Tag Archives: autism

Cowboy & Wills – Review

Cowboy and Wills by Monica Holloway

Age level: 9th – Adult

Wills Holloway was only three years old when he was first diagnosed with Severe High Autism. Mother Monica, did her best to help her son navigate his way through the intricacies of autism and the real world. Before turning to doctors, psychologists and other specialists to help Wills transition, Monica would stop by a local pet store to purchase small pets, (hamsters, turtles, hermit crabs). Each animal, in its own small way, helped draw Wills out of his shell and overcome very small battles in his life. It wasn’t until Cowboy, the lovable puppy golden retriever was introduced to their lives, that Wills really began to evolve from an introverted boy with autism, to a young child, playing and laughing with friends. Small experiences, such as saying a name aloud, or taking a bath, were battlegrounds for the Holloway family, but Cowboy was a friendly beacon helping bring Wills into a seemingly normal life. Wills would transfer his fears and doubts onto Cowboy, and in turn, help her overcome a fear of hiking, or a fear of swimming or whatever else Wills was fearing at the moment. This form of projection helped Wills feel in control of his life. As therapeutic as Cowboy was for Wills, he still had a full time aide as a school for kindergarten and first grade, a therapist he saw twice a week, an occupational therapist once a week to help him with his motor skills and a specialist trying to diagnose Wills autism and issue a final report. With all the pets the family has collected over the years and two incredibly loving and devoted parents, and Wills has one of the strongest and well built support systems I’ve ever encountered. Although his mother kept discussing how much of a financial strain the therapy and vet bills put on their family, I never got the sense that it was that much of an issue. Monica is a stay at home mother and writer, and her husband Michael is a writer for a sitcom in Los Angeles.

This is still a very touching story about a boy and his dog and his struggle to overcome his autism and interact normally with kids his own age and other people in his life.

Cowboy and Wills: A Love Story
by Monica Holloway
Simon & Schuster, 2009
ISBN 1416595038
276 pages
Source: Review

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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time – Review

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon

Age: Adult

Talk about a breath of fresh air in the world of literature. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon is an incredibly engrossing story told through the eyes of a 15 year old boy with Asperger’s Syndrome, a type of autism.

Here’s an excerpt:

“Mr. Jeavons, the psychologist at the school, once asked me why 4 red cars in a row made it a Good Day, and 3 red cars in a row made is a Quite Good Day, and 5 red cars in a row made it a Super Good Day, and why 4 yellow cars in a row made it a Black Day, which is a day when I don’t speak to anyone and sit on my own reading books and don’t my lunch and Take No Risks. He said that I was clearly a very logical person, so he was surprised that I should think like this because it wasn’t very logical”

This book is a murder mystery. Christopher Boone finds his neighbors dog stabbed through the body with a garden fork. He then begins an investigation to find out who the murderer is. As he looks for the murderer, he writes a book, a sort of journal, detailing his search, his findings, his observations and feelings. The more complicated the investigation gets, the more Christopher has to pull himself out of his comfort zone and be brave. He is clever and very observant of all details. There is lots of drama with his family and neighbors. A lot of inadvertant jokes, made on his behalf and some made by him, and plenty of sentimentallity. Haddon’s ability to communicate to the rest of the world through a dissociated mind is an incredible take on the world of literature.

Just a warning, the setting, characters, all take place in England, so be prepared for some England-English terminology that you might not be familiar with. Other than that, its a quick and entertaining read. The pace is even and the writing clever, even when Christopher goes on tangents to explain variations on the quadratic formula.

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