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Poor Your Soul: A Memoir
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Average Rating
Author:
Published:
Soho Press 2016
Accelerated Reader:
IL: UG - BL: 6.2 - AR Pts: 13
Lexile measure:
910L
Status:
Available from OverDrive
Description

A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year: This memoir "examines love, grief, family and personhood with clear eyes and an open heart" (Emma Straub, New York Times–bestselling author of Modern Lovers). At twenty-eight, Mira Ptacin discovered she was pregnant. Though it was unplanned, she embraced the idea of starting a family and became engaged to Andrew, the father. But five months later, an ultrasound revealed that her child would be born with a constellation of birth defects and no chance of survival outside the womb. Mira was given three options: terminate the pregnancy, induce early delivery, or wait and inevitably miscarry. In this "rich and vivid" memoir, Mira's story is paired with that of her mother, who emigrated from Poland to the United States, and who also experienced grievous loss when her only son was killed by a drunk driver (Lily King). These deftly interwoven stories offer a picture of mother and daughter finding strength in themselves and each other in the face of tragedy.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
01/12/2016
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781616956356
ASIN:
B00WCY510Q
Accelerated Reader:
UG
Level 6.2, 13 Points
Lexile measure:
910
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Mira Ptacin. (2016). Poor Your Soul: A Memoir. Soho Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Mira Ptacin. 2016. Poor Your Soul: A Memoir. Soho Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Mira Ptacin, Poor Your Soul: A Memoir. Soho Press, 2016.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Mira Ptacin. Poor Your Soul: A Memoir. Soho Press, 2016. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Needs Update?:
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 16:51:33
Date Updated:
Dec 08, 2020 06:57:53
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Feb 28, 2021 08:24:09
Last Metadata Change:
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Feb 28, 2021 08:24:12
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Oct 15, 2020 23:39:59
Last Grouped Work Modification Time:
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      • bioText: Mira Ptacin's work has appeared in Guernica, NPR, New York Magazine, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, The National Book Foundation, The Morning News, Tin House, The Rumpus, and more. She teaches memoir writing to women at the Maine Correctional Center and lives on Peaks Island, Maine, with her husband, Andrew; son, Theo; daughter, Simone; and their two dogs, Huckleberry and Maybe.
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title
Poor Your Soul
fullDescription

A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year: This memoir "examines love, grief, family and personhood with clear eyes and an open heart" (Emma Straub, New York Times–bestselling author of Modern Lovers).

At twenty-eight, Mira Ptacin discovered she was pregnant. Though it was unplanned, she embraced the idea of starting a family and became engaged to Andrew, the father. But five months later, an ultrasound revealed that her child would be born with a constellation of birth defects and no chance of survival outside the womb. Mira was given three options: terminate the pregnancy, induce early delivery, or wait and inevitably miscarry.

In this "rich and vivid" memoir, Mira's story is paired with that of her mother, who emigrated from Poland to the United States, and who also experienced grievous loss when her only son was killed by a drunk driver (Lily King). These deftly interwoven stories offer a picture of mother and daughter finding strength in themselves and each other in the face of tragedy.

gradeLevels
      • value: Grade 4
      • value: Grade 5
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Boston Globe
      • content: "As a writer, Ptacin ploughs through this landscape of unbearable sadness with surprising vigor and even more unexpected humor. The portrait of her indomitable mother--who herself had lost a child--shines particularly bright and provides an example of how to survive the unthinkable, how to move forward through sheer force of will, in a world riven by an unfixable wound."
      • premium: False
      • source: Portland Press Herald
      • content: "If there is any upside to grief, Mira Ptacin gradually uncovers it in her moving and eloquent memoir, Poor Your Soul."
      • premium: False
      • source: Battle Creek Enquirer
      • content: "Poor Your Soul paints a conflicted, coming-of-age story, one of perseverance through the bonds of family in the face of grief."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Rumpus
      • content: "[Poor Your Soul] examines the intricate threads of family, how our histories get woven into tapestries, and how to rebuild when it feels hopeless. It is a story of becoming, of renewal, of life."
      • premium: False
      • source: Michigan Quarterly Review
      • content: "Poor Your Soul is, at its core, a story of perseverance... warm, honest, thoughtful, and funny."
      • premium: False
      • source: Shelf Awareness
      • content: "Mira Ptacin's Poor Your Soul is an unblinking and moving literary memoir of grief and love by a talented young writer coming to terms with the multiple losses in her life. Poor Your Soul is a beautifully written celebration of the love of family, the bonds between mothers and daughters, and the healing that comes after loss. Mira's very personal journey through grief is also a universal one."
      • premium: False
      • source: Dispatch Magazine
      • content: "Heartwrenching and radically honest."
      • premium: False
      • source: Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
      • content: "An unexpectedly hopeful, but never mawkish, tale of love and loss. With grace and compassion, Ptacin describes the roller-coaster plunge from cautious elation to profound sorrow as romance yielded to pregnancy. Beautifully written, at just the right emotional pitch. Of interest to all readers but likely to find a home among bereaved mothers."
      • premium: False
      • source: Booklist
      • content: "Beautifully written."
      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly
      • content: "[A] nicely paced, moving memoir of loss and renewal. Ptacin's memoir is a raw and absorbing story of family fortitude and a young woman's struggle to confront and accept the unexpected."
      • premium: False
      • source: Lily King, author of Euphoria
      • content: "Poor Your Soul takes us on a rich and vivid journey about the meaning of family with all its pain and comfort, loss and solace. Mira Ptacin writes with exceptional honesty and beauty, and I was deeply moved."
      • premium: False
      • source: Diane Cook, author of Man V. Nature
      • content: "I read large swaths of Poor Your Soul, breathless, tears held (mostly) at bay, that feeling like someone was standing on my throat. Not because it is unbearably sad (though it's sad) but because it was telling me something true about being human, something that might have otherwise remained secret. This is a beautiful, contradictory book: big-hearted and hard-hearted, angry and introspective, drowning and triumphant, and suffused with humor both dark and light. It's a book about learning how to embrace what you didn't want, how to grieve when it's lost, and how to forgive life--and yourself--for the lot of it."
      • premium: False
      • source: Kate Manning, author of My Notorious Life
      • content: "In the tradition of Cheryl Strayed, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Melissa Coleman, Mira Ptacin has written a funny and deeply moving memoir of loss, love, and redemption. Poor Your Soul is a story of an American family as unique and loving as any you'd wish to meet, and you'll be caught up in a gripping narrative, as Ptacin writes of her wild girlhood, her enterprising parents, the confusions of love and sex, and the brave choices women make, following their own good instincts. Elegiac and wise, Poor Your Soul is, ultimately, about the strength of the human spirit."
      • premium: False
      • source: Cate Marvin, Co-founder of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts and author of Oracle: Poems
      • content: "Mira Ptacin invites her reader to viscerally experience her upbringing, to know her family intimately (and theirs is remarkable story) as she reveals, by one humorous and sorrowful turn after another, her journey toward finding her way in this very unsettling world. Hers is an immigrant's story in the most American sense. Reading her find her way through her most trying times left me feeling I'd found my own way through my own. There's no greater compliment I can pay. To read Poor Your Soul is to come to know its writer very well. Only the best writing does that."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        November 16, 2015
        Ptacin is 28 and newly pregnant at the onset of this nicely paced, moving memoir of loss and renewal. Recently uprooted from an editing job in Maine, the Michigan-born author came to Manhattan to attend a writing program and live with her fiancé, an engineer whom she met through an online dating service. Ptacin was shocked and ambivalent about the unplanned pregnancy (she had been on the Pill), but the couple readied for parenthood and eventually wed. Through flashbacks, she shares her Michigan upbringing in Battle Creek, and a loving family that includes an endearing physician father, a restaurateur mother who also holds a physics degree, and two siblings. As a teen, the author hangs out with the “bad kids,” runs away from home for a brief period, and returns to make amends just as a tragic accident takes her young brother’s life. Yet another tragedy befalls Ptacin as an adult; an ultrasound reveals that Ptacin’s baby that it will not survive outside the womb, and she then must choose a method of terminating the pregnancy, an emotionally painful process she describes in detail. “Poor your soul” is a phrase Ptacin’s mother uses, and it’s an apt title for a book that delves deeply into the nature of grief. Ptacin’s memoir is a raw and absorbing story of family fortitude and a young woman’s struggle to confront and accept the unexpected.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        Starred review from December 15, 2015
        An unexpectedly hopeful, but never mawkish, tale of love and loss. The literature on death is vast, that on the grieving process somewhat smaller, that concerning teratology--in the grimly archaic language of medicine, the birth of "monsters"--smaller still. With grace and compassion, Ptacin describes the roller-coaster plunge from cautious elation to profound sorrow as romance ("We fell in love. Exposed kneecaps and collarbones, and entire evenings spent devouring one another; we were like wild forces") yielded to pregnancy. Then pregnancy became ever fraught as the first "abnormal" tests began to come in: "I thought maybe it was my fault," the author writes of the first iffy report, "maybe I forgot to take my folic acid one morning, maybe I was too stressed and cantankerous and it was poisonous to the baby." After reeling off a list of deformities--spina bifida, clubbed feet, irregular heartbeat, lack of brain development--the doctor asked whether Ptacin still wanted to know the sex of her baby. The question then became what to do, how to reconcile modern medicine and the health of the mother with Catholic doctrine and the beliefs that she, her beloved, and her family held--not to mention the opinions of those with no stake in the matter. "If I choose to terminate," she writes, "I'll be what the pro-lifers hate." Her choice is heartbreaking and shattering, and it makes for difficult reading; in the end, Ptacin suggests, there is nothing to say, only acknowledgment that something terrible has happened and the need to summon the will to go on. In all this, the author's Polish-immigrant mother emerges as a wise counselor and moral anchor: "Poor baby. Poor her soul. It is very sad," she said, and that is just right. But Ptacin herself, who is neither heroic nor helpless, also rises in our estimation, even as she sinks in her grief. Beautifully written, at just the right emotional pitch. Of interest to all readers but likely to find a home among bereaved mothers.

        COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        December 15, 2015
        Ptacin's memoir is beautifully written, but it can be frustrating. It starts oddly, with an irrelevant anecdote about her building superintendent and his Sunday liaisons with call girls. It takes 148 pages for Ptacin to get to the central drama, her pregnancy, during which a 20-week ultrasound reveals an irregular heart structure, zero brain development, spina bifida, and clubbed feet. A genetic counselor tells her that her baby will be unviable outside the womb, with no chance of survival. Ptacin (who teaches memoir writing to women at the Maine Correctional Facility) explains how she chose among three less-than-ideal options: ending her pregnancy, inducing early delivery, or doing nothing and most likely miscarrying. After she makes her decision, Ptacin tells herself, Lilly is gone, and it's not my fault. But she wallows in her misery, eating peanut-butter ice cream and shouting at her long-suffering husband. Finally, she sees a therapist, who diagnoses her as clinically depressed with post-traumatic stress disorder. Then a friend gets her to start jogging, and she and her dad complete a marathon together. A feel-a-little-better story for women who find themselves in Ptacin's painful situation.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2015, American Library Association.)

popularity
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shortDescription
Poor Your Soul--moving, wise, and passionately written--is a beautiful reflection on sexuality, free will, and the fierce bonds of family.

At twenty-eight, Mira Ptacin discovered she was pregnant. Though it was unplanned, she embraced the idea of starting a family and became engaged to Andrew, the father. Five months later, an ultrasound revealed that her child would be born with a constellation of birth defects and no chance of survival outside the womb. Mira was given three options: terminate the pregnancy, induce early delivery, or wait and inevitably miscarry.

Mira's story is paired with that of her mother, who emigrated from Poland to the United States, and who also experienced grievous loss when her only son was killed by a drunk driver. These deftly interwoven stories offer a picture of mother and daughter finding strength in themselves and each other in the face of tragedy.

From the Hardcover edition.
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Poor Your Soul A Memoir
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Soho Press