Publisher's Summary. Like twelve million other Americans, Sandra Beasley suffers from food allergies. Her allergies—severe and lifelong—include dairy, egg, soy, beef, shrimp, pine nuts, cucumbers, cantaloupe, honeydew, mango, macadamias, pistachios, cashews, swordfish, and mustard. Add to that mold, dust, grass and tree pollen, cigarette smoke, dogs, rabbits, horses, and wool, and it’s no wonder Sandra felt she had to live her life as “Allergy Girl.” When butter is deadly and eggs can make your throat swell shut, cupcakes and other treats of childhood are out of the question—and so Sandra’s mother used to warn guests against a toxic, frosting-tinged kiss with “Don’t kill the birthday girl!”
It may seem that such a person is “not really designed to survive,” as one blunt nutritionist declared while visiting Sandra’s fourth-grade class. But Sandra has not only survived, she’s thrived—now an essayist, editor, and award-winning poet, she has learned to navigate a world in which danger can lurk in an unassuming corn chip. Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl is her story.
With candor, wit, and a journalist’s curiosity, Sandra draws on her own experiences while covering the scientific, cultural, and sociological terrain of allergies. She explains exactly what an allergy is, describes surviving a family reunion in heart-of-Texas beef country with her vegetarian sister, delves into how being allergic has affected her romantic relationships, exposes the dark side of Benadryl, explains how parents can work with schools to protect their allergic children, and details how people with allergies should advocate for themselves in a restaurant.
A compelling mix of memoir, cultural history, and science, Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl is mandatory reading for the millions of families navigating the world of allergies—and a not-to-be-missed literary treat for the rest of us.
Review. Peanut and butter and jelly sandwiches and children’s lunches used to be the go-to-meal for tikes everywhere. Today, however, peanut butter has become almost a contraband item. Schools are restricting where PBJ sandwiches can be eaten (as in peanut-free tables) or banning them all together because of peanut allergies. And peanuts aren’t the only culinary bad guys. The most common food allergens, known as the “Big 8”are (drum roll, please): wheat; eggs; soy; cow dairy; fish; shellfish; peanuts; and tree nuts (cashews, walnuts pecans, etc.). Over twelve million Americans suffer from food allergies and the number is rising.
Sandra Beaseley, author of Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl, suffers from severe food allergies, including some of the Big 8, plus other more unique allergens such as cucumbers, cantaloupe and mustard. Through the years, Beasley has experienced many anaphylactic shocks and many, more close calls, but Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl is no Debbie Downer read. Rather the memoir is filled with humor, candor and information, sometimes all at the same time. For instance, Beasley shares how she dealt with school birthday parties:
Twelve hazelnuts. Precisely, twelve hazelnuts . . . . I would line them up in the pencil grove at the top of my desk and ask if anyone else wanted one. No one else ever wanted one.
I’d try to match the pacing of everyone else’s treat. Three hazelnuts as people licked off the frosting; three as people took huge bites of the moist, spongy cake; three as people licked the baking sleeves clean; . . . and three final nuts . . . as the teacher went around the room with the wastebasket to collect wrappers and napkins.
Beasley, however, is surprisingly balanced concerning the rights of the allergic versus the non-allergic. I say surprisingly, because I fully expected Beaseley, as a person with severe food allergies, to preach abstinence of certain foods in public to protect the highly allergic, but her arguments are far more nuanced and, hence, more compelling. As Beasley explains, “My job is to center on staying safe in this world, but my job is never to assume the world should revolve around keeping me safe.”
Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl is a memoir that should be read by anyone who seeks a better understanding of a food allergies or just a great read!
Advance review copy provided courtesy of the publisher.
I'm a reader/commuter in the DC Metro Area. My daily commute to work provides me with ample time to do what I love most: read! Whether its chick lit, literature, memoirs or other non fiction you can always find me with a book.
Review requests may be sent to dcmetroreader(at)gmail(dot)com.
This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me. This blog does not accept any form of cash advertising, sponsorship, or paid topic insertions. However, we will and do accept and keep free products, services, travel, event tickets, and other forms of compensation from companies and organizations.
The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. All advertising is in the form of advertisements generated by a third party ad network. Those advertisements will be identified as paid advertisements.
The owner(s) of this blog is not compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog owners. If we claim or appear to be experts on a certain topic or product or service area, we will only endorse products or services that we believe, based on our expertise, are worthy of such endorsement. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider.
This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.
To get your own policy, go to http://www.disclosurepolicy.org