I Wore the Ocean details an emotional turf we know well. Groom understands that slipping and sliding around in our hurt is far easier to do than stepping up to the hard work of healing, but it is only through healing that we redeem ourselves. Groom's story of unrelieved pain can read at times as too intense, a piling on of unbearable circumstance. But her attempts to makes sense of this hurt and move beyond it soften the blows, and because her storytelling is non-linear, the reader knows, early on, that relief is on the way. Groom eventually blossoms into a successful poet, publishes in The New Yorker and makes peace with missing Tommy's short life.