Friday, May 8, 2015

All I Can Handle: I'm No Mother Teresa by Kim Stagliano



All I Can Handle: I’m No Mother Teresa: A Life Raising Three Daughters with Autism by Kim Stagliano

Review by: Lauren

Source: copy from library; all opinions are my own


Official Summary: Dr. Spock? Check. Penelope Ann Leach (Remember her?) Check. What to Expect When You’re Expecting? Check. I had a seven hundred dollar Bellini crib for God’s sake!

Everything was perfect…”

...and so begins Kim Stagliano’s electrifying and hilarious memoir of her family’s journey raising three daughters with autism. Always outspoken, often touching, and sometimes heartbreaking, Kim Stagliano is a powerful new voice in comedic writing—her “Kimoir” (as she calls it) is the next must-read within the autism community and the literary world at large.

Review: I had seen this memoir at the library I work at for a while now. I guess something about the title jumped out at me and I knew I wanted to read it. One day, I finally took it off the shelf and brought it home and I’m so happy I did! While I’m not a huge fan of the cover (seems too simple, I suppose), the inner contents of this book are well worth praise. Kim Stagliano is a happy wife and mother of three daughters: Mia, Gianna, and Bella. What is not so typical of her and her family is that all three girls have a diagnosis of autism. They do not all have the same issues when it comes to autism, which made reading about them even more interesting. I think most of us have some idea of autism in our head (I know I do), but All I Can Handle helps flip that image a bit by providing various examples from Stagliano’s girls to other people she has met on her autism journey.

All I Can Handle deals with serious topics from the girls, to unemployment, to working on marriage when times are tough, but it’s never depressing or too dreary. Stagliano has a matter-of-fact writing style that makes you feel like you know her in person, and she’s always adding in needed doses of humor throughout her stories. Each chapter is essentially an essay describing a particular moment or topic from her life. She’s open and honest about her financial struggles and how difficult it is to deal with three girls with autism. She loves her kids and would do anything for them. She believes in a cure and hopes that her girls will lead happy, independent lives in the future. If not, she’ll do whatever she can to at least make sure they are happy and safe. Stagliano has learned to appreciate the little things in life, especially with her girls, but that doesn’t mean she’s not sometimes frustrated or mad. Life with autism is not always easy, but being a good mom means pushing through even if it’s not always perfect.

All I Can Handle is a wonderful look into the personal side of autism and how it affects the entire family and not just the one with the diagnosis. Reading it will hopefully bring comfort, empathy, and understanding- depending on the reader.

21 comments:

Melliane said...

It's not a topic I've read about before so I confess that it's quite intriguing and interesting. thanks for the discovery!

Erika Sorocco said...

I was a Psych major in college, and studied autism extensively; thus, I think I'd love reading this.

xx

GABY said...

Sounds interesting, I like that it isn't sad but funny. It can't be easy!

Kindlemom said...

I love that there is humor mixed in to help keep this light.
Wonderful review!

Tracy Terry said...

Oh my goodness, three children with autism. Its hard enough with one child with the condition.

Sounds like a great book. I love that it takes a light-hearted look.

Emma said...

This sounds such a aspiring novel with a mother of three children with autism. My mum works with them and I have too on occasion and it's very hard because there is such varying degrees of it. Great review, Lauren.

P.S you work in a library?! So do I! :D

Liviania said...

I just can't get into memoirs.

Heidi Rainy Day Ramblings said...

Wow. Three girls with autism. That is a tough job for any mom. I am glad though that this book isnt' dreary and depressing. Thanks for sharing.

Claudia Arroyo said...

I am not sure if this is something I would read for myself. . .perhaps, yes, when I am in one of those "I need to know more about this topic," type of moods, but I do know a couple of people that would benefit from this book!

Thank you for featuring it and for sharing your thoughts! I'll be sharing your review with them! :)

Claudia @ My Soul Called Life

Alise said...

Really great review, this one is totally new to me and yet now I want to read it. The mix of humor and the reality of issues faced in day to day life sound great, plus I'm interested in the subject matter.

Alexia561 said...

I don't usually read memoirs, but am curious to see how a mother would deal with three autistic children. Sounds like an amazing family!

Diva Booknerd said...

I love books about the lives of REAL people, the ones who live ordinary lives where extraordinary things happen and this sounds exactly that. I can't imagine how difficult it would be to have one Autistic child, never mind three. I can imagine the strain it would put on the family and marriage and this is probably a great book for parents in general, not just ones who have Autistic children. I think the big selling point is that they are never alone and memoirs such as this one go a long way to help parents with coping I'd think. Wonderful review Lauren, I love that you're so widely read and I'm able to discover new reads I wouldn't normally come across <3

Jasprit said...

This is not the sort of book that I would normally read, but I really like the sound of it. I'm glad you enjoyed this one Lauren!

Midnight Cowgirl said...

This sounds like a fascinating book!

DMS said...

I had no idea what this book was about before reading your review. Now I will definitely be reading this memoir. I am sure it is interesting based on the topic alone. I know a lot of families with an autistic child, but three definitely adds some additional challenges and I can only imagine them. Thanks for sharing!
~Jess

kimbacaffeinate said...

Since my son has aspergers these type of books have me curious and I like that it offered a more personal view.

Tanja - Tanychy said...

Surprisingly but I haven't read any book that deals with autism. I really like the sound of this one and it seems really deep. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Great review :)

Kirsty-Marie Jones said...

Exactly, autism effects everyone in a family, not just the person who has it, so I'm glad it goes into that! :)

cleemckenzie said...

I was overwhelmed just reading the story line. Three daughters with autism? That has to be one amazing mom.

Christy @ Love of Books said...

Oh, this sounds fantastic. I bet my aunt would love this. Great review!

Cleo Bannister said...

This sounds fantastic and informative especially as all three girls present with different aspects of autism. Thanks for sharing.