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A Friend Like Henry [Paperback]

Nuala Gardner
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
RRP: £9.99
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Book Description

21 Feb 2008

This is the inspiring account of a family's struggle to break into their son's autistic world - and how a beautiful retreiver dog made the real difference.

Dale was still a baby when his parents realised that something wasn't right. Worried, his mother Nuala took him to see several doctors, before finally hearing the word 'autism' for the first time. Scared but determined that Dale should live a fulfilling life, Nuala describes her despair at her son's condition, her struggle to prevent Dale being excluded from a 'normal' education and her sense of hopeless isolation. Dale's autism was severe and violent and family life was a daily battleground.

But the Gardner's lives were transformed when they welcomed a gorgeous Golden Retriever into the family. The special bond between Dale and his dog Henry helped them to produce the breakthrough in Dale they had long sought. From taking a bath to saying 'I love you', Henry helped introduce Dale to all the normal activities most parents take for granted, and set him on the road to being the charming and well-adjusted young man he is today.

This is a heartrending and fascinating account of how one devoted and talented dog helped a little boy conquer his autism.

Frequently Bought Together

A Friend Like Henry + All Because of Henry + After Thomas [DVD] [2006]
Price For All Three: £19.35

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks (21 Feb 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340934026
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340934029
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 13.2 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 58,494 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'I sat down for a few minutes to skim through A Friend Like Henry...Hours later, I was still there, with tears running down my cheeks - for the appalling difficulties faced in dealing with the condition and with officialdom, but most of all for the extraordinary devotion and empathy between the boy and his dog. Just buy it, please.' (Sarah Stacey, Mail on Sunday)

'Truly affecting ... terribly touching' (David Sexton, Evening Standard)

'More than just a heartwarming tale about a healing relationship between boy and dog. It is also a mother's painful search for love from a child' (Herald)

Book Description

From the publishers of the bestselling BORN ON A BLUE DAY and MARLEY AND ME: the moving and bestselling story of how a devoted family dog helped free a little boy from the prison of his autism.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mans best friend .... 6 Aug 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I knew from the moment I lifted this book that it would hold a special place in my heart . This remarkable story of a boy and his family, lost in the world of Austism, captures all the horrific events that such a disability brings . I should know as I also have a son with the same condition . What an amazing trasformation - just when you feel all is lost , Henry steps into Dales life and helps him to make sense of his confusing world . This wonderful story tugs at your heart strings and also leaves you with a feeling of hope . Hope that Dales remarkable transformation could help others .
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreaking, beautiful and hopeful 16 Aug 2007
I never write reviews, but this book is one of those that you just have to tell everyone you meet to read!
I cried from anguish and joy in turns as I read the harrowing and hopeful journey of the Gardner family as they fought to have Dale's autism recognised and through Dale's breakthrough's due to his family's incredible efforts and Henry the dog's magnificent presence in his life. This should be compulsory reading - it's wonderful!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book 24 Oct 2009
I loved this book. It made be cry like a baby. How a previous reviewer that said they couldn't get on board with the characters is lost on me. I was hooked from the minute I opened it until the end when I sobbed my heart out (and I'm not normally one to cry over a book!) Buy it - it's a great read about a boy with autism, his family's journey and the amazing relationship (and help) that the little boy has with his dog. Fab, Fab, Fab!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To call him a dog hardly does him justice 26 Aug 2007
By J Kelly
A friend like Henry is a book that every parent and dog owner should read, the struggle of the Gardener family and the rewards of owning Henry not only for Dale but for Nuala draws upon every heart string. Every parent wants the best for their child but in some case the mountains we have to climb can seem insurmountable. The silent love and affection your dog can bring you was perfectly captured in the words of the book. Thank you for sharing this story.
It should be on the national curriculum.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book All parents should read 16 April 2008
As the parent of a Autistic Child the story was nothing new to me
but what was the comforting thing is the knowledge that someone else went through the same as me yes i could relate to most of the things in the book and the same feelings of dispair and the wish that my child could be "normal" this is a book that all parents should read as i think that the more understanding there is of the condition can only be for the good and help to dispel fears in relation to MMR and other factors
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A heart warming story! 28 July 2009
By SusieH
A Friend Like Henry
This is the true story of the Gardner family, whose son Dale was born with severe autism. Dale's behaviour ranges from sullen silence to kicking and screaming tantrums - he cannot interact with others, he cannot show love towards his parents.

Follow the family's frustrations - from the lack of understanding of outside observers to dealing with medical and other authorities.

A visit to friends with dogs has Dale communicating with the dogs in a way that he cannot with people. A golden retriever puppy, Henry, joins the family. Henry's devotion allows Dale to communicate and open up, first to Henry, then to his family.

It is very moving to follow the progress made by Dale, and you could feel the joy of his parents as Dale starts to express his emotions and feelings.

Read the book first, but you must also watch 'After Thomas' which portrays this story beautifully

Excellent, highly recommended - a box of tissues needed!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest, blunt, rewarding 31 Oct 2008
a friend like henry,written by Nuala Gardner and published by Sourcebooks is a parents' book about autism...with all the fluffy bits removed. Honest, blunt, significant, rewarding. A well written, meaningful and very readable book.

a friend like henry is a book that tells the reader how frustrating, enlightening and magical living with autism can be, both for the person on the spectrum and those that live in the world parallel to ours.
I am happy to say that at no time in this book is it ever implied that Dale should be 'cured' of his autism, it is obvious throughout the book that the search is for coping mechanisms and behavioral modification.

One of the things I enjoyed most was that Nuala does not claim that pet therapy is the only solution to the above dilemma but she does openly and honestly share one way of using an autistic child's obsession to their family's best advantage.

One of the things I disliked the most about this book (besides the use of all lower case for the title and author name), was the way it rewired all my emotions and made me cry every few pages. I found that I had to pace myself through this book by reading it in between several others in order to give my emotions a break. I nearly couldn't continue on reading it at the end but I am not going to tell you why, as it will 'ruin' the ending for you. However, I am happy that I did carry on.

After reading this book I am still convinced that our N3S is still the child most likely to be savaged by a dog but I picked up a few tips encouraging on behavioral modification which we will apply through other mediums.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This book was recommended to me whilst I was on holiday
This book was recommended to me whilst I was on holiday. I couldn't wait to get home I started to read it straight away. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Sharon
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredible story about a fiercely determined mothers fight to ...
An incredible story about a fiercely determined mothers fight to to see her autistic son overcome his extremely difficult condition, sincere and heartwarming.
Published 8 days ago by Gordon Dawson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
What an amazing true story! The author's determination and courage are something to behold!
Published 21 days ago by Denise Young
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Excellent read gave me a insight into my Grandson's world
Published 26 days ago by mrs p smethurst
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great product, fast delivery and well packed. AAA+
Published 28 days ago by tez
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliant book
Published 1 month ago by KIRSTY roe
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
a very good read
Published 1 month ago by Sue Bristow
3.0 out of 5 stars inclusive mainstream education is every child's right
So glad the family got a dog. Would have liked more from the father's perspective and less about the mother's mental states.
Published 2 months ago by EML
4.0 out of 5 stars Touching story
Jamie and Nuala have their first child, Dale and straight off Nuala a trained midwife has a sense all is not well. Read more
Published 3 months ago by F Keegan
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, just finished it in tears with my dog cuddled up to me
Wonderful insight into what it is like to live with autism, and what amazing determined parents and an amazing dog can achieve.
Published 4 months ago by maggie mant
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