A Friend Like Ben Paperback – 26 May 2011
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‘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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
When you think of animals helping humans, you would normally think of a dog (Guide Dogs, Hearing Dogs, Assistance Dogs, Hounds for Heroes, Detection Dogs of various kinds etc) but, unusually the helper in this instance is a little stray cat!
The Prologue tells of cat Ben, some background and how he came into te lives of George & his Mum.
Part 1 tells of life before Ben - Julia's background, becoming a single mother and of George her son. Julia battles to find out what is wrong with George, she knows that something is amiss, despite being told by various doctors that he is ok. However George is not ok, he is Autistic. This was not picked up until finally a teacher agreed with Julia, that all was not well with George. Through this teacher, Miss Procter, George was referred to an Educational Psychologist who painstakingly assesses George and his complexities and then to goes on to identify the problems and then to tackle them one by one.
Part 2 is all about coping with George, finding Ben and how this little cat got though to George where others failed. Steps forward were made and things did get better than they ever had been.
Part 3 tells of losing Ben, George's reactions to the loss of his cat and of how hard Julia worked to try and find Ben.
This is an extremely good book and a real eye opener to the problems parents have when their child is autistic. It is a story of courage, of love, of perseverence & hard work, of never giving up and of the power of an animal. Just brilliant!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you like cat.stories then this is for you.the lovely written story of a boy with autism and how although he finds it hard to be around people ,with ben he really comes out of... Read morePublished 1 month ago by General
I thought this was a very moveing story of the way a cat changed the life of a young boy and what a special loveing bond they had together and shows anyone in the world how... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Such a beautifully written story, really enjoyed it, definitely recommend and at 99p, a bargain!! Well done Julie Romo on a fab book.Published 8 months ago by Shirley