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Ollie: The True Story of a Brief and Courageous Life Paperback – 4 Jan 2007


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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow; New Ed edition (4 Jan. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 009947879X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099478799
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 557,673 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"A gripping, humbling account... This is a story of great courage, love, and extraordinary selflessness but most of all it is a celebration of the existence of a bright, lively, brave little boy" (Daily Mail)

"An uplifting tribute to a remarkable child" (Daily Express)

"Ollie is not a bleak book. There are episodes of exuberant joy... More compelling than a climbing narrative" (Independent)

Book Description

The exceptionally moving, brilliantly written story of the brief, courageous life of Ollie, the autistic son of one of Britain's most successful mountaineers, and of his effect on all who knew him.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Frustrated on 2 Feb. 2007
Format: Paperback
I ordered 'Ollie' through the local bookstore and finally had it delivered to me last week. Picked it up and devoured it until late last night, 2 am when I finished the epic tale. I was lying on the sofa in the living room (good thing, so my wife couldn't hear me crying). Veneables writes beautifully and Ollie's story is poignantly told without at all being sentimental or cloying. It is humbling to know what Stephen Venables and his family have all been through, a twelve-year family expedition that completely overshadows any mountain climb. He deserves all the accolades for this wonderful work of literature written from the heart. Well done!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Kisseih on 24 Mar. 2007
Format: Paperback
Stephen Venables has given us an incredible insight into life with an autistic child - you just cannot imagine how autism would take over and dominate your whole life unless you read an account like this. It is an emotionally charged book and my heart goes out to Mr & Mrs Venables - many other marriages would have collapsed under the sort of strain they went through. My thoughts now are that, now Ollie has passed away, they can dedicate their time to Ollie's brother, Edmond, who most definitely had to take a back seat due to Ollie completely dominating the whole household's attention.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jim Wickwire on 16 Jan. 2007
Format: Paperback
Stephen Venables, one of the world's most respected mountaineers and a prize-winning author, has written his most compelling book. It is the extraordinary account of his young son Ollie's ten year long struggle to overcome severe autism, leukemia and the brain tumor that eventually took his life at age 12. Autism-now referred to in the medical literature as Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) because of the wide range in severity of symptoms and distinct subtypes-can strike any family. Ollie's case proved to be exceptionally difficult because of the two forms of cancer that he also battled, always with great courage and almost completely devoid of complaint.

Beyond the great value of adding to our knowledge about one family's encounter with this perplexing disease, anyone who has lost a child or a grandchild-as my wife and I have-can take solace from the story of this remarkable, courageous, lovely boy. Though I previously knew about the unbearably sad outcome, I was not prepared for the tears that streamed down my cheeks when I read the penultimate chapter. In the end, Stephen Venables has graced all of us with this wonderful tribute, not only to Ollie's life and memory, but also to his magnificent wife Rosie who was unrelenting in her 24/7 campaign to make a better life for her son.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L. J. Todd on 2 Aug. 2008
Format: Paperback
What a frank and honest account of this families experiences. As a carer of two disabled sons, who have endured endless hospital appointments and battles to secure appropriate education I found myself drawing countless parallels with the Venables' experiences. I consider my husband and myself as incredibly lucky to still have both boys, despite frequent crisis'. Although the battles continue, we also experience the joys, that the author eloquently describes. The book is a testimony to one families strength, but will I'm sure support other families in a range of circumstances to find the strength to keep going. God bless you Ollie
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Format: Paperback
As previous reviewers have mentioned, much of this book's prose is lovely, with vivid imagery and beautiful word choices. If I had wanted to read a book about how amazing the parents of autistic children are, with excellent descriptions of mountain-climbing thrown in for giggles, this would have been the perfect choice. However, as the mother of not one, but two autistic children, I struggled to find any real empathy between the narrator and the son he rather vaguely describes; and for me, the apparent lack of any meaningful connection between Ollie and his dad ruined the overall story. To me, this was overwhelmingly a story of two middle-class individuals trying to fix their broken son--and milking the local authority with far greater audacity than any working-class couple would have dared employ--and gave no real insight into the person Ollie actually was. It is entirely possible that I am overly sensitive to certain approaches in dealing with autistic children, and I freely admit that I don't have all the answers; but I would be willing to bet that I could do a better character sketch of my (severely) autistic daughter, or my (less severely) autistic son, in a book half that size... without having to list all my other accomplishments just to add to the word count. This book gets 2 stars from me, and that's it: one for the attractive use of language, and the other for the handful of heartrending chapters that truly did focus on Ollie.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By N. Haynes on 21 Jan. 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is just utterly heartbreaking. It is for sure to make you cry several times - for the last several chapters of the book I just sat crying hysterically as I became so emotionally attached to the family and their son.

It gives a real insight into life with autism on a day to day basis, and you cant help but become enchanted as you fall in love with little Ollie yourself.

An amazing book, a must read for all.
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