Bibliophile | ‘Sam Bloom: Heartache & Birdsong’

Sam Bloom
by Samantha Bloom, Cameron Bloom & Bradley Trevor Greive
ABC Books

The best-selling book Penguin Bloom captured the hearts and minds of people around the world, and the miraculous and heart-warming story has even inspired a major motion picture starring Naomi Watts. Full of the most marvelous photographs, it told how a wounded baby magpie saved a young mother and her family. Now Sam Bloom tells her own story for the first time while husband Cam takes the reader into their lives with fabulously intimate photographs.

Sam recalls her blissful childhood of sun and surf on Sydney’s Northern beaches. After graduating as a nurse, she set off to explore the world with her photographer partner Cam and, after returning to Australia and giving birth to three sons, the family set off travelling again.

Just when life seemed perfect … a broken safety rail … a fall onto concrete … a fractured skull, bleeding on the brain, 2 ruptured lungs and a shattered spine leaving two thirds of Sam’s body paralysed. In continual pain from damaged nerves, dislocated from her life and dependent on those around her for everything, Sam was in a very dark place.

But then an injured magpie blown out of a nest needed help and the broken, fragile creature stopped Sam dwelling on her troubles and concentrate on the “two shiny eyes and a few grams of fluff”. It helped Sam to smile for the first time since the disastrous accident in Thailand.

Sam hadn’t had much luck with therapists as counseling only seemed to amplify the horrid feelings. However, caring for Penguin motivated her into putting more energy into her own physical and mental recovery. “I thought I was saving her life but she was saving mine” even though she kept pooing on the white sofa cushions.

Writing this inspirational book with the help of long-time friend Bradley Trevor Greive would have been cathartic, as Sam recounts her journey from despair to delight. She readily admits that she still battles with the darkness, and she knows that you don’t have to have a terrible accident to feel broken.

This is a book you’ll want to hug, to keep where your eyes fall on it throughout the day and to open it on occasion and allow the inspirational words wash over you. “Regardless of what happened to you and how much of your life you feel is missing, fight for what is left.”

Lezly Herbert

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