Kim Stagliano is the first Class Member of the 2011 Debutante Ball to debut with her memoir, All I Can Handle: I’m No Mother Teresa: A Life Raising Three Daughters with Autism. Although the official launch day is November 1st, Amazon is selling and shipping the book now.
Here’s a one sentence description….and just a bit more:
How one woman raises three daughters with autism, loses one at Disney World, stays married, has sex, bakes gluten-free, goes broke, and keeps her sense of humor.
“Dr. Spock? Check. Penelope Ann Leach (remember her?)? Check. What to Expect When You’re Expecting? Check. I had a seven hundred dollar Bellini crib for God’s sake! I was perfect. And so was Mia when she was born . . .”
And this praise:
“Incredibly funny. . . A bird’s–eye view into what it’s really like to love and raise kids with autism.” —Jenny McCarthy, world-renowned autism activist, mother, and bestselling author, in her Foreword
The Divining Wand has scheduled a presentation/review of All I Can Handle for Monday, November 1, 2010. In the meantime, let’s meet the author who offers a more personal touch to her bio:
Hi, I’m Kim Stagliano, wife, Mom, writer, tired. My husband and I have three gorgeous girls – who have autism. Kind of impossible, considering autism affects boys 4:1 over girls. Mark and I have learned that impossible is often inescapable though. My book is humorous look at a life that has been anything but ordinary or easy – and yet is full of laughter, joy and love.
I promise, you won’t need a Prozac to read it.
I’m Managing Editor of www.ageofautism.com, the nation’s first daily web newspaper about the autism epidemic. I write for The Huffington Post www.huffingtonpost.com/kim-stagliano, The Debutante Ball www.thedebutanteball.com, The Dallas Morning News Moms Blog http://momsblog.dallasnews.com and am on the editorial staff of the Autism File Magazine. I speak at national autism conferences, and have appeared on Good Morning America (with the kids!), ABC News, Fox News, in The Chicago Tribune, The National Catholic Register, and on blogs around the world.
I’m available for both in-person and Skype bookclub appearances and would love to learn about YOUR story.
Mark and I live in CT with Mia, Gianna and Bella.
Impressive, yet the truth is that’s what Kim does. For who she is, it’s time to discover her revealing self:
Q: How would you describe your life in 8 words
A: Raucous, amorous, unusual, blessed, tumultuous, surprising, content, introspective
Q: What is your motto or maxim?
A: I know God will only give me what I can handle. I just wish he didn’t trust me so much. (Credit Mother Teresa.)
Q: How would you describe perfect happiness?
A: I’ve experienced perfect happiness in something as simple as watching one of my girls achieve a simple task, like when Gianna learned to tie her shoes at age 11. If I had a wand of my own, it would be hearing a doctor say, “The girls no longer have autism,” and knowing they would live out their lives independently, especially after their Dad and I are gone.
Q: What’s your greatest fear?
A: See above: Mark and I will leave the girls behind in this cruel world when we die.
Q: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A: On top of The Eiffel Tower looking at Paris after dark.
Q: With whom in history do you most identify?
A: Madam Defarge. No, wait, that’s literature. I’d have to say Harriet Beecher Stow, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Her biography describes her as, “an absent-minded and moody young lady” (check) and by writing Uncle Tom’s Cabin she took great risk. Plus my roommate in boarding school was her great-great-great niece.
Q: Which living person do you most admire?
A: My little brother Richard for the honorable, kind hearted, generous man he became despite my torturing him throughout his childhood.
Q: What are your most overused words or phrases?
A: The clean ones? In my writing I use, “headed” far too often. Everyone heads here and there. A quick find-replace search appalled me. In speaking I say, “right” a lot as a way to affirm I’m listening to someone. I’m pretty sure it’s as annoying as “you know,” to other people’s ears.
Q: If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A: Real or magical? I’d like to become an astute medical intuitive and Reiko master so I could help discern what is going on inside my children, especially my youngest daughter, who is preverbal. I guess that’s both real and magical!
Q: What is your greatest achievement?
A: I’ve helped a lot of parents in the autism community. I think that kind of service to others is always a person’s greatest achievement.
Q: What’s your greatest flaw?
A: My temper. What! You don’t BELIEVE ME??????
Q: What’s your best quality?
A: My sense of humor.
Q: What do you regret most?
A: I regret leaving Doylestown, Pennsylvania in 1999 to move back to Cleveland, Ohio just as Mia and Gianna were getting their diagnosis. We’d have been able to do more for them in Pennsylvania, and I was closer to my family in New England.
Q: If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A: I’d be the head of Health and Human Services to get real autism research and programs in place.
Q: What trait is most noticeable about you?
A: My blue Cookie Monster sized eyes. I look like The Runaway Bride in most photos.
Q: Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A: Joseph Morelli from Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum mysteries. (By favorite you mean the biggest hunk, yes?)
Q: Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A: Hannibal Lecter. Lord, I love him. His snark, his wit, his ability to reach down into a character’s soul and pluck the sorest string.
Q: If you could meet any athlete, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A: Boomer Esiason. I had a huge crush on him in the late 1980s and met him once at a tradeshow (that puddle on the floor was me.) He has done so much for his son Gunnar and Cystic Fibrosis, and I enjoy him on WFAN radio. I’d say, “Der, blah-blu, er, er, er.” The crush continues.
Q: What is your biggest pet peeve?
A: The noises people make when they eat. I want to run screaming out of the room. Funny thing is, my kids have difficulty eating and make a boatload of noise. It’s like penance.
Q: What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
Q: What’s your fantasy profession?
A:Cake decorator at Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, home of The Cake Boss.
Q: What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A: Tenacity, curiosity, loyalty
Q: If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A: Greek yogurt with hot fudge.
Q: What are your 5 favorite songs?
A: In no particular order: Beautiful Child by Fleetwood Mac, Two Kinds of Love, by Stevie Nicks, Love Cats (our wedding song) by The Cure, Promised Land by Bruce Springsteen, That’s Amore by Dean Martin.
Q: What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Night by Elie Weisel
The Golden Apples of the Sun by Ray Bradbury
One for the Money by Janet Evanovich
Mr. Pudgins by Ruth Christoffer Carlson
Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away two copies of Melissa Senate’s The Love Goddess’ Cooking School in a random drawing of comments left only on this specific post, Melissa Senate and The Love Goddess’ Cooking School. Comments left on other posts during the week will not be eligible. The deadline is tonight at 7:00 p.m. EDT with the winners to be announced here in tomorrow’s post. If you enter, please return tomorrow to see if you’re a winner.