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Salt in My Soul: An Unfinished Life

4.51  ·  Rating details ·  832 ratings  ·  144 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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Average rating 4.51  · 
Rating details
 ·  832 ratings  ·  144 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: netgalley, biography
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.


Donna McCaul Thibodeau
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a sad, beautiful book. Mallory Smith may have only had twenty five years on this Earth but she packed more living and love into them than some people do in a lifetime. Highly recommended.
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
Karen Foster
Feb 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This memoir is written so beautifully. Mallory struggles with her disease, yet the way she embraces living her life as she does, is remarkable. This is not a perfect book....the style of real journal entries is not my favorite. But this book is probably more emotional and more personally affecting than any other book could be.
This is Mallory’s story, moving, inspiring and terribly sad. It’s also a story that is so very close to home for me, I almost didn’t read it. But it’s the first time I’ve
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, netgalley
“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 newspap
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
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.
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
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”
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
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
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
Lauren Savage
Apr 08, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ruth Parker
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I knew going into this book what to expect. I’d read the back cover. I knew it was a memoir published after the death of the writer. I knew it was about CF. I knew it would be both enlightening and grim at the same time.
I was not prepared for how I would fall in love with Mallory through each page, feeling as though I was talking to a friend about her daily life and struggles and about boys and friends and family. I was not prepared for how emotional I would feel at the end of the book and how h
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
Sheri S.
Feb 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
It can be hard to read a book like this when you can already anticipate the ending...This is the journal of Mallory Smith, a young woman with cystic fibrosis, who led a full life for someone suffering from her disease. She set and reached amazing educational, career and physical goals and had an extensive network of friends. Her supportive family (both nuclear and extended) ensured Mallory received the best care and always had family and/or friends with her during challenging hospital stays. Mal ...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
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It’s really hard to rate someone’s diary. Mallory chronicles her life with cystic fibrosis starting at the age of 15 and ending two months after a double lung transplant at the age 25. It’s heartbreaking and infuriating the way her parents had to battle with doctors and insurance companies so that their daughter could get the care she needed. One thing I learned... never, ever take the ability to breathe for granted.
Jun 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Raw, honest, fierce, contemplative, sometimes crass, and oh so painfully heartbreaking. A truly special memoir worth considering. I'm glad I attempted to read it completely through to ther end. Key word attempted.

Newly widowed, I couldn't ho the last few chapters . . . residual grief impaled me. The fact I didn't finish, in no way reflects poorly on the quality of writing or the genuine importance of the words written.
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an incredible book that I devoured in two days and has left me feeling insufficiently grateful for everything in my life. This woman's courage as she faced her life with a debilitating disease is unbelievably inspiring and I've learned so much from her as well as her amazing family and friends. Life is truly about the people you surround yourself with. I really wish I knew Mallory, but through her words--10 years of journal entries adapted into this memoir--I feel like I do. Wow.
Shannon Smith
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Salt in My Soul was a beautiful and stark reminder of how you never really know what other people are going through. Throughout her experience with chronic disease and being forced to consider death so early in life, Mallory wrote countless words of wisdom from which everyone can benefit.
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Touching posthumous memoir of Mallory Smith. The insight and devastating reality of life with Cystic Fibrosis that Mallory shared in her journals captivated me and opened my eyes to a life not always shared outside the CF community.

I found the second half of the book and the look into phage therapy to treat multi-drug resistant bacterial infections utterly fascinating. The Herculean efforts of Mallory’s family, medical team and phage researchers were heroic and awe-inspiring.
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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

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