Saturday, August 20, 2011

Don't Kill the Birthday Girl, by Sandra Beasley

Don't Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life
Sandra spent her entire life with severe food allergies.  Severe and extensive food allergies.  She never got to enjoy a cupcake for a classmate's birthday, and a cheeseburger is simply not within the realm of possibilities.  Frequent reactions and illness due to food reactions, sometimes resulting in trips to the emergency room, became a normal part of life for her.  In this book, she discusses the impact of food allergies on her own life, and how society as a whole can be better informed and help make the world safer for those with such intense and life limiting allergies.

As someone who has never experienced a food allergy, I was really ill informed about how allergies impact daily living.  Sure, I have allergies to some medications that cause issues, and a bit of lactose intolerance, and I, like many others, have noticed allergy warnings and heard the urban legend like stories of people dying after kissing someone who ate an allergen laced food.  But by and far, I was completely in the dark, and this book really helped shed some light on the subject of food allergies.  A lot of good scientific information was presents, as well as Sandra's personal life experiences.

Many people have criticized this book, saying it does not take the issue seriously enough.  I disagree.  I think Sandra approached her situation like a lot of people would, what teenager or young adult does not try to push boundaries, thinking they are immortal?  What person would not once in a why be cautiously optimistic and try a food?  Even foods that were safe in the past ended up causing a reaction later down the road, so I feel like her approach to life was an attempt at normality that is completely understandable.

I felt like this book really helped enlighten me to the danger of food allergies, and helped me consider points of view I other wise would not.  It is a good place to start for someone who has a friend, family member, or partner with food allergies, or for someone looking to learn more about food allergies in general.  While Sandra's life may not be typical to one with severe food allergies, I believe it still has a lot to teach us.

I received a review copy as part of the Amazon Vine program.

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