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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book actually made me laugh about autism!!
I am the mom of a child on the autism spectrum and it is a challenge to say the least - humor goes a long way towards lightening the load. This book had me laughing out loud many times (and tearing up once or twice). The author related many experiences similar to mine - I felt like I had company on this journey - a friend to laugh with when the going gets tough. I...
Published on October 21, 2010 by mlbecker

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51 of 57 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Brash but Vulnerable
Readers familiar with the online autism community and the vaccine controversy already know who Kim Stagliano is. She is a mother, activist, and writer, AND the managing editor of Age of Autism, a blog that calls itself the "daily web newspaper of the autism epidemic."

Stagliano makes clear, often in snarky but funny passages, that this hasn't been the life she...
Published on October 18, 2010 by K. Wombles


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51 of 57 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Brash but Vulnerable, October 18, 2010
This review is from: All I Can Handle: I'm No Mother Teresa: A Life Raising Three Daughters with Autism (Hardcover)
Readers familiar with the online autism community and the vaccine controversy already know who Kim Stagliano is. She is a mother, activist, and writer, AND the managing editor of Age of Autism, a blog that calls itself the "daily web newspaper of the autism epidemic."

Stagliano makes clear, often in snarky but funny passages, that this hasn't been the life she was expecting. She name drops expensive shops, restaurants, and name brands that leave a Texan clueless, but it's always done to indicate that she came from a more wealthy background and has hit financial rock-bottom several times. Stagliano is honest, raw, and real in this book. She doesn't hide herself, her faults, or those moments where she is not at her finest. And for the most part, she doesn't apologize for those lapses. So when she does, she means it and you know it. You might not like her for that honesty. You might disagree with her fiercely, but to deny that courage is to make yourself small.

There is no doubt in my mind that Stagliano adores her children, loves them fiercely, enough so that she gave up her underwear in one scene that had me both laughing and crying. And I did a lot of both laughing and crying as I read her book. I'm not a bit ashamed to admit that. After all, I'm fairly loud and brash, too. Others will have to decide if I'm controversial (hee, I suspect, my detractors will say I am).

Even in chapters that had me less positively engaged, like the ones dealing with vaccines and Wakefield, I busted out laughing at the title to the Wakefield chapter, which was intentionally funny. I did no laughing at, if you get my meaning. There's nothing to mock here, although there is at times plenty to disagree with.

Stagliano fills in the gaps with this book for readers who've been either loving her or not for several years now, as she's written autism-related blogs at Huffington Post in addition to her work at Age of Autism. It's an important book for getting background information on how she got to where she is today and how she came by her beliefs.

What you might have expected, if you're familiar with Stagliano, but will not find, is a dramatic vaccine injury story for either of her two oldest daughters (the third daughter was never vaccinated). No, instead Stagliano offers up her timeline for her oldest and notes the hepatitis B vaccination and the mercury contained in it and the belief that perhaps Mia "may have had encephalitis" somewhere between two and four months. Stagliano also goes through all of her extended family noting that there are no members diagnosed with autism. It displays that there's a long way to go in educating people about the differences between heritability and genetics, for one thing. Ah, and the whole science and critical thinking things, too.

There's plenty of examples in this book of using anecdotes and availability heuristics to justify Stagliano's beliefs, and it's something each of us do as we go through our days, trying to make sense of our worlds, and it's one of the main reasons why relying instead on scientific studies with large samples are far more likely to render a more accurate portrait of reality than what any one person can recall at a particular time.

Despite some significant issues relating to vaccines and to Wakefield, this is a valuable book for readers wanting more information about where Stagliano's coming from. It's not a book for folks new to autism; it won't provide tips, advice, or a warm, fuzzy feeling about overcoming and positivity. It's a book better suited to readers who're already entrenched in the online discussion regarding autism and vaccines and unvalidated, untested therapies versus empirically-based interventions, although oddly enough, Stagliano does not detail some of the untested or dubious therapies and interventions she's used, which she has written about elsewhere. She does discuss the gluten and dairy free diet and the testing her daughters underwent to determine their reaction to gluten and casein.

This book provides a window into Stagliano's often difficult life, and it does not gloss over the hardships involved in caring for children with significant disabilities. It is unflinching, even if it that means it's less than flattering.

This is a book I'm glad I read. At times I lost myself in it; I related to it in many places. I've got three of my own on the spectrum, and many of Stagliano's fears are my own fears. And I laughed hard in all the right places, and I cried with Stagliano in all the right places, too. You cannot read this without connecting to Stagliano when she's writing about her daughters, and when you do, you will laugh and cry with her, too, and for that alone, this is a book worth reading.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book actually made me laugh about autism!!, October 21, 2010
This review is from: All I Can Handle: I'm No Mother Teresa: A Life Raising Three Daughters with Autism (Hardcover)
I am the mom of a child on the autism spectrum and it is a challenge to say the least - humor goes a long way towards lightening the load. This book had me laughing out loud many times (and tearing up once or twice). The author related many experiences similar to mine - I felt like I had company on this journey - a friend to laugh with when the going gets tough. I finished the book in two sittings - could not put it down. It was a great read!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly done!!!, October 22, 2010
By 
christine delany "cdelany" (chestnut hill, ma United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: All I Can Handle: I'm No Mother Teresa: A Life Raising Three Daughters with Autism (Hardcover)
A well written account of what it is like to raise children with autism and come through life's trevails with success and happiness. This book covers it all and is wonderfully written in short chapters which were easy to read. From one Warrior Mom to another - Great work Kim! Well done!!!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great voice but it's also VERY informative, October 25, 2010
By 
Barbara Fischkin (Long Beach, New York) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: All I Can Handle: I'm No Mother Teresa: A Life Raising Three Daughters with Autism (Hardcover)
Anyone who has read Kim Stagliano's vibrant and searing blogs over the last few years will not be surprised that she has written a book that looks at a grim situation with her unique humor - and manages to explain much about autism and the bio-medical autism community in the process.

Certainly this book entertains. It enables us to understand why we admire Kim, her husband Mark and her three extraordinary daughters who must deal with autism every day of their lives. But it does something else. It explains very clearly why parents, like me, worry about vaccinations even when we have vaccinated and do vaccinate in some safe situations. It explains why we are trying the latest bio-medical interventions - which ARE safe - and which are often dismissed by the medical establishment. Many of our physicians however, are part of that establishment, only enlightened.

If you read Kim's book you will get all of this along with the travails and victories of her journey.

I am a reader, an author and a writing teacher. I think I know a good book when I read one.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hope, Humor and Heart-Warming, October 23, 2010
By 
Cheryl Z. (Upstate, New York) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: All I Can Handle: I'm No Mother Teresa: A Life Raising Three Daughters with Autism (Hardcover)
I loved this book! Having a child myself who falls on the autistic spectrum, I found myself unable to put this book down. In some ways, it was so close to my own experiences and the symptoms I noticed in my child when she was younger, that I felt like I could have written the same story. However, add two more children and a mother like Kim Stagliano into the mix and you have a life story that tells the truth and stresses about raising children with special needs, but also the humor you need to survive. Boy, does Kim survive! Life throw unbelievable crap (both literally and figuratively) at her, and no matter what she pulls herself together, takes on these problems head on. Kim and her husband are unstoppable in their love for each other, their girls and no matter what life hands them, somehow things will be okay. I hated to see this book end. Her writing style is very easy to follow and despite the seriousness of her girl's autism, parts of the book are laugh out loud funny. My only wish is that she writes a sequel, and soon.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You had me at "Crapisode"!, November 2, 2010
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This review is from: All I Can Handle: I'm No Mother Teresa: A Life Raising Three Daughters with Autism (Hardcover)
I've been a fan of Kim Stagliano's writing for years. She first caught my attention with her Huffington Post piece where she coined the phrase "crapisode" - a formerly nameless concept that I had been all too familiar with. As a mom whose life was forever changed with my daughter's diagnosis of Autism 8 years ago, I've read countless books on the subject. This was by far the most enjoyable.

With honesty and humor, Kim puts into words the feelings and experiences that so many families affected by autism are facing. Kim shows us that we're not alone as she recounts her own journey and the many challenges (Stagtastrophies) her family has had to overcome. She makes us cry a bit, and laugh out loud. But ultimately, Kim inspires us to grab hold of this life and live it with passion and grace.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars She's the Real Deal, October 21, 2010
By 
Tina M (Royal Oak, MI United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: All I Can Handle: I'm No Mother Teresa: A Life Raising Three Daughters with Autism (Hardcover)
I finished this book in a day. I wish it was longer! Kim Stagliano writes about her own life yet it runs parrallel to mine and so many other warrior moms. She shows that through the tough times (and she's had many), you can survive and thrive. She gives great information about autism that is easy to digest. There is no rereading the page to figure out what she is saying. It's plain and simple and truthful. I would suggest this book to families with autism and those without (are there really any without these days?). It was a pleasure to turn each page and share a laugh and even a few tears. I hope this is just one of many books to come from Kim Stag.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected; not as good as it could have been, September 19, 2011
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Kim Stagliano is definitely a passionate mom who has a lot to say. I was intrigued when I heard about her book, All I Can Handle: I'm No Mother Teresa: A Life Raising Three Daughters With Autism. I am a mother myself, but have no personal experience with autism. I have several friends who have children with autism and I was interested in a deeper look into an autism mom's daily life.

Alas, this book is not what I hoped it would be. I think that Stagliano's scope was larger than I expected it would be. I also think that Stagliano is a good writer whose piece would have benefited from further revision and editing. There were way too many details and asides that detracted from rather than enhanced her storytelling. For example, I could have done without most of the descriptors of her husband's careers and the specifics of his job losses. Just knowing they were struggling with unemployment would have been enough. Also, I can appreciate the author's humorous tone, but felt like she was trying too hard at times.

The topic of the book was compelling and the work itself was readable; I sped right through it. Certain sections would have been great blog entries. The reprint of the "crapisode" essay was great. I just finished the book feeling unsatisfied. There are quite a few memoirs being published right now, and this is a case where the publisher should have been held to a greater standard. The raw material was good, but this book needed work
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All I Can Handle: I'm No Mother Teresa, October 23, 2010
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This review is from: All I Can Handle: I'm No Mother Teresa: A Life Raising Three Daughters with Autism (Hardcover)
A must read for everyone who knows or loves someone with Autism. Even if you don't know someone with Autism the book is easy to read. It will make you laugh a lot and cry a little. By the end of the journey you have a greater insight and understanding of the world of autism. Kim is an amazing mother and author. I look forward to more books by Kim.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Glad I borrowed it vs purchased, October 7, 2011
Not wishing to trash the book because some parts were funny. However, the bitter slant became uncomfortable and awkward after a bit.
I borrowed this book from another parent (like myself) of 2 children on Autism spectrum and we found the poor/lack of editing distracting,
It appeared she was trying way too hard to be snarky and it didn't ring entirely true. I get being honest and realistic about raising children with special needs- Just my opinion but we (person who loaned it and myself) felt like she was trying to manufacture a personality instead of letting it flow in an organically witty way.
Understanding- it's her memoir so she's entitled to write from her point of view.
I just wanted to give an honest review from my end. Doesn't mean everyone or anyone will agree.
I really wanted to like this book. I'm truly glad others did.
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All I Can Handle: I'm No Mother Teresa: A Life Raising Three Daughters with Autism
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