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Po-Boy Contraband: From Diagnosis Back to Life Paperback – June 20, 2012


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Po-Boy Contraband: From Diagnosis Back to Life + The Practice of Poetry: Writing Exercises From Poets Who Teach
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 150 pages
  • Publisher: Catalyst Book Press (June 20, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0980208149
  • ISBN-13: 978-0980208146
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,071,907 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Her book made me want to get to know her better.
Jerilyn G. Lavergne
Ms. Melnick writes a beautiful story that will make you laugh, cry and have you determined to live your own life to it's fullest.
J. Giesse
I sense her love of family and rejoice with her in her journey.
Sally A. Lowen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Reader on October 21, 2012
Patrice writes with courage and ingenuity in the face of HIV.

If you have a friend or relative who is HIV positive, this book illustrates the best of how to manage it while living an extremely full life!

If you simply love a great story it's here too. I was blown away by this book. Patrice is truly inspirational both in life and in her writing.
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By Cathy on March 19, 2013
The tension in Patrice Melnick's memoir is whether it's possible to live and love with HIV. Melnick shares her journey of self-discovery in short chapters, some of which are so wry and wise they brought me to tears. A writer with exceptional appreciation of language and music, Melnick offers readers a chance to understand first-hand what it's like to stare death in the face, sprout wings, and soar.
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By Peg on January 10, 2013
I had gone to Casa Azul intending to buy a piece of jewelry for myself and instead I purchase Po-boy Contraband. What a gift. Patrice shares her story without fear in a clear voice that I very much enjoyed. I will be passing this on to my nieces to help them start their search for a mate with some of the knowledge that was shared here. Instead of jewelry, I found a jewel. Thank you.
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By Sally A. Lowen on December 22, 2012
Patrice MELNICK is such a gifted writer. I felt as if I could hear the music and dance with her as she told her story of living with HIV. This is a courageous honest woman who writes of her struggle to find and live her life. I sense her love of family and rejoice with her in her journey. This is a book to read and savor.
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By Christine P. Gomez on December 19, 2012
Before having the opportunity to hear Ms. Melnick do an oral reading of excerpts from her book in August, 2012, the subject of HIV and the consequences of that medical condition had never captured my attention. Neither I nor any of my friends or relatives have been stricken with that disease--to my knowledge. The raw honesty conveyed through her written words compelled me to buy her book; to date I've read it three times.

Almost as if she is writing a personal letter to me, the author weaves colorful depictions of her nauseated jeep ride to observe wild animals on savannahs of the Central African Republic in the mid-1980s, a romantic relationship in icy Alaska, her participation in the rhythmic Zydeco dance scene of New Orleans, and dynamics within her family of origin in Texas.

Her self-described, literary nonfiction has affected me more as non-metrical poetry. Candid, deeply personal essays compel me to keep on reading and then to re-read after her meanings have sifted through to my consciousness. Ms. Melnick provides a model for facing life's adversities with humor and cautious optimism.
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A powerful memoir of the author's journey with a daunting illness, written with gutsy authenticity, an amazing lack of self pity, and a poet's eye for description and detail. Crafted in short lively vignettes, her narrative weaves seamlessly between past and present, between pre-and post HIV diagnosis. I was immensely touched by her openness, her courage, her down to earth humor, and her wickedly observant insights in describing how she deals with the social as well as the physical implications of her disease. Some of the passages are laugh-out-loud funny. I became immersed in the vibrant rhythms, the continual feast of music, dance and rich spicy food, the sensual pleasures that make up life in southern Louisiana, her adopted home. And it is her determination to remain engaged and open to these experiences-- to forge relationships with friends, lovers, colleagues, and community-that is, for me, the crux of her journey and what makes this story so compelling. This talented writer reminds us all of the importance of living our daily lives with a heightened awareness and appreciation for our surroundings. Her memoir is a delight and a gift to the spirit--I highly recommend it.
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Patrice's memoir was a page turner for me personally. I couldn't help compare her story to so many of my late friends. The difference I found in her story was her indomitable attitude. She questioned, researched, and led her life with honesty with herself and others. Patrice experienced real joy and passion with music, dance, gardening, learning, teaching, and simply being. These were the keys to her long term survival success. Hopefully, her memoir will be an important resource book and inspiration for many people, living with HIV, in the years to come.
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