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Salt in My Soul: An Unfinished Life

4.55  ·  Rating details ·  447 ratings  ·  87 reviews
The diaries of a remarkable young woman who was determined to live a meaningful and happy life despite her struggle with cystic fibrosis and a rare superbug--from age fifteen to her death at the age of twenty-five.

Diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at the age of three, Mallory Smith grew up to be a determined, talented young woman who inspired others even as she privately rage
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published March 12th 2019 by Spiegel & Grau
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4.55  · 
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 ·  447 ratings  ·  87 reviews

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Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a very special book culled from the journals of Mallory Smith, a cystic fibrosis patient who died at the age of 25 in November 2017. As her father Mark said at her memorial, from a little girl he knew Mallory was an old soul. She was extremely intelligent, and they shared a love of reading and would have buddy reads together. When Mallory was 9 she suddenly refused to perform her daily cystic fibrosis treatments. Dad came home from work early and confronted her honestly: "Mallory, your m ...more
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, netgalley
5 stars for an emotional roller coaster of a book!!!!
This book is the story of Mallory Smith, who was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at age 3. CF is a terminal, incurable, genetic disease of the lungs and digestive system. She kept a journal on her laptop. Before she had a lung transplant, she gave her mother her password. Her mother waited until Mallory died before opening her journal.
The journal was written by Mallory between the ages of 15 and 25, when she passed. She had a antibiotic resista
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Mallory Smith was born with the rare genetic disorder cystic fibrosis, which causes mucus to build up in the lungs, around the pancreas, and on the spine among other places. Living with cystic fibrosis means co-existing with an endless routine of medications, treatments, and hospitalizations. Life expectancy is rising but CF is still a terminal disease and even now half of patients don't make it into their 40s. Mallory's case is complicated by her being one of the 3% infected with the dreaded b. ...more

SALT IN MY SOUL: AN UNFINISHED LIFE is Mallory Smith's story in her own words. Published posthumously from her journal at her request, Mallory gives the reader a first hand view of her tumultuous short life and battle with Cystic Fibrosis. Diagnosed with the "deadliest strain of the deadliest bacteria known to CF lungs" caused an antibiotic resistant superbug in her system that ultimately ended her young 25 years of life on November 15, lung transplant.


Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Full disclosure, I received a free ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. It has not influenced my opinion.

As the parent of a child with CF, this is the book I wish all my friends would read. This not only conveys my fears for my child as his parents, but also my hopes and dreams for him to be a "normal" teenager, have his own hopes and dreams, fall in love. All the things that get called into question for the future when a CF diagnosis is made.

The writing is made
Steffanie Strathdee
Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book will make you stop, think and realize how lucky you are to have a healthy set of lungs and a reasonable expectation of living a full life. The author, Mallory Smith, didn't have either luxury. But that didn't stop her. She chose to "live happy", and that message and the way she conveys it, with wisdom and humor and not a iota of preachiness, makes this book one you'll never forget. Her memoir, published after her death from CF and a superbug infection that ravaged her new lungs after a ...more
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, memoir
“Sixty-five Roses”. Back in 1965, the story goes, a four-year-old boy heard the name of his congenital disease, cystic fibrosis. What he thought he heard was, “65 roses.” Since that time, 65 roses, or LXV, has come to symbolize this devastating genetic illness that affects 30,000 individuals in the US, according to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Until I read Mallory Smith’s memoir, Salt in My Soul , I knew very little about this condition. When I read a review of the book in our local newspaper
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, ya, nonfiction
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss+ and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Immensely positive and determined to live her best life, even in the face of cystic fibrosis and rare bacteria B. cenocepacia, Mallory Smith is a girl everyone loved. From the beginning readers know Mallory tragically dies young; however, it is how she lived her life that will inspire readers. Her "live happy" mantra carries her through frustrating hospital stays and discharges and he
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a courageous and special soul Mallory was during her lifetime and, as this book shows, after her lifetime as well. My initial interest in this book stems from knowing someone whose daughter has CF. I was curious to see what having this in your life is like for all involved, but especially the one afflicted. I will say that the initial part of the book was more like peeking into your daughter's (or a young girl's) diary so it didn't grab me from the start but it was really helpful to show us ...more
Jamie Holloway
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Powerful book and so worth the read, especially for those of us with chronic illnesses.
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
The “unfinished” life of Mallory Smith is told here through her journals and the thoughts and experiences of those who shared her journey. Mallory has Cystic Fibrosis, a cruel and life-consuming lung disease with a grim prognosis, but this fierce young woman refuses to be about her illness. In her writings, she thoughtfully considers her condition and its consequences as she embraces life, athleticism, scholarship, youth, and all those around her. Ultimately she battles for and endures a lung tr ...more
Taylor Schmaling
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book really had quite the pull over me. I can echo other reviewers that it truly takes you on an emotional rollercoaster. Mallory's perspective on life, given her health limitations, is truly inspirational. I knew nothing about Cystic Fibrosis before reading this book aside from the fact that it is life threatening, so it was very educational to learn about the disease and its horrific effects on a person's everyday life.

This book is an amazing reminder that life is too short. Material thi
Quynh Tu Tran
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Having followed Mallory when I joined the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, I was impressed by her academic accomplishments and assumed she had a milder form of the disease. Having followed her story as it evolved, through transplant, phage therapy, and death, I found myself reading her memoir, hoping she’d still pull through, despite knowing how the story ends. I was humbled by her Herculean resilience and the humanity she expressed through her memoir; heartbroken for her mom, dad, family and friends ...more
Lisa Clarke
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful book about a courageous girl who fought CF with every ounce of her being. Thank you for allowing this CF provider a rare glimpse into the tumultuous road you patients live every day and how I can make a small subtle difference in this fight. You’re the reason I do what I do. Breathe easy now, Love and peace to Mal and her family. “65 roses”
Phi Beta Kappa Authors
Mallory Smith
ΦBK, Stanford University, 2014

From the publisher: Diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at the age of three, Mallory Smith grew up to be a determined, talented young woman who inspired others even as she privately raged against her illness. Despite the daily challenges of endless medical treatments and a deep understanding that she'd never lead a normal life, Mallory was determined to "live happy," a mantra she followed until her death. Mallory worked hard to make the most out of the
A very touching book that’s a lovely tribute to someone who was clearly very loved. It’s interesting reading this when my first exposure to CF was through Claire Wineland’s work. While I know that Claire wasn’t the spokesperson for every person with CF, I was still surprised to see how drastically different her views and Mallory’s were on some things. Sometimes they were in sync, and sometimes they weren’t, which is indicative of real life and real people. Nonetheless, both girls bring such viva ...more
Literary Mama
One of my favorite professors in graduate school studied the CFTR chloride channel, which is faulty in the disease cystic fibrosis (CF). Since then I've been on the lookout for books that mix the science behind cystic fibrosis with personal experience. Salt in My Soul: An Unfinished Life by Mallory Smith fits easily into that category. The book, published posthumously by the author's mother, Diane Shader Smith, is based on more than '2,500 pages of [Mallory's] reflections over ten years.' It's b ...more
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Right in the middle of my move across the country, I was contacted by a friend of Mallory Smith, asking me to read Mallory's memoir for review. I downloaded the Kindle and audiobook version and promptly, in keeping with this entire move, lost the friend's email for a time. I very much wanted to read Mallory's story because I too had a friend who had cystic fibrosis, like Mallory.

Cystic Fibrosis, which is a progressive genetic disease, is cruel in that it worsens as a person enters what should b
Ruth Ann Maynard
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a hard book to read. I met my stepson, Shane, when he was 12 years old. I knew then that he had CF. I knew that it was a genetic disorder and that it would eventually take his life. I just had no idea what that life would be like and how difficult those last few years, months, days, hours, minutes, seconds would be. Mallory's book has given me an inspiration, though. I need to write what those times were like. I hope I can remember all the hills and valleys that we went through in Shane ...more
Gina's Library
Jul 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
Salt in my Soul is a book full of diary entries Mallory has written. Mallory battled cystic fibrosis since the young age of 3. This book gives us an intimate look of exactly how someone with CF suffers.

I am in awe of Mallory. I suffer from chronic illnesses that are not nearly as severe as CF and she had a better outlook and was more active than I ever was. She even would swim in the ocean!

I am thankful that her mom created this book from her diary entries to give us a more intimate detailed loo
Blaine Hoppenrath
Beautiful Story

This is an amazing book written by someone who was going thru the unthinkable. She gave me a little bit of hope and perspective to live my best life.
Lauren Saurs
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Mallory Smith shows us that with even the most unfair circumstances, you can lead a beautiful life full of love and inspiration and joy. I can't get over what a force she was. I've never written a review before, but I will for this book because Mallory's story needs to be spread. Even if medical stuff isn't your thing, you can get something from her story that is applicable to your life. Love to her family and all of the people who knew her.
Casey Khademi
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Mallory Smith's novel was phenomenal, heartbreaking, joyful and a masterful reflection on life, self-image, chronic illness and everything in-between. I'm grateful such a special soul took the time to journal, and her family used their time and energy to edit it into this book. It's a gift to the world and a book everyone can learn from.
Laura Wilson
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If it’s fair to give 5 stars to a book that shouldn’t be written, then sobeit. I became aware of Mallory Smith and her life with Cystic Fibrosis around the time of her transplant. One of Mallory’s close friends in LA went to college with my daughter in Boston. This is beyond well written, raw, genuine, powerful and so, so unfair. The love of a family, friends, the CF community at large is evident as Mallory chronicles her life to the very end. An excellent read.
Amanda Farmer
Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have a cousin with CF. So when I was asked to review this diary of Mallory Smith, I was glad to read it in hopes that it would help me understand more about what Andrew deals with on a daily basis. I have a chronic illness as well and I know that most people just don't get it when you talk of pain or not being able to do everything you desire to do.

Salt in My Soul: An Unfinished Life definitely opened my eyes to the "good, bad, and ugly" of CF. Young Mallory Smith kept a journal beginning at t
Brian Smith
May 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It is a special experience, getting to know Mallory over 10 years in 300 pages. The further into the book I got, the harder it was to keep going. But Mallory's prose is as beautiful as it is heartbreaking, and her story needs to be sp(read).

Thank you to Mallory for writing. It was an honor reading.
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to read Mallory’s Smith’s book, Salt in my Soul.

Going into it, I was aware that the only reason I could read the memoir meant that it was published posthumously. Mallory kept meticulous, over 2500 pages worth of journal entries surrounding her journey with Cystic Fibrosis(CF). Before her double-lung transplant in 2017, she entrusted her mother with these entries, with the desire that if anything should happen to her, that her mother compile them into a cohesive
Kevin Schnurr
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“I want to create a piece so moving that people are in disbelief. And I want it to be like handing people a pair of glasses, giving them a way of seeing something they didn’t even realize they weren’t seeing.”
-Mallory Smith

As someone who spent months of their life in Stony Brook Hospital pre- and post-kidney transplant, this book really affected me.

This is easily the most personal, and influential book I’ve ever read in my entire life.

I found myself reliving all the little losses and victories
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a book full of wisdom, emotion, humor and insight. It achieves an incredible combination: a first-person account of living with an often brutal disease and brilliant, perceptive writing. I couldn't put it down, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since. There are meditations on life, death, memory and legacy; explorations of chronic illness and the healthcare industry; stories of love and friendship; and moments so realistically and beautifully written that they read like f ...more
Cheryl Sokoloff
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is Mallory Smith"s life journey, a life cut short by Cystic Fibrosis. Just looking at Mallory, you could not tell that she suffered from a serious genetic disease. Although her body appeared normal from the outside, it was constantly in turmoil on the inside, due to a mutation to one specific gene, the CFTR gene. Her family, from the outset and until the end of her life, supported her in any way that they could. In grade school, the school year began with the class reading "Mallory's 65 Ros ...more
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Mallory Smith, who grew up in Los Angeles, was a freelance writer and editor specializing in environmental, social justice, and healthcare-related communications. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University and worked as a senior producer at Green Grid Radio, an environmental storytelling radio show and podcast. Her radio work was featured on KCRW, National Radio Project, and State of th ...more
“For the most part, I wished for a life lived honestly, to do good things, and to be happy.” 0 likes
“I read a lot. I read because the vast wholeness of existence (the immeasurable, multifaceted beauty of what it means to be human) cannot be perceived through one life.” 0 likes
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