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

Don t Kill the Birthday Girl Tales from an Allergic Life 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 inclu

  • Title: Don't Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life
  • Author: Sandra Beasley
  • ISBN: 9780307588111
  • Page: 242
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 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 anA 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.

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    2 thoughts on “Don't Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life

    1. Sandra Beasley is the author of I Was the Jukebox, winner of the 2009 Barnard Women Poets Prize, selected by Joy Harjo and published by W W Norton Her debut book, Theories of Falling, was selected by Marie Howe as the winner of the 2007 New Issues Poetry Prize New Issues Poetry and Prose, 2008 Her poetry has been featured in the Best American Poetry 2010, and her nonfiction has been featured in the Washington Post Magazine In July, Crown will publish Don t Kill the Birthday Girl Tales From an Allergic Life, a memoir and cultural history of food allergies When not traveling for readings and residencies, Beasley lives in Washington, DC, where she serves on the faculty of the Writer s Center.

    2. another firstreads book i was denied!!this one is about a woman with so many food allergies, it makes my head spin: all dairy, eggs, soy, beef, shrimp, pine nuts, cucumbers, cantaloupe, honeydew, mango, macadamia nuts, pistachios, cashews, swordfish, mustard and not just eating them - sitting at a table where cheese once touched - eating from "contaminated" plates, secret ingredients in spice blends or poorly-labeled drinks it is horrible! i don't know anyone with severe food allergies, and it s [...]

    3. I'll admit. In the past I was always the person standing off to the sidelines thinking, "Are you serious?" when a friend listed off the foods to which he or she was allergic and then shared the extent to which they must take precautions against a reaction. I witnessed so many of the people in my life claiming 'allergy' when in fact they merely had an intolerance or worse, simply a dislike, that I became desensitized to the fact that there are so many children and adults out there who truly need [...]

    4. As someone that suffers from food and environmental allergies, when this book became available, I jumped at the chance to read it. Like the author, many foods cause anaphylaxis for me. Unlike the author, mine are all related to Oral Allergy Syndrome and I'm not allergic to near the number of things that she is. So, I'm coming from a place of mostly understanding while reading it. No one can explain the amount of panic that occurs when you realize your throat is closing up and your mouth is on fi [...]

    5. This has easily entered my top 10 favorite books, simply because "she gets me". I was so happy to finally discover a memoir of someone like me: with multiple food allergies running the span of my lifetime and having to endure unintentional ignorance from the public, especially as a kid when allergies were not as acknowledged by the general population, much less were we as protected by law, as today. I almost screamed aloud, "I KNOW" when she described restaurants who didn't get cross contaminati [...]

    6. Interesting book, it has a lot of information on allergies in addition to the personal stories relating to them. Any foodie should definitely read this book. Beasley goes into, among other things, the whole peanut allergy fiasco that is still going on today - how some are trying to ban the iconic peanut butter and jelly sandwich from schools. The author's opinion seems to be that she doesn't understand why peanut allergies are getting all the media attention when there are in fact eight main, co [...]

    7. Let's all be happy, for the entire rest of today, that we do not have catastrophic food allergies, shall we? Assuming that you don't, that is. I am planning on being grateful for the rest of my life that my son doesn't appear to be allergic to anything - I have certainly never lived through the horror of seeing him rub cake frosting on his tiny face, which then raises welts in the exact shape of the frosting smears. Good grief! I'm not particularly enamored of Sandra Beasley because of some of t [...]

    8. Finally a book about living with life threatening food allergies by someone who have first hand experience. She is witty and heart warming and ultimately must rely on herself and not the rest of society to protect her. This is a must read if you or someone you care about lives with food allergies. I especially liked her look at the histroy of medicine and food allergies. Growing up as the only child anyone had ever heard of with food allergies, I was laughing and crying along wiht her. I also ha [...]

    9. I could relate to this book in so many ways. I do not suffer from food allergies but I am an insulin dependant diabetic and have been since the age of three. It is amazing what has sugar in it, much like an allergy sufferer I am vigilant about labels and checking. I enjoyed the book. The parts about her life were interesting and I could relate to those also. Trust me suffering from a low blood sugar reaction in a room full of third graders must feel much like having an allergic reaction at a wed [...]

    10. I really didn't like this book. I thought it would be funny and interesting and some of it was but most of it was just facts and statistics. I actually got bored of it and didn't finish reading it.

    11. It's tough to cook for people these days -- allergies galore, vegetarians, caffeine and sugar free folks, gluten sensitivities, lactose intolerances. It's easy to view all of this negatively, as if these overly fussy folks were willfully making our lives hard and somehow perversely enjoying it.But Sandra Beasley illuminates the terrors and complexities of the allergic life in such a winning way that you might just let go of your resentments. Until I read this book, I just couldn't imagine how al [...]

    12. As far as I'm concerned, Eula Biss's On Immunity should always be paired with Don't Kill the Birthday Girl. One is about anxieties acted out and one is about anxieties enacted. Both harrowing, sobering, and necessary. Reading this book made me aware of how much of an idiot I was about allergies before.

    13. I picked up this book because it caught my eye as I was leaving the library one day. It'd been highlighted by our wonderful library staff as a "Hot Pick" and I quickly scanned the back and thought "why not". I'd like to tell you it was a genuine interest in what my children are going through, as children living with severe food allergies (as compared to my rather minor and manageable peanut allergy and my more life threatening, though not terribly problematic in the sense that they don't often " [...]

    14. I've seen - plenty of times - the unconscious frown of a waitress when you ask for a minor change (no onions) to a recipe. Imagine having to do that any time you go out to eat because those ingredients could kill you.Given all of the current news reports on schools creating peanut-free leper colonies, teenagers dying from contaminated kisses, and the rise of gluten-free everything, this book seems very timely. It gives a great glimpse into how difficult managing an allergy, or multiple allergies [...]

    15. Have you ever read a book that made you want to eat an omelet with hazelnut chocolate sauce with a glass of soy milk? Well, I never had until I read this book! I wanted to celebrate being able to eat these foods! In Don't Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life , Sandra Beasley presents a sad but at the same time humorously written account of life with multiple food allergies. Weddings? As careful as she is, nearly half of them have left her gasping for air during an allergic attack. [...]

    16. As the mother of an extremely allergic daughter and as a long-time fan of Sandra Beasley (since she spent a small fraction of her junior year excelling in my class), I completely enjoyed this book. Sandra explains everything you ever needed to know about allergies, and more than I ever knew. Having observed my daughter break out in hives when the wrong food touched her lips, I can vouch for the veracity of Sandra's descriptions of her allergic reactions. She is a very brave woman who, when I kne [...]

    17. This book is heavy on the history, the medicine and the politics of allergies. It may be off-putting to those looking for more anecdote than fact. But I thoroughly enjoyed those aspects of the book and I learned a fair amount I didn't know before about allergies and current research. My son is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts - especially hazelnuts (!), soy, corn, wheat, apples and a host of environmental allergens. His reactions aren't as severe as Beasley's but we do have to be vigilant (and car [...]

    18. The book jacket promised me wit and a journalist's curiosity. I was disappointed. This is mostly facts about allergens and the people who have them interspersed with personal anecdotes. All-in-all it left me a little bored and dissatisfied. The facts were well sourced within the text. I did appreciate that.

    19. Engaging, well researched, eye-opening book. Saying it's about food allergies doesn't capture the readable combination of information and personal experience.

    20. Sandra Beasley is an allergy sufferer, and she has plenty of funny/terrifying anecdotes to share. She's also well-researched on the topic, and provides lots of useful scientific information about how allergies actually work.I was once a food allergy skeptic. Not that I totally disbelieved in their existence, of course: I was fully aware there people out there who could have up to and including fatal reactions to eating certain foodstuffs. I more fell in along the lines of accepting the need for [...]

    21. It was the title that caught me. I was just going to skim through it to get an overview, but I quickly got pulled in by Beasley's honest and quirky writing style as well as the amazing amount of information that she's packed into this book. I've been affiliated with the food industry for a big chunk of my life, and the issues covered in this book address that side of things, as well as the terrifying realities of living with multiple and severe food allergies.Beasley really got the short end of [...]

    22. As a mother of a child with a life-threatening food allergy, I was anxious to read this book. The author does a great job of describing her allergic reactions as well as outlining the scientific history behind food allergies and current theories and treatments as well as their limitations. I did find some of Sandra's thoughts lacking in compassion. She seems to focus in on peanut allergies which have gotten the most press as well as the most focus on treatment options from allergists. She states [...]

    23. Part anecdotal memoir and part scientific piece, this is about what it's like to grow up living with a variety of food allergies. Beasley is allergic to a variety of things, including (but not limited to) dairy, egg, beef, soy, shrimp and a variety of nuts and melons. Because her list of allergies is extensive, it can be hard for her to do things like, say, eat at a restaurant or even at a friend's house.We are the same age, and I don't remember anyone in my elementary school classes suffering f [...]

    24. As a mother to a child with multiple and life-threatening food allergies - this book was both of comfort and concern. Comfort because of being able to read that someone "gets it" and can relate/describe what life is like when dealing with this health issue. Concern because of worrying how my daughter will handle it as she gets older - that she will make choices that may jeopardize her life because she is tired of having to explain/be different or have "that conversation" with someone she is dati [...]

    25. I don't know how I ended up on a list from Crown Publishing to receive Proof and ARCs, but I did. So far I have just given them away or chucked them, because they were NOTHING I would have wanted to read. But, this one looked interesting. I hung on to it to see if it would talk to me. It was great! I really enjoyed it. And, for an uncorrected proof, I have to say the writing/editing was better than most books I buy off the shelf! Sandra Beasley is a poet who decided to write a memoir based on he [...]

    26. An enlightening (and quick!) read about someone with severe food allergies and how on earth she gets through life. Should be eye-opening for those who "don't believe in" allergies. The woman erupts in hives if someone who just ate a dairy product kisses her on the cheek there's no faking that.I enjoyed reading her anecdotes about various reactions in various inconvenient places, and how they occurred. It could be as minor as eating something with the same knife used to cut something she was alle [...]

    27. Beasley missed a big opportunity with this book. She could have really gotten into the nitty gritty of food allergies and life with multiple allergies, but instead she struggles to find balance between memoir and science.The book jumps all over the place to the point that it is almost impossible to follow. Each chapter floats back and forth between personal stories and research with almost no connection between the two. I often couldn't figure out how she got from point A to point B, because the [...]

    28. The book is surprisingly entertaining; it takes a gift to make nearly dying multiple times humorous. It also helped clear up a few misconceptions I had about the different types of allergies. It doesn't assume you have a lot of preexisting knowledge or experience with the subject.The only part I'd suggest skimming is the science in the end, some of it has been updated. The author leaves several helpful suggestions in the back to places you can learn more online.With the rise in food allergies an [...]

    29. We have all read books like this. The beginning and end are very good. Well written, informative, However the middle of the book reads like a text book.

    30. I'll be honest, this book caught my attention because of the title. It is a true story about a girl who grew up with a lot of food allergies and it also talks about allergies in general and theories and treatments and how life with food allergies has changed over the years. I found it particularly interesting because the author was born in 1980 and all the awareness and information that is around today regarding food allergies was not really around back then. I do not have any food allergies so [...]

    31. This well-written book about living with food allergies gained considerably from the wry and unique perspective of its author. Ms. Beasley brought in topics such as company secrets (or secret recipes) that I wouldn't necessarily have connect to food allergies before. As a parent of a child with food allergies, I kept wavering between shock over the number of times Ms. Beasley tried to hide her reactions and delight that, just like any other young adult, she was living her own way. Thought-provok [...]

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