2017 Reading Challenge

2017 Reading Challenge

Tina has read 2 books toward her goal of 40 books.
hide

Thursday, December 2, 2010

REVIEW for All I Can Handle




TITLE:         All I can Handle

AUTHOR:   Kim Stagliano

GENRE:      Memoir

RATING:     4 Stars (for the honesty)




I read a lot of memoirs and I am not afraid to hear about the harsh realities of life.  It is obvious that life can be hard at times, so, when I started reading All I Can Handle by Kin Stagliano I was ready for a hard look at a life with autism.

However, to my surprise, I found myself reading one of the only books that has evoked both anger AND sadness in me at the very same moment.

Author Kim Stagliano is brave in writing her story - I have said this before, writing a memoir leaves you open and exposed and I admire anyone who is willing to do this.  It takes a special kind of courage to write your life story, especially if it is a hard one to write about and All I Can Handle is definitely in that category.

The author starts off by saying that she, like most other little girls, wanted a life of "happily ever after" and while she may have gotten the Prince, she certainly did not get an easy and sheltered life with this prince.  In fact, what she got was three beautiful daughters who suffer from autism.


I liked that Stagliano writes her memoir in a down to earth manner - giving us the good and the bad of her life experiences with her beautiful girls.  Some moments are wonderful and while some are downright scary.

However, throughout the entire book I kept thinking (actually my brain was screaming "WHY ON EARTH DID YOU KEEP HAVING BABIES????".    According to the book, Stagliano first daughter showed some very definite signs, at an early age, that something was not quite right and while autism was not diagnosed until later, this may have been a bit of a tip off that maybe continuing to have babies might not be the prudent move at that point - at least until you had more information on what may be happening.

Yes, I am aware that this comment will make me unpopular in some crowds, but I have a cousin who has had severe neurological issues since birth and she is now a 55 year old woman who has never lived a full life, who has relied on her father (and her stepmother - my aunt) all of her life.  The end result?  my uncle is now quite old and incapable of tending to her anymore as he is almost blind and her stepmother (who is afraid of this girl because she can be violent) is worried about how my cousin will deal with the death of her father when it happens).  Oh, there is also the little matter of who will take care of this girl when her father and her stepmother pass away?

I look at my cousins life and I have never seen any joy in it.  Each and every little thing has always been a struggle and reading this memoir actually made me cry - for the life these girls (who did not ask for this) are going to have.

So, I ask again, why on earth did these two people continue to have children?  The author goes as far as to say that after the second child, they started questioning themselves on this very issue - yet, after a particular party they just 'oops" accidentally got pregnant with the third child.  Come on people - take a little responsibility here.  Ever hear of adoption?

Maybe I am missing the point of this memoir - which is, after all, about autism and its causes and hopefully a cure.  While I believe in the fact that 'modern science" might very well end up being more a detriment to us in many ways (drugs, drugs, drugs) and that, in a beautiful world, a cure for autism will happen, it does not negate the fact that we, as adults and potential parents need to make some responsible and, at times, hard choices of our own - which starts with - putting the needs of any future child ahead of our own desire to "have a family".

I also found that the author ranted and raved against the medical establishment as being responsible for autism as well as for not being responsive to it - as I said, I believe there is alot of validity in this statement, however, here again, I think the author needs to share some of the responsibility for the situation she is in.

Finally, I think of those girls - who may very well never have a full and happy life with all its ups and downs and I want to cry all over again because in the end, they are the ones that are truly paying the price for all the poor choices that brought them to where they are today.

Their lives are precious, they are beautiful and deserve to be loved, but they also deserve to enjoy their life without the heavy burdens they face for the future - I feel as though they have been cheated.

1 comment:

Medical Librarian said...

I think you hit on a common problem. People generally have children for selfish reasons--to have someone to love who will love them in return, to be a "mini-me," etc.

 
Blog Design by Imagination Designs all images from the My Time kit by Studio Thaty Borges