Bleeder by Shelby Smoak

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I am Caucasian, five foot eleven, have sandy brown hair, blue eyes, and am a tender slip of bone. And I am at the hospital. A coming-of-age memoir for modern times, Bleeder is the incredibly compelling tale of author Shelby Smoak. A hemophiliac, Smoak discovered he had been infected with HIV during a blood transfusion at the start of his college career. This devastating and destabilizing news led Smoak to see his world from an entirely new perspective, one in which life-threatening illness was perpetually just around the corner. Set in the 1990s along the North Carolina coast, Bleeder traces Smoak’s quest for love in a world that feels increasingly dangerous, and despite a future that feels increasingly uncertain. From the bedroom to the operating room, and from one hospital to the next, Smoak seeks out hope and better health. Winner of a PEN American Center award for writers living with HIV, Smoak, whose work has appeared in numerous journals and magazines, constructs this unforgettable story of life and love against insurmountable difficulties in breathtaking, tightly drawn prose.

About Shelby Smoak

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Shelby “Chip” Smoak’s poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have appeared in journals and magazines such as Northern Virginia Review, Clues, Cucalorus, Juice, The Crutch, New Thought Journal, Cities and Roads, and Coastal Plains Poetry.
Published February 1, 2013 by Michigan State University Press. 209 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Health, Fitness & Dieting. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Bleeder

Star Tribune

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Smoak’s strength as a writer lies in his ability to closely observe the mundane aspects of life.

Feb 25 2013 | Read Full Review of Bleeder

ForeWord Reviews

While it may be an abstract given that even in a life bound by severe invisible realities, the normal rites of passage—dating girls, seeking love, exploring sex, yearning for romance—will find a way in.

Feb 01 2013 | Read Full Review of Bleeder

When he turned 18 in his senior year of high school, Smoak's parents and doctors told him he had tested HIV-positive several years earlier, the result of a blood transfusion administered to treat his hemophilia. This remarkable first book from Smoak, an English teacher and writer, begins during h...

Mar 21 2013 | Read Full Review of Bleeder

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