For Sandra Beasley, eating has never been a comforting, enjoyable daily activity. Instead, the act of preparing and eating food is often stressful and dangerous, because Sandra Beasley is unfortunate enough to be allergic to almost everything. She can pretty much only eat plain chicken and peas...and she doesn't even like peas! Well, she can eat other things, but not always without risk of developing hives, nausea, and possibly anaphylaxis.
In her lifelong search for "Sandra-friendly" foods, Beasley has become a social activist in support of those with food allergies all over the country. As it turns out, there are more people than you might think who have serious food allergies. Imagine breaking into hives every time you encounter dairy, soy, wheat, or citrus. Now imagine an allergy so severe that you cannot even touch (or kiss) someone who has recently eaten or handled one of these ingredients. Such has been Sandra Beasley's life. She may say that she's not obsessively bitter and angry about her circumstances, but she is. And wouldn't you be if you had spent half your life in a hospital waiting room popping Benadryl like tic-tacs? I would absolutely be pissed off!
With her memoir, Sandra Beasley not only offers a firsthand account of severe, debilitating allergies, but she is also spreading awareness and starting a national conversation. Don't Kill the Birthday Girl provides a discussion of FDA regulations and response to allergy issues, changing policies in public school lunchrooms, and issues with restaurant food preparation. Simply put, severe food allergies are inconvenient for everyone. But with allergic populations on the rise, it's important to take precautions and be aware of the facts. Don't Kill the Birthday Girl may feel a little paranoid at times, but if something as simple as a bite of mango or a slice of cheese could kill you or someone you love, you might be a little paranoid, too.