Thursday, December 8, 2011


By Shelley Malcolm
ISBN: 9780578090313
Hardcover 8.5x8.5 Retail price: $32.99
Available online

ISBN 9781452056715
Paperback 8.5x8.5 Retail price: $39.50
Available online and

“REAL” is a collection of 60 inspirational stories by Shelley Malcolm, with photos by Terilee Dawn Ouimette. The stories are deeply revealing, while the photos are anonymous, focusing only on each subject’s hands. Subjects range from adolescent to elderly, from former gangster to humble homeless, international refugee to hero-housewife, from pro athlete to Hollywood celebrity.

Focusing on her subjects’ hands instead of their faces allows Malcolm’s subjects to share more freely about their lives, tragedies, hopes, dreams, loves, and toils. Ouimette displays an uncanny ability to capture each character’s essence on film by depicting one of more sets of hands at work, at play, giving or receiving help. The result shows the genius of the project, the use of anonymity displaying a greater level of intimacy and vulnerability than might have been possible by any other means.

Malcolm states that her inspiration for the book came from a dream with similar images, revealing the beauty in imperfections in a person’s hands. “The hand image is made beautiful by the life behind it,” she explains. “More anonymous than a face or even eyes which show identity and emotion, our hands portray our work, our affection, scars…even our mistakes.”

According to photographer Ouimette, “People can feel even more connected to photographs of hands than faces. There is a little bit of mystery to each one – allowing the reader to visually connect with the inspiring story.”

Confronting the importance of status and beauty in our society, “Real” honestly unveils the life stories of remarkable individuals through moving images and stories that range from tragic to hopeful to triumphant.

Originally published in March 2011, the book has been popular among widely diverse groups including youth and teens, women, parents and grandparents, men between the ages of 35 – 65, craftsmen, surgeons, hand, massage and physical therapists and many others.

NOTECARDS are also available for purchase here.

Real - The Book from David Malcolm on Vimeo.

While “Real” is her first published book, Malcolm is no stranger to creative projects, as co-owner and restorer of an historic chapel, La Perla del Mar in Shell Beach, CA, and a set designer for theater and film. Shelley Malcolm was named Pismo Beach’s Citizen of the Year in 2011 for her extensive contributions and involvement in the community. Proceeds from Real go to various charities. Shelley Malcolm graduated from University of Southern California with a degree in dental hygiene. Shelley has four adult children. Her interests include painting , drawing, sculpting, building, playing piano and other musical instruments, outdoor activities including hiking, ocean kayaking, running, water and snow-skiing, international travel, sewing, reading, writing and others. Shelley Malcolm resides in Shell Beach, California with her husband, Doug. For more information, please visit or

Terilee Dawn Ouimette specializes in photographing weddings, families and newborns through her business, Terilee Dawn Photography. Ouimette’s love of photography began with a gift of her first camera at the age of eight. Her collaboration on the book “Real” with author Shelley Malcolm represents the first published book for both women. Terilee Dawn resides in Shell Beach, California with her husband and the couple’s newborn son, Grayson. Ouimette’s hobbies include art, photography, crafting, reading, and travel. For more information about her work please visit

In a world obsessed with eternal youth and beauty, often turning to botox, eating disorders, and surgical intervention to attain the perfect body, how refreshing it is to see this book celebrating the beauty of hands that have truly lived and bear the scars and wrinkles to prove it. I have always loved hands (some of you may remember the poem I wrote three years ago about my mother's hands just two days before she died, so this book is particularly fascinating to me, although I haven't made it through every page yet. This isn't a book you sit down and read from cover to cover but one you read a page or two at time to savor and reflect. This is not an overtly Christian book; some of the individuals whose hands are portrayed do not appear to be believers. That's the only slight disappointment I have with this book. Some hands bear scars from a hard life; others, from hard living. The condition of our hands will not grant us entrance to heaven. But here on earth, they can do so much. To me, and apparently to Shelley Malcolm, a hand that's "real," that has loved and worked and lived life to the fullest, gnarled and wrinkled though it may be, is more beautiful than one with a perfect manicure.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Shelley Malcolm. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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1 comment:

shelley said...

Thank you for your delightful site! and kind words.

Nice to stop by and smell the mocha! Shelley malcolm , REAL