I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl
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.
Reading Group Guide
She had her first drink at age fourteen. At fifteen, she had her first alcoholic blackout. And in 1981, at the age of nineteen, Kelle Groom was an out-of-control alcoholic and pregnant. Unable to take care of the child herself, she gave up her son for adoption by her aunt and uncle. When, fourteen months later, he died of leukemia, Kelle’s downward spiral of self-destruction accelerated into a freefall from which she emerged only when when her desire to stop drinking connected her with those who helped her to get sober. Kelle charts the journey that led her to accept her addiction and grief and to learn how to live in the world.
TOPICS AND QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. The book is filled with vivid and visceral scenes, raw with emotion and sensory detail, but it is Kelle’s desire to be touched which seems to be most urgent and consistent.“Someone touching me so that I am not alone, someone choosing me,” she writes. Why do you think the touch of another p see more