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Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected--A Memoir
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Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected--A Memoir

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  5,501 ratings  ·  818 reviews
Bloom is an inspiring and heartfelt memoir that celebrates the beauty found in the unexpected, the strength of a mother’s love, and, ultimately, the amazing power of perspective. The author of the popular blog Enjoying the Small Things—named The Bump’s Best Special Needs Blog and The Blog You’ve Learned the Most From in the 2010 BlogLuxe Awards—Kelle Hampton interweaves ly ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published April 3rd 2012 by William Morrow (first published 2012)
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this one got an extra star for the nice photography & for the author's heartwrenching honesty about meeting her daughter. being a mom, i recognize that it can't have been easy to admit how devastated she was to learn upon birth that her daughter had down syndrome. & indeed most of the people that are marking the book down are doing so because they are disgusted with hampton's initial attitude (she claims that she sobbed all night & thought things like that she'd wasted a beautiful na ...more
Jul 18, 2012 rated it did not like it
I have to say I was disappointed when I realized that this book was written by the same author as the over- the-top birth blog I have seen on the internet in the past, and included even more of the staged, professionally shot yet supposedly candid photos of the entire birth experience. ("I cried all night and writhed in pain at the thought of my child having Down syndrome, calling out to friends to save me and sobbing uncontrollably so that when I awakened, my face was so swollen I looked like a ...more
Jun 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Knowing nothing of Kelle Hampton before reading Bloom, I got the sense that she's lead a very happy existence with everything always as close to perfection as it could be. Perfect clothes, perfect hair, perfect parties thrown with a theme with even the minute details falling within said theme, a huge circle of perfectly fabulous friends. Basically, it sounds like she's lived much of her life in a wonderfully close and fun sorority. She even calls babies littles in her book.

Fast-forward to the bi
Jonna Rubin
Apr 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I am not the kind of person who would usually pick up this book. I am cynical, crabby, never read blogger books and generally find people who are shiny, happy and throw parties like Kelle Hampton to be . . . not my kind of people.

Except. Kelle is my kind of people. If you glance at Kelle's blog, it's easy to write her off as a lifestyle blogger, with her perfect Christmas parties (REINDEER GLITTER, FOR GOD'S SAKE) and adorable fashion sense and gorgeous, gorgeous pictures. The thing is, however
Mar 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I won this in a Goodreads giveaway and want to start off by saying this is one of the prettiest books ever. When I got it in the mail last night I was petting the pages and enjoying the gorgeous pictures, when I saw a picture of a woman with champagne glasses being toasted in front of her wearing a face that screamed of her numbness. It was then that it hit me that I had seen that picture before, that picture had brought me to tears before.

I've been a lazy blog reader for the last year or so an
Liz DeMar
Dec 14, 2012 rated it it was ok
There is a lot of good in this book: good attitudes and outlooks, a good support system, a very strong attempt to normalize Down syndrome. There is also about this story that strikes as unrealistic and shallow. Frankly, Kelle has had a tremendously easy experience compared to many of us. In fact as I read her story, I felt jealous. More than once I wondered how someone could write a whole book over something that, from my perspective, seems kind of trivial. Kelle doesn't help this perception; sh ...more
Apr 25, 2012 rated it did not like it
Kelle Hampton is presented with the remarkable gift of parenting a child with Down Syndrome, yet from the moment Nella is born it is all about appearances and her perfect world. Her disappointment made me sick to my stomach. And though I don't know what it's like for a minute to walk the path of a parent with a child that has special needs, so it's hard to pass judgement on her. But for someone who has a full makeup and hair during labor and delivery...well that says it all! And I appreciate her ...more
Jul 25, 2012 rated it did not like it
I hated this book. I hated it less by the end, but hated it nevertheless. Hampton writes about her "trials" of unexpectedly becoming the mother of a down syndrome child. To me, the whole book was more of a "poor me" approach by Hampton than a guide for other parents in the same boat. It seriously came across to me that she was absolutely stunned to be given anything but a perfect child. I in no way mean to discount the fear and devastation that I'm sure parents feel in this type of situation; ho ...more
Jul 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
I expected this book to be a memoir about what it is like to raise a special-needs child. Instead, it was a memoir about accepting being a mother to a special-needs child. I don't doubt the author has a good heart, but her voice came across as shallow and selfish. The only thing that bumped my rating from one to two stars is the author's fairly regular admittance that she is/was selfish and cares/cared too much about what other people think.

I lived in Fort Myers for a while, and I would describ
Oct 27, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club, memoir
I'd debated between 2 and 3 stars but after hovering over Goodreads' star ratings and saw that a 2 was "it was ok" and a 3 was "I liked it" I had to go with a 2.

I read Nella's Birth Story and started reading Kelle Hampton's blog a few years ago. I eventually stopped following the blog because I found the more "commercial" the blog became, the less authentic it felt. I read this book because it was selected for my book club. I read a lot of the reviews, particularly the negative ones, and then th
Jul 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
I read/follow Kelle's blog and enjoy it. She is very inspiring and I love her positive approach. She does use some language in the book (which I guess I'm sensitive to since I keep mentioning that in my reviews!). I don't always hold the same views as her, but I can tell you that I look up to her and love how she shares her real feelings going through Nella's birth and finding out she has DS.

It saddens me to see such negative comments about her and her book, about how she handled it and about w
Apr 16, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am struggling to write this review, but since I've read some of the others, I think I can confidently express my personal thoughts.

As a parent of a child with autism (not definitively diagnosed until she was 14 years old, although we have been "in the system" since she was 3), I was initially put off by the grief and despair that Kelle expresses upon learning her daughter is "imperfect." I thought a lot about why I reacted that way and I think it's important to realize that our life experience
Apr 23, 2012 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to love this book. Having worked with children & adults with developmental disabilities, I can relate to the challenges that parents face. But I am not the parent of a child with Down's so maybe I was insensitive while reading the book. My heart broke for Kelle's child. Picture after picture showed this beautiful little baby. Not only beautiful but HEALTHY!!! So many parents don't have a healthy baby when the child is born with Down's. But Kelle went on and on and on about he ...more
Oct 13, 2012 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one.
Shelves: discontinued
I had to stop reading this book about 1/3 through. I tried to keep going, but it was torture. I have a child with Down syndrome. I realize that people have all different reactions to a birth diagnosis. However, Kelle Hampton walked out of the hospital with a perfectly healthy, beautiful baby, and yet her book is one big pity party after another. If I had read one more page about another person walking into the hospital room and sobbing with her, I think I would have thrown up. The title says "fi ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
May 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Kelle lived a charmed existence, marrying the man of her dreams, having a beautiful baby girl, expecting her second child, surrounded by warm loving family and friends, starting a blog about the joys of being a wife and mother.

Then she had her second child and knew something was not right. It did not take long for the doctors to tell her that the baby girl had Down syndrome.

It did take a while for Kelle to face and accept this, and it took the help of the warm loving family and friends for her t
Oct 13, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non
After reading a review of this book on Jessica's blog, I started reading Kelle's blog from the beginning. I loved her happy attitude, how she put a positive spin on everything, making magic out of everyday life, and how completely she loved her firstborn daughter. The book helped fill in a lot of gaps that the blog didn't cover - like Kelle's childhood, her experiences as a teacher, and how she met her husband. After awhile, though, her optimistic demeanor started to wear on me. I appreciate her ...more
Jun 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely the best book I've read in a long time! I found it at Target and picked it up for the photos that are interspersed throughout of the author and her daughter and family. I really didn't read the synopsis and didn't know how much this book would move me when I put it in my shopping cart.
Cried tears of heartache, joy, and understanding through out this whole book. I too have a daughter with Down Syndrome and I felt like the author had crawled into my brain and wrote down the thoughts I h
Mar 31, 2012 rated it it was ok
I also have a daughter who has Down syndrome, and I have been following Kelle Hampton's blog since the birth story post. I wanted to love this book, but I just didn't. The book rehashes the diagnosis and aftermath, and while that's interesting, it's not enough to fill almost 300 pages.

I also felt that it seemed...forced. She seems really interested in proving that she is at peace with the diagnosis, and it did not always ring true to me. What's that expression, "Show, don't tell?" There's an aw
Jun 26, 2012 rated it did not like it
I found myself liking EVERYONE in the book except the author. To me the passage that sums up the whole book for me is when she calls her brother, who according to her knows her better than anyone, and what does he say FIRST after she tells him her daughter has Down's...."just love her Kel, PLEASE love her." If he felt he had to say that to her that shows more about her true mind set than any other spin she tried to pass off in the book. If you read between the lines and really look at the photos ...more
Jun 02, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: memoirs
All I could think of as I read this book was the author should get together with Elizabeth Gilbert (of Eat, Pray, Love fame - another book I didn't like). Then they can whine together. Maybe whining is the wrong word...this was just too surface. Every once in a while I'd see a glimmer of something that could be a good. But not often. Maybe I'm wrong to compare this memoir with the likes of Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking or in Blue Nights), Roger Rosenblatt (Making Toast), Calvin Trill ...more
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dead-baby, memoir
Well, this touched me very much, and I felt like I had my face pressed to the glass of what our lives could've looked like had everything been different. I am so impressed with the author's brave willingness to give such an unflinching, genuine, honest account of what having this baby was like for her. I was so moved.

Now understand, she is no writer, and you know it within sentences. I would never have given it a half chance if I hadn't wanted to live inside her story so much. She is a blogger
Amy Kannel
Sep 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, motherhood
After sitting at my computer in tears reading Kelle Hampton’s account of her daughter’s birth a couple of years ago, I was thrilled to find out that she had published a book. Nella Cordelia was born in January 2010, and she unexpectedly has Down syndrome. Bloom is Kelle’s memoir of the first year of Nella’s life, as she adjusted to a very different mothering experience than she anticipated and learned to delight in her new daughter and her new normal. The book features full-color photos througho ...more
As Kelle Hampton and her husband prepare to welcome their second little girl, they have no idea that lovely Nella, new little sister to their beloved Lainey, will present more new challenges — and opportunities — than they could ever have imagined.

Born with Down syndrome, Nella’s condition was a complete shock to the Hamptons . . . especially Kelle, who was suddenly forced to reconcile the dreams she had for the “sister” relationship her daughters would share and left to grapple with how a speci
Jul 23, 2012 rated it liked it
I had never heard of Kelle Hampton before I read this book. But apparently she is quite well-known in the Mommy blogosphere and in the Down syndrome community. Her blog has almost 20,000 followers and it has won several awards. She’s been on the Today show and other similar venues. So apparently a lot of people know of her and those that do seem to either love or hate her. I’m not going to take such a polar stance but I will say the first thing that popped into my head as I read the first chapte ...more
May 04, 2012 rated it liked it
I identify with the difficulty of accepting that your child has a disability. It can take years to fully and completely accept that reality. It doesn't mean that you don't love your child or accept him the way he is. It's just difficult and new parenting challenges can pop up at any time, even years after a diagnosis. As the parent of a child with a disability, it's hard to see your child put herself out there, to try to play soccer or to go on a school field trip and see it not work out like it ...more
I really wanted to like this book and expected so much more from it. I was pleasantly surprised by the gorgeous colour photos throughout the novel but that was the only high point for me; unfortunately for the author, including pictures of your beautiful children will not earn any extra stars from me.
I was greatly disturbed by the author's lack of acceptance of her new daughter, but it went beyond that. The book was dull and boring. Even with such an interesting obstacle, I felt like nothing ha
Jan 25, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ms. Hampton should be ashamed of herself. She is not a writer. Her book is self-serving, over indulgent, sham of a publication. Page after boring page is devoted to her deep and all consuming desire to run away from the nightmare of her daughter's surprise Down syndrome diagnosis. while some describe this as raw, and real, all I see are the many dollar signs in Kelle Hampton's eyes. In what world does a stay at home mom and blog wrter from Naples, FL get a book offer and agent "a few months afte ...more
Oct 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
First my feelings on Kelle prior to reading this book, I follow her blog and have for quite a while, I find her to be likeable but sometimes over the top and too much.

I LOVED this book and it made me really see where she is coming from in her sometimes over the top attitude and it made me appreciate the detail she puts into everything she seems to do.

I was on a road trip with my husband while I was reading this and more than once he looked over at me and asked me to take a break because he coul
Jun 21, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps my expectations were too high; I thought I would really like this book and it was only just okay for me. It is not about what it's like to have a baby who is born with Down syndrome. It is about the mother coming to terms with that diagnosis.

While I applaud the author for being so honest in telling about her shock, grief, etc., in regards to the birth of her daughter, after a while I really got tired of the whining. I wanted to tell her to just suck it up and get over it. You feel what
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Writer and photographer Kelle Hampton chronicles the simple joys of motherhood and daily life on her popular blog, Enjoying the Small Things. She has been recognized as a Babble Top 50 Mom Blogger, and her blog was named The Best Special Needs Blog by The Bump and The Blog You've Learned the Most From in the 2010 BlogLuxe Awards. An advocate for individuals with Down syndrome, Kelle has been honor ...more
“You know, through pain, you learn a lot about yourself--things you thought you never knew you wanted to learn. And it's kind of like those animals that regrow a part of their body--like a starfish. You might not feel it. You might not even want to grow, but you will. You'll grow that part that broke off, and that growing, that blooming--cannot happen without the pain.” 24 likes
“Through pain and growth, I have come to appreciate -no, more than that-I've come to love my fence, even though it may be different than the neighbors'. The concept of perfection is not flawless or ripped from a magazine. It's happiness. Happiness with all itsmessiness and not-quite-thereness. It's knowing that life is short, and the moments we choose to fill our cup wiht should be purposeful and rich. That we should be present for life, that we should drink deeply. And that's perfection. And my dad and my mom and my family-my past, present, and future with Nella, what the world may view as broken or damaged-have taught me what true beauty really is.” 6 likes
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