Book Review: Salt In My Soul

A month or two ago, I finished a powerful memoir that had been on my to-be-read list before it even came out.

But it was a read I needed to sit with. As much as it shook me to my core—tears during the last several chapters included—I couldn’t just run to my computer and type up a review for the blog. Part of that was due to the nature of the subject in general, of course…but so much of it had to do with my own complicated feelings about living with a life-threatening chronic illness.

Book Review: Salt In My Soul

When I agreed to write a review of Salt in My Soul: An Unfinished Life by Mallory Smith I wasn’t thinking about that part. So, when the book arrived and there on the cover was a picture of a very alive-looking person doing a headstand, I was hit with a gut-punch realizing I’d promised to write a review about a book by a person who was already dead.

Diane Shader Smith on her daughter Mallory’s incredible memoir about living with Cystic Fibrosis, 'Salt in My Soul', and the athleticism & mindset that powered her along the way

Mallory Smith lived with Cystic Fibrosis until the age of 25. She had a passion and talent for writing and the smart sense to keep a journal and document her life from the young age of nine.

Salt In My Soul: An unfinished life

MyOpa, my father’s father, survived the Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp. He also survived my dad’s death. He told me that he suffered more from losing a son than the concentration camp. I’m unhappy to say that I share the experience of losing a child with my Opa and Diane Shader Smith.

Deborah Kobylt Live: Diane Shader Smith - Writer, Publicist, and Cystic Fibrosis Advocate

Salt in My Soul is a powerful, heartbreaking and inspiring look at Mallory Smith’s life.

Soul Sisters: My reflections on Mallory Smith's memoir

A truth binds the lives of two women who have never met. One sees into the other’s soul through her writing — for both women, cystic fibrosis (CF) has been their greatest blessing and most dreadful curse.

Illness as metaphor

Instead of crumbling under the pressures of an insurmountable disease, Mallory Smith (ΦBK, Stanford University) utilized her diagnosis of cystic fibrosis to both advocate for those suffering like her and encourage responsible stewardship of the environment.