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An accident, a cut, a photographer

Penguin Bloom. The Odd Little Bird Who Saved a Family
Without these three elements, the book Penguin Bloom would never have come into being. The book's protagonists would certainly also have preferred that the story never came into being.


A cut that saves a family? You get scared suspicions. A tear press. Love, disaster, rescue. Everything turns to the best… no, to the better. The best still has to show. But one thing at a time.

Shear, this mischievous little puff – eventually named Penguin Bloom – lets the story shine, a story that, in the worst case, could have made itself a women's novel, based on a true story, or ended up as a secluded medical record. It starts with teenager Cameron, who meets the love of his life at the bakery: “I fell in love with Sam while eating pie. She was wearing worn jeans, a white t-shirt and a royal blue apron full of flour; there was even a dough of flour on the tip of the nose. She was small, fearless and cute as hell.»Sam is an energy bundle, always smiling and insanely stubborn – one who loves hard work, hates laziness and laughs in pain. Sam is Cameron's first, last and only real lover. There will be marriage, there will be children, three pieces. As soon as the boys are big enough, the family embarks on their first major journey – to Thailand. Beach life, food, idyll. Then time stops.

The fall

Cameron and Sam have gone up to a view deck. There, Sam leans against the railing. The foundation is rotten. Brister. Sam crashes down, landing on the concrete six feet below. Cameron crashes. It's like a grenade shock. Sound and surroundings are as enveloped in wadding.

Beach life, food, idyll. Then time stops.

The suffering story is told in brief. Sam survives, but with a broken back and multiple fractures of the brain shell. After seven months and countless surgeries, she is home again, paralyzed from the waist down. From now on, family life revolves around a person who in his helplessness loses himself. Cameron and the boys, despite all their devotion and commitment, cannot save Sam from a downward spiral, and everyone is looking towards an abyss.

When a cutting kid experiences a similar fall, out of the nest, down the hill, and literally falls into the Bloom family, it becomes a diversion project, a cohabitation project and eventually a double rescue project. Penguin – a black and white small feather ball – takes its place in the sibling group in an unusual way – for a cut. We see photographs of Penguin – under the pillow; on an expedition in a haircut; with scarf around neck; in puberty and gothperiod; Penguin Sharing a Spaghetti Strip with a Bloom; Penguin going to the shower with Sam.

Potty training, however, does not work. There will be a lot of mess. Penguin, who can not yet fly due to an injured wing, are assigned a separate apartment on a branch outside the window. A steady cut stares accusingly into the camera, getting its first lessons in the ruthlessness of life outside the nest's cozy coziness. She sneaks back as often as she can, bumps up in the nearest bed. And she eventually becomes an independent bird on its own wings, which keep returning on business. Offering greeting songs and have long conversations tête-à-tête with Sam. The life force has seeped back, for all. Sam is on the rise again, trainer and coach – and winning medals in kayak competitions. She is one of those we see on the TV screen while we wonder how ih ... they can do it.


One can froth Penguin bloom in a couple of hours. The book is a sales success, has been translated into several languages ​​and will soon become a movie. The I-person is led in the pen by Bradley Trevor Greive, and the excessive emotions are toned down with style and humor. Yet – in isolation, this text would have been a rather ribbed affair. The photographs are brilliant, but also totally dependent on the text. What does this book have that makes it special, beyond appealing to the reader feel-good-need? It has synchronicity.

From now on, family life revolves around a person who in his helplessness loses himself. 

This is the psychologist Carl Gustav Jung's name for meaningful coincidences without causation, a term that connects the physical world with the spiritual. Here we were served with a parade example: A welded, happy family is hit by a disaster; as the family is about to go down, a feathered angel comes to their rescue; The family father happens to be a professional photographer and, with his proximity to the material, gives us an emotional and visual boost. And whether one believes that a higher power has intervened, or one sticks to the game of chance – Penguin bloom is quite simply a hit in all parts.

To return home

Beyond this success recipe, something adds up, apropos that everything turned – only – for the better. Sam is still invalid. Despite medals and other success, her biggest dream is still a dream: to walk barefoot along the beach again, hand in hand with Cameron, and feel sand between her toes.

Part of the book's revenue goes to research on a future cure for crippling back injuries. The hope that everything will change for the better remains. Meanwhile, Sam Bloom has delivered a quality contribution to the book. The last chapter is her work. In sober words: “The worst time for us (the disabled) is when we get out of the hospital and return home. There awaits us a terrible moment. The sweet excitement of coming home is crushed to dust; our long-awaited paradise is completely different from a wheelchair. As long as we are in the hospital, we dream of coming home to our own bed, but without all the technical aids everything at home is much more difficult than we could imagine. Besides, we are now the only lame person in the house ... Not being able to go back to old routines leads to a cruel feeling of disconnection from a life we ​​loved. To witness how my husband took over all the tasks and in effect became solely responsible for our three boys, made me feel that I was no longer a real mother and barely part of the family… ”

Penguin bloom is quite simply a hit in all parts.

Sam also turns to other families, relatives of the disabled: “We may never be able to fully recognize how deep our pain is, or how much we value their help, but just remember that it is their love that keeps us alive."

Ranveig Eckhoff
Ranveig Eckhoff
Eckhoff is a regular reviewer for Ny Tid.

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