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A Friend Like Ben: The cat that came home for Christmas Hardcover – 14 Oct 2010

116 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (14 Oct. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007376138
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007376131
  • Product Dimensions: 14.1 x 2.6 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 377,771 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

‘Julia paints a vivid picture of the symptoms and effects of autism… A truly inspirational biography.’ Hull Daily Mail

‘A very interesting read which is both uplifting and informative.’ South Wales Argus

‘A satisfying true story… the perfect Christmas gift for a cat lover.’ The Weekend Examiner

‘Heart-warming… perfect winter reading.’ Your Cat Magazine

About the Author

Julia Romp lives in Isleworth with her son George and their cat Ben. When she is not looking after her family and the stray cats in the area, Julia works for the charity Lost and Found helping to re-home cats. After her success of her campaign to find Ben, Julia has become known as the local pet detective.


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4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Christina on 29 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback
The book is a moving, true story about a mother and her son's struggles with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). Julia Romp has a quiet, withdrawn, severely autistic ten year old child called George. George, like many autistic children, struggles to cope with any change in routines and to make friendships. Little did Julia Romp first realise that a stray black and white cat with piercing green eyes who began visiting her garden could make such an impact on her life, and that having a friend like Ben could be so beneficial for her son.

Using `cat talk', George begins to express emotions such as love which he was otherwise unable to do so. George becomes more imaginative as he creates stories about his and Ben's adventures which he shares with his mother. Although there is no cure for ASD, having a friend like Ben has helped George to express more of his personality, communicate more and learn to show affection towards loved ones. When Ben goes missing, his mother knows that Ben needs to be found for them to enjoy Christmas and for George's progress to continue.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Peter Durward Harris #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 16 April 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is about a single mother (the author), an autistic boy (her son) and a cat (who they met by accident). It seems that the author had a good childhood, but it didn't exactly prepare her for the birth of her son, who wasn't like other baby boys. It took several years to learn that the boy was autistic, previous to which a lot of people had stereotypically assumed that he was a badly behaved boy and that his mother wasn't very good. You might think in this day and age that the relevant authorities would be able to detect autism at a very early age, but it's clearly not the case. Even having identified the problem, it still wasn't easy for mother and son to communicate with each other.

One day, a stray cat in poor condition walked into their life and the mother took it to the vet, not sure who if anybody owned it. When the vet was ready to release the cat to a home, the mother was offered the cat. Initially reluctant, she changed her mind when she saw that her son was interested in the cat. From that point on, the son began to communicate in ways that he had not done before. Everything was so much better after that until the cat disappeared one day, and the son relapsed to his previous condition. Three months pass by during which the mother searches extensively for the cat. He is eventually found a few days before Christmas, not by her efforts, but by the microchip she'd had implanted in him when she first took care of him. So the story ends happily, at least for now. The mother knows that she will have to find a replacement cat some day, but that is for the future.

Apart from whatever skill she has shown in dealing with her son, the author has managed to present her story in an interesting way that avoids being too soppy or whatever. I can only hope that the future is good for the family, and that the authorities get their act together and ensure that autism awareness is made more widespread.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By suki on 19 Oct. 2010
Format: Hardcover
Wonder of wonders, the book i have most enjoyed, a young boys life with autism.... I have a child with this condition and life is a hurdle..this book made me laugh and cry,Magnificent read and truly inspirational.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ron on 19 Oct. 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book of a mother's unconditional love for her son and much more. Reading A Friend Like Ben: The cat that came home for Christmas was truly inspirational. It is easy to read, and the author has a very moving story, which gave me a better understanding of what a mother goes through, with a child who has autism. What is more amazing about this book, is selfless determination of the author in finding Ben for her son. This read had humour and courage and I Loved it! it is a truly great read and definitely inspiring. If It wasn't for a mother love for her child, then Ben would not have been home for Christmas...
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M. W. Carey on 23 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my partner on recommendation from a friend. She took it away with us on holiday to Devon and she was wrapped up in it ,every spare moment she had - I beleive DELIGHTED would be an under statement !
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Loopy on 25 Dec. 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book was featured in an article on the internet, & this really made the complete story a must-read. There is no e-book available outside the UK & the printed book is only available from Amazon.uk. I couldn't understand why since the story has universal appeal. What a nice surprise I got when I started reading it, since it is not only a touching story but a delightful puzzle for Yanks like me who know nothing about London. I am annotating the book in pencil in the margins after looking up the definitions of the British terms in Google. For example, on pages 3 & 4, the first two pages of Chapter 1, I have 6 annotations! If you are a Brit you will just have to put up with a wonderful, touching story and not have the opportunity to stretch your brain, since you will already understand the terms used. Maybe one day the book will be published for American readers who aren't puzzle lovers. Thank you, Julia Romp. Merry Christmas, Ben, Julia & George!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By H on 11 Oct. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this book as I am an absolute sucker for cat story books. However, as much as there is quite a bit about Ben the cat, the story is more about the trials and tribulations and successes of a young single mother and her challenged young son. It is a very uplifting tale nonetheless and one cannot but be full of admiration for the author; however, I would have preferred more about the cat. This is not to say that I did not enjoy it, I did. It is also a short book and took no time at all to read.
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