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Don't Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life

Don't Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life Cover

ISBN13: 9780307588111
ISBN10: 0307588114
All Product Details

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A beautifully written and darkly funny journey through the world of the allergic.

 

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:

"In this intelligent and witty memoir, poet Beasley (I Was the Jukebox) recounts her lifelong struggle to live a normal life while waging a battle against deadly food allergies. The author is one of 'more than 12 million Americans who have been diagnosed with food allergies, a figure that includes almost 4% of all children.' The title of this enthralling book is not hyperbole. As little as a kiss or hug from a family member or a friend who had eaten cake or ice cream at a birthday party could cause Beasley to break out in hives or, worse, suffer anaphylactic shock. She calls sherbet 'sweet, icy death in a bowl.' Beasley details her vigilant parents' never-ending routine for keeping her safe during her childhood until she left for college, how she and her friends coped with 'the thousand minor hassles of living with' her food allergies during college, and the perils of eating while traveling. Throughout this thoughtful and well-written book, Beasley closes the knowledge gap surrounding food allergies. She writes entertainingly about the history of allergies, and current research findings; religious issues surrounding food allergies; and processed foods and their hidden ingredients. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

"Award winner Beasley (e.g., Barnard Women Poets) offers a cultural study of living the “allergic life.” --Library Journal

"For readers who suffer from allergies, or care for someone who does, for parents who wonder why they can no longer send their child to school with the American staple, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or for anyone curious about how Sandra Beasley handles a lifelong challenge successfully, this book is for you. Winning, wise and humorous, you'll think twice when someone says, ‘Pass the peanuts.’"--Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of Don't Sing at the Table

Synopsis:

SANDRA BEASLEY is the author of the poetry collections I Was the Jukebox, winner of the 2009 Barnard Women Poets Prize, and Theories of Falling, which won the 2007 New Issues Poetry Prize. Her honors include a DCCAH Individual Artist Fellowship, the Friends of Literature Prize from the Poetry Foundation, and the Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award from Poets & Writers, Inc. She lives in Washington, D.C., where her prose has been featured in the Washington Post Magazine.

About the Author

Sandra Beasley has had severe allergies to certain foods her entire life. When butter is deadly and eggs can make your throat swell shut, cupcakes and other joys 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!"

 

Now an award-winning poet, essayist, and editor, Sandra has written a captivating memoir about a subject that has only been addressed in either medical guides or recipe books: a cultural history and sociological study of food allergies, melded with her own humorous and sometimes heartbreaking experiences.

 

From her short-lived gig as a restaurant reviewer to the dates that ended with trips to the emergency room, Sandra writes with verve and style about the struggle of a modern young woman to come to terms with a potentially deadly disorder.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

Laura Hewett, January 3, 2012 (view all comments by Laura Hewett)
This book is a must read for everyone with or without food allergies. I laughed and cried on nearly every page because Sandra Beasley's descriptions of her own experience parallel mine in so many ways. As someone with a lot of severe food allergies it was great to read a book that finally allowed me to relate to another person like me - and a funny book on top of that. It's a great read, entertaining and informing. I beg everyone I know to read it because it gives such an accurate glimpse into what my life is like on a daily basis and demonstrates that people with food allergies are capable of a normal life on a regular basis.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
sals, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by sals)
It was a great read! I have a five year old with multiple severe food allergies and it was refreshing to read a book from the perspective the author delivered. Personal stories paired with the science and research that are related was my favorite aspect of the book.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
rmreinke, September 17, 2011 (view all comments by rmreinke)
I strongly recommend reading this book whether you have food allergies or not. Sandra Beasley gives great information about food allergies, along with a dose of humor. Those of us that live with food allergies can sympathize with Sandra's heartache of growing up with allergies. For those people that don't have food allergies or believe that they don't exist, you get a glance behind the curtain and really see that this can be life threatening.
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View all 4 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307588111
Subtitle:
Tales from an Allergic Life
Publisher:
Crown
Author:
Beasley, Sandra
Subject:
Biography - General
Publication Date:
20110712
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
240
Dimensions:
8.5 x 5.7 x 0.87 in 0.78 lb

Related Subjects

Biography » General
Biography » Medical
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Allergies
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Medical Biographies
Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » Memoirs
History and Social Science » Sociology » Disease and Health Issues

Don't Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 240 pages Crown Publishing Group (NY) - English 9780307588111 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In this intelligent and witty memoir, poet Beasley (I Was the Jukebox) recounts her lifelong struggle to live a normal life while waging a battle against deadly food allergies. The author is one of 'more than 12 million Americans who have been diagnosed with food allergies, a figure that includes almost 4% of all children.' The title of this enthralling book is not hyperbole. As little as a kiss or hug from a family member or a friend who had eaten cake or ice cream at a birthday party could cause Beasley to break out in hives or, worse, suffer anaphylactic shock. She calls sherbet 'sweet, icy death in a bowl.' Beasley details her vigilant parents' never-ending routine for keeping her safe during her childhood until she left for college, how she and her friends coped with 'the thousand minor hassles of living with' her food allergies during college, and the perils of eating while traveling. Throughout this thoughtful and well-written book, Beasley closes the knowledge gap surrounding food allergies. She writes entertainingly about the history of allergies, and current research findings; religious issues surrounding food allergies; and processed foods and their hidden ingredients. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by , "Award winner Beasley (e.g., Barnard Women Poets) offers a cultural study of living the “allergic life.” --Library Journal

"For readers who suffer from allergies, or care for someone who does, for parents who wonder why they can no longer send their child to school with the American staple, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or for anyone curious about how Sandra Beasley handles a lifelong challenge successfully, this book is for you. Winning, wise and humorous, you'll think twice when someone says, ‘Pass the peanuts.’"--Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of Don't Sing at the Table

"Synopsis" by , SANDRA BEASLEY is the author of the poetry collections I Was the Jukebox, winner of the 2009 Barnard Women Poets Prize, and Theories of Falling, which won the 2007 New Issues Poetry Prize. Her honors include a DCCAH Individual Artist Fellowship, the Friends of Literature Prize from the Poetry Foundation, and the Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award from Poets & Writers, Inc. She lives in Washington, D.C., where her prose has been featured in the Washington Post Magazine.

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