23 Sept 2008

Autism book: A Friend Like Henry

I was asked during the summer if I wanted a review copy of an "inspiring, true story of an autistic little boy, Dale Gardner, who conquered his autism with the help of the family’s golden retriever puppy named Henry."

The attached press release for the book didn't inspire much hope, with lines like these:
While most people associate dogs as family pets and even helpers for those who are physically disabled, not many people think of these gentle beasts as great therapy for a disease as complex as autism. I’m happy to share with you the remarkable true story of a dog who brought a boy out of the shadows of autism and helped him conquer this debilitating condition (my emphasis).
The people writing to me had obviously never read any of my blog (shocking, I know) or they might have known that I'm not going to be too enamoured by that type of depiction of autism. But perhaps the publishers were responsible for giving the book a certain spin, trying to cash in on the growing market for autism recovery tales, in which autism must be presented as nothing less than demonic possession and natural maturation as a miracle. Perhaps the book itself was a much more open, honest and thoughtful depiction of the development of an autistic child and his family's efforts to support him. I was interested too to read about Henry since we had recently bought a dog.

But more than anything, my inherent thriftiness didn't allow for the turning down of a free book. So I asked them to send it, telling myself I'd keep an open mind and hoping to be pleasantly surprised.

I'd say anyone who has read more than 3 posts here might guess what happened.


Heike Fabig said...

Hmm, yeah, willing to bet five dollars you didn't like it. But please, please, we want all the juicy info. Al the stuff you didn't like. And of course, I wonder if you are now going to sell your dog?

Sharon McDaid said...

Heike, sell our wee Pippi? Great Scooby no! I'd rather sit through every talk in a DAN! conference than have her leave our family.

So you think I didn't enjoy this heartfelt tale? Hmm, wonder what gave you that idea?

Sharon McDaid said...

Hi Kev, I had that email from them today too. The same person has emailed me several times asking when I'm going to write about the copy they sent in August.

kristina said...

have been reading it----horses too in the book.....

Anonymous said...

Ooooeee! I love your blog, Sharon. I'm just catching-up after being away a while.

I just reviewed a book on my blog this week. My own choice, checked it out from the public library and couldn't keep my thoughts to myself.

I'm like Heike, inquiring minds want to know, or "me, myself and I". But I haven't read the post on top of this one yet, and maybe that will satisfy me.

Coincidently, I must be off to a meeting for local therapists to learn about ABA. Yes! Then I will know how best to refer for this, er, technique. I'll be back later, Barbara

Julie L. said...

Found your blog googling the book. At least you received a freebie-- even though it seems you didn't like it all that much.: ( All I got was spam via not one but two comments!

Sharon McDaid said...

Hi J, I wrote more about the book here and yes, I didn't like it much.

But my son likes the front cover picture!

Little Miss Snooze said...

Hi I came here from google when I was surfing for non commercial reviews of the book. Im reading it now.

Have always been interested in this topic which is close to my heart, as my sister is autistic although she was diagnosed way too late (in her teenhood!). And my god brother was diagnosed early and through early intervention programme, he is really developing very well though not still ready for mainstream classes.

I'll be reading your blog, if you don't mind.

Sharon McDaid said...

@Little Miss Snooze, thanks for reading and leaving a note.
Have you read it and what did you think?
And I'm happy that you will be reading more.