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Don't Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Lifeby Sandra Beasley
Synopses & Reviews
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.
The award-winning author of I Was the Jukebox describes the impact of her anaphylactic food allergies on her childhood while tracing the cultural history of food allergies, relating such experiences as her short-lived job as a restaurant reviewer and dates that ended in trips to the emergency room. 50,000 first printing.
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.
About the Author
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.
Table of Contents
I am Jane's anaphylactic shock — Surviving childhood — Eat, drink, and be wary — The great peanut scare — King soy and the body politic — Gilding the gouda — Kiss of death — On the road — What doctors really think — The nature of nurture.
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