I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl
"I can't forgive myself. I keep trying, but I can't do it."
At this point, there have been so many memoirs about addiction, you have to wonder if we really need another one. Then along comes a book like Kelle Groom's I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl. Groom's struggle is with alcoholism, but the story behind her disease—the baby she gave up for adoption at age 19 and his subsequent death from leukemia—is so piercing and true that you live the story as much as read it. Part of the book's emotional wallop is due to how it's organized—in short, dreamy chapters than skip forward and backward in time, letting you piece together the chronology yourself—and part of it is due to Groom's exquisite, lyrical prose. As she revisits her past, she remembers the time "[her] mother bought me a beautiful blue dress that touched the floor, spilling out in waves." This was the greatest moment of her life, the moment when "everybody turned to see ... which is what a child wants most. It means I'm here." With this slim, extraordinarily moving book, Groom is here again—to her readers, this time—fragile, insightful, sober and in search of some much deserved forgiveness.
— Leigh Newman