Kelle Hampton’s Bloom

Recently I read Kelle Hampton’s book Bloom. And when I say ‘I read it,’ I mean I sat down and started it, took a meal break somewhere in the middle, and kept going until I was at the end. I devoured it in one day.

I’ve been a fan of Kelle Hampton’s writing for, I don’t even know… a few years now. I discovered her blog through her photography, of which I am also a big fan. Once I started reading her blog, I knew this would be a site I’d come back to. There is a section on the top of her blog, “Start Here If You’re New” which leads you to Nella’s birth story. It is what I’ve just linked you to, and yes, it’s where you should start.

I knew Kelle wrote a book, and I knew that it did really well. I also didn’t even entertain the thought of buying it, finances being what they are for me. The one-year anniversary of her book has just passed, and with that came the paperback release. The new version of the book is also fairly expensive as far as paperbacks go, but remember it’s also a book of amazing photography and as far as those books are priced, well… this one is a steal.

Kelle had a few extra copies she offered to send to people who couldn’t afford her book. By the time I saw the offer all of the books had been claimed, but something amazing was happening in the comments. Other readers were offering to send their used copies to people who couldn’t afford it. And then readers started offering to buy copies for others. Kelle and her friends took the time to match us all up. Someone named Lisa bought me a copy. I don’t know her last name or where she lives or even her email address. I have no way to send her a thank you note.

I am both surprised and not by Kelle’s reader’s generosity. I am surprised because it just doesn’t seem like the kind of thing people do for each other anymore. I am not surprised because ‘like attracts like’ and the community that reads Kelle’s blog is a community made up of people who would do something like buy a book for a stranger. Actually, I think the universe was finding a way to speak to me. I needed to read Kelle’s book. Maybe her words were so powerful to me because of where I am at in my life right now, I don’t know. But I needed this book and I needed it bad.

This book is about the first year of Kelle’s second daughter’s life. But it’s kind of not about that at all. I don’t have a special needs child, and I’m certainly not living a life remotely similar to Kelle’s, but I felt the book was really saying something infinitely more relatable.

Life sucks sometimes. There is horror and pain and badness and almost nothing in life is fair. If you’re too busy focusing on that, you miss out on the beautiful things life has to offer. Kelle’s book is sort of a guide for saying “well, that thing (whatever your personal ‘thing’ happens to be) sucks, here’s is how I survived it… and then learned to embrace it and find beauty and joy in it.” I feel like anyone who has challenges in their life can relate to this book and take something away from it. (And really, who doesn’t have any challenges in life? I’d like to meet them. Truly I would.)

I’m currently in the middle of my second reading of “Bloom.” This time I’m going slow, really giving each thought in the book consideration, even hi-lighting sentences or phrases that really resonate with me. I feel like it is one of those books I’ll go back to many times, when I need a little reminder to get back on track.

You can order Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected on Amazon.

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