Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Review: A Friend Like Henry by Nuala Gardner

About the Book: When Jamie and Nuala Gardner chose a puppy for their autistic child Dale, they weren't an ordinary family choosing an ordinary pet. Dale's autism was so severe that the smallest deviation from his routine could provoke a terrifying tantrum. Their family life was almost destroyed by his condition. His parents were consumed by their attempts to break into their son's world and give him the help he desperately needed.

But after years of constant effort and slow progress, the Gardners' lives were transformed when they welcomed a new family member, Henry, a gorgeous golden retriever puppy. The bond between Dale and his dog finally helped Dale's parents produce the near miraculous breakthrough in their son they had long sought and set him on the road to leading a full and happy life.

My Review: I kind of feel like I don't even know where to start talking about this book. I knew very little about what families with autistic children go through, and after reading this book, a first hand account of a mother with two autistic children, I feel I can empathize much more with the struggle they go through. And while all the daily tasks and events, the simple communications and learning events most parents take for granted are extraordinarily more difficult, this book is in no way a downer.

First of all, I think the Gardners are fantastic parents. They worked tirelessly to help their son live the most normal life he possibly could. After years of working with him and using his obsessions (such as with Mickey Mouse and Thomas the Tank Engine) to teach him about human emotions and connecting with other people to minimal results, they discovered he loved dogs. And so they researched and searched until they were able to find a golden retriever puppy...the breed they thought would be a perfect fit.

A wonderful testament to the glory of dogs, this dog loved their son and became a companion to him and helped this family "get their son back."

This book is the story of a life...of Jamie and Nuala's life, of Dale's life, and of Henry's life. It's about struggle and triumph...parental love and the love of a dog. It's profoundly moving, inspiring, and educational. I highly, highly recommend it. Just be sure to have a box of tissues nearby when you read....you'll need it.

Buy the book on Amazon.


Anonymous said...

That book sounds wonderful. There's nothing like a good dog and I happen to have a fantastic one.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a touching book. Man's best friends are wonderful creatures, and a miracle worker in this story. Thanks for this review.

Hey Amy, if ya get a minute, bop over to my blog. I did a fun twist with my readers re: the Halloween vampire story festival you proposed. I asked my readers to provide me with prompts, five porps and three characters that I have to include in the short story. Today I have a poll going so the readers can vote for their favorite set of prompts. Fun stuff.

Marvin Blogs at Free Spirit: http://inspiritandtruths.blogspot.com/
Eye Twitter 2 - http://twitter.com/Paize_Fiddler

photoquest said...

This sounds like a wonderful book!! I love books with animal stories.

Anonymous said...

I can honestly say this is the worst book I have ever read. The only redeeming part of the book is when Dale offered his own insights in just a few pages. The book should have been titled...Me, me and more about me. This was one of the most egotistical books I've read, and I've been reading for over 50 years. I highly recommend NOT reading this book.

kucing-mati-lemas said...

thanks for providing a review about this book. i bought the book, and yes, cried a bit (very tiny, weenie bit) at the end. a very fine book, i daresay. i always love books about animals-master bond. i'm the kind of people who went to book store and grin from ear to ear while flipping through book about pets.

to mr anonymous above me, reading for over 50 years doesn't mean you're superior. look at the bright side: this book give such an insight to those parents struggling with their autism kids.
okay, maybe by now you really SHOULD fuck yourself.

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