aunt and uncle. They named him Tommy and took him home with them to Massachusetts. When he was nine months old, the boy was diagnosed with leukemia—but Kelle’s parents, wanting the best for her, kept her mostly in the dark about his health. When Tommy died he was only fourteen months old. Having lost him irretrievably, Kelle went into an accelerating downward spiral of self-destruction. She emerged from this free fall only when her desire to stop drinking connected her with those who helped her to get sober.
In stirring, hypnotic prose, I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl explores the most painful aspects of Kelle’s addiction and loss with unflinching honesty and bold determination. Urgent and vital, exquisite and raw, her story is as much about maternal love as it is about survival, as much about acceptance as it is about forgiveness. Kelle’s longing for her son remains twenty-five years after his death. It is an ache intensified, as she lost him twice—first to adoption and then to cancer. In this inspiring portrait of redemption, Kelle charts the journey that led her to accept her addiction and grief and to learn how to live in the world.
Through her family’s history and the story of her son’s cancer, Kelle traces with clarity and breathtaking grace the forces that shape a life, a death, and a literary voice.

Good Reads Summary

The first thing that will strike the reader is the honesty and openness of the author, a rare find in books.  The reader will be thrown into a chaotic world where the main character is not in control of her life, constantly rolling with the punches (metaphorically speaking).  The reader will barely have time to process one event when another takes place.  This author really knows how to allow a reader to probe inside her mind.  Following the main character's life from horrible to bad to semi-better to good is a very interesting process, even more so because this is a true story.  The main character will soon feel like a friend to her readers, some will want to shake her at times and hug her in others.  The events described in the novel are painfully detailed to the point of where the reader feels the embarrassment or shame that the main character is feeling; this author can really evoke feeling in her readers.  Any novel that contains a life lesson may be thought of as cliche, however, this novel completely sidesteps this typical quality.  The plot is unique, as it is a true story; the characters are real and the main character really grows on the reader.  This novel is terrific for young adults and adults who appreciate true-to-life stories and are willing to mull through hard events.


  1. Anonymous said...: Here is the video trailer for the novel

  1. LBC said...:
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  1. LBC said...:

    I recently reviewed this book on my blog The Scarlet Letter. I also thought it felt very honest and that was one of the strengths of the book for sure.