Memoir - Photo Gallery

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Books by Kelle Groom

How To Live: A Memoir

I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl: A Memoir

Spill: Poems

Five Kingdoms: Poems

Luckily: Poems

Underwater City: Poems


Reviews & Interviews

I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of A Girl Book Cover

[ Reviews & Interviews ]

I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl:
A Memoir

I Wore the Ocean as A Girl Front Cover

I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl 
available in paperback April 3, 2012.

Kelle Groom - I Wore the Ocean as A Gril Book Cover

Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection
Free Press/Simon & Schuster 2011
[ Free Press/Simon & Schuster Site ]

Kelle Groom - I Wore the Ocean as A Gril Book Cover

SWEDEN (available May 2012)
[ View More ]

Directed by Alicia Conway
Featuring Andrea Wright and Nora Lee Young
Editing by Ben Rock
Produced by Visible Man Productions


I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl took my breath, and then my heart, away. That Kelle Groom survived to tell this story of addiction and her descent into hell is a miracle—but so is the deep wide lyrical profundity of the writing—writing as thrilling and moving as the story is redemptive and light-giving. The effect this book had on me is no different from the one I had when I found my first poem, while leafing through the Book of Knowledge in my childhood home. It was by Wordsworth and my heart stopped as I realized without the words to say: that the smallest moments can hold such meaning, can define without definition, can describe without description what it means to be alive. I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl reminded me of what literature can do.”

Beverly Donofrio, author of Riding in Cars With Boys

“In this glittering fragmented memoir Kelle Groom reveals in brilliant detail how her life changed with the birth of her son, Tom, and how, in the years that followed, he remained, irrevocably, at the centre of everything. These beautiful pages offer a privileged glimpse of a world of secret emotions and thoughts. The reader too emerges transformed.”

Margot Livesey, author of Eva Moves the Furniture and The House on Fortune Street

"In language as precise and sparkling as the tip of a razor against your skin, Kelle Groom offers an unflinching portrait of a mother yearning for the infant son she gave up for adoption and then lost to leukemia. As honest and moving a memoir as I've ever read."

Will Allison, author of Long Drive Home

“The triumph of Kelle Groom’s memoir, I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl, lies in her plangent, poetic prose as she lays bare the onset of her alcoholism at age 15, the child she bore and gave up at 19, and her dead-end jobs, upset parents, blackouts, hookups, and, eventually, slow and steadfast embrace of a sober, creative life.”

— Lisa Shea, Elle

“Her [Groom's] writing is a wonderfully compelling mix of simple and lyrical"

Publishers Weekly

"A visceral, darkly lyrical narrative" 

Kirkus Reviews

“If any memoir has a pulse running through it, if any work of art contains within it the potential of transcendence, it is in your hands. I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of A Girl begins in a kind of glorious, terrible, ridiculous chaos, but then as we get closer and closer to its heartbreaking center and to the narrator herself, the ‘heavy things’ start falling off – of her, of us – a heaviness we didn’t know we’d even been carrying.  Kelle Groom has somehow found a container for each bright, hard spark of this life.”

Nick Flynn, author of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City and The Ticking is the Bomb

"Gorgeous, poetic language ...┬áis the backbone of this unflinching look at a life saved by forgiveness. Are you a human being? Read this book!"

Starred pre-pub review, Library Journal

"Groom’s stunning memoir reads more like poetry than prose and leaves the ‘brain singing with neurons like a city at night.’ . . . . Her astonishing struggle and unique resurrection illuminate the universal human effort to embrace one’s self, accepting personal flaws, demons, and methods of survival.”


"In a series of beautifully compressed narratives, Groom, who grapples here with the very meaning of motherhood, describes devastating binges... As heartbreaking as this book is, Groom writes with a captivating urgency. Her salvation, a result of her tireless quest for clarity, will leave you cheering."

 Susanna Sonnenberg, More