Saturday, May 21, 2011

I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl-Kellie Groom

I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl
Kellie Groom
Free Press (Simon and Schuster, Jun 7 2011, $23.00
ISBN: 9781451616682

When Kellie was fifteen years old, she discovered the social intimacy of alcohol. Her life for several years afterward revolved around the next drink instead of school as she becomes an alcoholic who often went comatose in bars. At nineteen she gives birth to Tommy. However, her Uncle Mark and Aunt Julia take Tommy to live with him in Massachusetts as her parents insist she cannot take care of herself let alone a newborn. Fourteen moments later Tommy dies from leukemia, but his biological mother is kept in the dark as she struggles to sober up. Instead she is raped and turns to drink for solace. By 1984, Kellie dries out as she drops her drinking buddies. She finds employment and makes new supporting friends. Kellie graduates from college and obtains a position involving art. However, except for fleeting moments in her son’s first days of existence and what her family has shared, she missed her child’s brief life. Thus, she hopes this memoir will provide her some solace though she knows she can never fully gain that early wonder.

This profound memoir deftly rotates between the past and present as Ms. Groom shares how far into the abyss she fell and how difficult it was to climb out. Readers will empathize with the author as her grief, remorse and hope deeply surface when she muses about Tommy. Pulling no punches about the cost to her soul (and to her family) of her alcoholic years, Ms. Groom writes a heart felt biography as she searches for her Tommy who she regretfully missed when he was alive.

Harriet Klausner

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