Review – All I can Handle: I’m no Mother Theresa

All I can Handle: I’m no Mother Theresa – Kim Stagliano

I think I have mentioned a few times now about my ongoinall-i-can-handleg battle with myself to be as objective and open minded as possible when approaching books. This is very difficult for me as I can often struggle with black and white thinking, and going into reviewing I knew that books on ABA and parent biographies were going to be especially difficult. This book is a strange one for me to review because I disagree with (at least) half of what Stagliano has written about – yet her writing was strangely engaging…

Stagliano is the mother of three girls (at least one is probably a young woman by now) with autism. She engages in biomedical/diet/DAN!Doctor treatments for autism, desperately wants a cure for autism and (as might be given away by the foreword) is very much in the same kind of camp as Jenny McCarthy – and I was not a fan of her book.

Some of the things she writes about are infuriating – such as the belief that vaccines contribute to autism and that some of her children (I honestly can’t recall if it’s one or two) are not vaccinated. The DAN! (Defeat Autism Now!) stuff is equally frustrating, and all the GF/CF diet stuff (largely disproven) is another tired theme in many parent biographies.

And yet?

I didn’t hate the entire book. Now, that doesn’t exactly sound like an accolade I’ll admit but when I compare my reaction to this book to my reaction to Louder Than Words, I found there wasn’t half as much annoyance. Stagliano has been through a hell of a lot of chaos in her life (her husband’s persistent unemployment until recent years being a notable one not autism related) and the way she writes about that is engaging. She worries about what will happen to her daughters when they get older and when her and her husband are gone, she writes about her fears when her daughter elopes or wanders, and when she talks about the chaos of having three autistic children without going into excessive personal details, I found sections of her writing in those areas interesting as well.

I honestly cannot work out what my final position is on this book, so the best I can say is that it did not anger or frustrate me quite the same way many of the other parent biographies have, and whilst I disagreed with big chunks of what she was writing about I found the book an interesting read.

Worth reading?

I honestly have no idea – this is one I’ll have to leave to your best judgment.

Value for money?

New it’s priced similarly to many other parent biographies (around the £10 mark) which is a bit much if you’re just a bit curious. If you get it second hand then it’s below £5.

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