December 1, 2010

“All I Can Handle, I’m No Mother Teresa”

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 10:03 am by autismmommytherapist

Kim Rossi Stagliano’s “Kimoir” All I Can Handle, I’m No Mother Teresa”, a memoir about her life with her husband and three girls on the autism spectrum, finally made its debut a few weeks ago. Although it’s been sitting on my bedstand for weeks mocking me for my lack of free time, it wasn’t until recently that I finally had the opportunity to ignore both my children and Facebook for a few hours and sink my teeth into it. I pretty much devoured it in one evening, an impressive feat considering we were in the throes of the stomach virus chez McCafferty. The fact that I wasn’t just squandering my time with reality tv and drinking heavily (this was one NASTY little virus) is a rousing endorsement for the book in and of itself.

I read pretty much everything parents write about their autistic children, both in the hopes I’ll glean some great tip I haven’t thought of that might help my own progeny, and also because discovering other people’s stories has helped shaped my writing about my own. I admit, when I finally got the chance to pick up the pretty pink-covered tome, I began to peruse it through three completely different lenses. First, I read it from the perspective of a mom, all of whose children reside on the autism spectrum as well.  Second, I looked at it through the eyes of a writer, one who has also penned a manuscript about her little darlings. The third lens perhaps was the most important however, as I poured through the writing as a harried woman desperate for Christmas ideas for her neurotypical brethren.

Sorry, friends and family, guess I should have written “SPOILER ALERT”.

I wasn’t certain anyone could pull off writing an entire book about three autistic children, the accompanying challenges a family faces, AND accomplish it with humor as an integral aspect woven throughout the work, but Kim Stagliano has done it. By writing hilariously about her struggles to secure adequate schooling and services for her girls, her husband’s multiple layoffs, and her myriad moves (one of which included returning to her parents’ home with all three kids in tow, perish the thought), she managed to make their story completely relatable to someone with absolutely no direct experience with the disorder. Trust me, by doing so she deservers the medal AND the monument. As my readers know, autism is often not the funniest of “gigs”.

She also writes with stunning honesty about her marriage as well, and I admit the chapter in which she highlights a moment of loud clarity on a golf course conjured up several of my own “make it or break it” moments in my union, which I’ve noticed most marriages which last longer than the equivalent of a guarantee possess even without disabled children in the mix. Her prose is witty, her vignettes engaging, and most importantly, her story simply transcends autism. I laughed on and off for the better part of three hours (which doesn’t happen often here), and I admit I’ve dog-eared several of the funnier pages as references to get me through the impending holidays when the chocolate runs out. Hell, it is MY copy after all.

So the upshot is, if you don’t know me personally, I recommend you purchase it because I guarantee you’ll learn something, find your own life and family somewhere within its confines, and most importantly, whether you tend to a difficult child or not, you’ll also laugh your ass off.

And if we’re related or friends, guess what’s going in your stocking this year. At least you know how much to spend on me.


  1. misifusa said,

    So glad you were able to actually read an entire book with your busy schedule…and a good one at that! Sorry about the virus…hope all are better! I’ll have to read it as well!

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