So, I had ordered the Allergic Girl book a while ago, and did finally finish reading it, but a lot has been going on in life lately so I didn’t have any time to sit down & give it the thoughtful review that I felt it deserved. Now, I have the time to do that.
The author Sloane Miller has a popular blog, and is so very easily contacted via Twitter… which as I’ve remarked before, is easily now my go-to resource for any food allergy related news or information. Twitter is how I discovered Sloane, her food allergy advocacy empire, and this wonderful book. I’ll warn you now, this may read more like an advertisement than a review… but this is the first book of its kind that I’ve ever picked up… if there are even any more like this out there, and it really spoke to me.
The first thing that hit me about the book is that it’s an excellent balance of “hey, you’re not alone” and “we’ll work through this”. It’s a comfort & a guide all at once. Of course, the writing style pulled me in right away. In the prologue, you’re dropped into a situation that could easily be a sitcom plot (or your weekend), but the seriousness is not lost in the humor… it’s underscored by it.
The book then moves into accounts of discovering and dealing with food allergies, one passage in particular that I’m going to highlight before I give it to friends & family to read… it describes the anxiety that builds after just an inkling in your mind that a certain food is unsafe (or could be unsafe) for whatever reason. I felt like Sloane had read my mind & put down my thoughts. From the order of thoughts jumping to other thoughts, to the hidden (or hopefully hidden) panic, down to the actions in dealing with such a situation… it’s uncanny. It’s a hard thing to convey to people, even if they are supportive & understanding.
The book covers dating, which can be harrowing… but luckily I have my incredibly supportive wife, and I don’t have to worry about that any more. This is a great guide to anyone in a dating situation, or for younger people with food allergies about to get into dating… or any social situation.
Allergic Girl is thankfully chock-full of resources for everything from websites to support groups to products to help you deal with your food allergies. There are also bullet-points at the end of each chapter, not unlike a textbook… they can work as a personal checklist for you.
This book will help you get organized… build support, learn to pick your food allergy battles, and maybe even to expand your comfort zones. This is what I personally need to work on. Dining out can be a paralyzing fear for me, and I need to learn to find people and restaurants that will work with me to feed me & keep me safe. Whether it’s starting the dialog the right way, using chef cards, or making calls ahead… they are all viable options of acquiring a safe meal.
If you have food allergies, have a friend, relative, or other loved-one with food allergies and want to understand their situation a little more… you need this book. No joke.