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A Real Boy: How Autism Shattered Our Lives - and Made a Family from the Pieces Paperback – 28 Feb 2008

4.9 out of 5 stars 180 customer reviews

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  • A Real Boy: How Autism Shattered Our Lives - and Made a Family from the Pieces
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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Michael O'Mara Books; 1st Edition edition (28 Feb. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843172666
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843172666
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (180 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 21,700 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Christopher Stevens writes poignantly about life with his autistic son. It's a moving account of the boy's struggle to cope with a world that confuses him - and the extraordinary leap forward that gave them all hope. -- Daily Mail, February 26, 2008

"This wonderfully honest book tells us a great deal, not only about autism, but also about the extraordinary tolerance and unselfishness that is borne out of unequivocal love. At the same time, it reveals some uncomfortable truths about the struggle it takes to access the rights of those with disabilities in our so-called civilized society." -- Jane Asher, President of the National Autistic Society

"incredibly moving" -- The Sun, 15 Feb 08

By turns harrowing, humorous and inspirational.
-- Bournemouth Daily Echo, 27th June 08

About the Author

Christopher Stevens is a television critic, author and journalist. He began working as a journalist in 1983 and currently holds the position of Daily Mail TV critic, writing daily reviews of the previous night's viewing from Monday to Friday.

He has written 6 books and is the father of two teenage boys.


Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A very moving and interesting account of living with autism. I liked the way the vulnerability and the fragility of David's life was shown with such love and poignancy. Often (unintentionally) autistic children are protrayed as frightening destructive creatures because they don't understand the rules of life. This book showed us, as far as is possible, how the world looks from the point of view of the child.
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I don't often take the time to write reviews but really wanted to write this as a thank you to the authors, David's parents. I work with families affected by autism and as such have read plenty of 'textbook' accounts. However, these don't capture the harsh realities that face many families. David's parents have taken the time to write about the difficulties they have faced but also about the joy and love they have for their child. This isn't a book with a cure or a happy ending but it still managed to make me smile as well as feel the despair of the David's parents when continuously faced with challenges and barriers. It is an account that will stay with me and I hope help me to work with a greater understanding. Thanks to Christopher and Nicky for sharing your story.
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Format: Paperback
The extended title of this book suggests a depressing tale - not so! Certainly the reality of living with an autist is described but in the most upbeat way.

I absolutely loved this account. Since the diagnosis of our son in September, I have kept notes of his progress and it was absolutely fascinating to see how much of our experience mirrors this Chris and Nicky's.

My catch phrase is that autism is not an intuitive condition, so to read such vivid accounts of off the wall situations which we have lived through too was really uplifting.

I loved the style of this writing; I laughed out loud at the experience with the woman's skirt and slapping the bald man's head; incredibly we've experienced very similar. As parents of autists, we need to be able to laugh and get back into the (figurative) driving seat; this book helped me gain some perspective and put me back in control ... who wants to feel a victim?

I loved how A Real Boy brought to the fore thoughts I hadn't even realised; how I miss not hearing anything about school, how I too, hold my son by the wrist, how very powerful the words from the sibling about the condition are and the importance of participation in the school nativity, to list just a few.

One big difference between our experience with our son and the Steven's experience with David is that of DVDs. To use the Steven's metaphor; DVDs to our son are as heroin to an addict such is his obsession. So, whilst the introduction of DVDs worked well for the Nichols, in our case, I'm sure they have shaved years off my life! I can cope with hours, days ..weeks even ... of fast forwarding and rewinding Rosie and Jim and other favourites on video... but watching £14.
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Format: Paperback
This is the most true to life, well written book form a parents perspective that I have read. I am a mother of 2 autistic children and i can relate so well. This book has helped me & I have recommended it to countless others. If you have a child or are a carer a relative or even someone with just an interest, this is the book you should be reading.
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I never, as a rule stray from fiction, I am a fiction reader through and through and fictional stories are my escapism. We are experiencing a situation as a family that is hard to bear, I feel the need to escape more than ever but yet I knew, after reading the synopsis of how 'the curse turned the adults to stone' the emotion that short paragraph evoked was to strong to be ignored and I needed to read the story of David Stevens immediately.

My child is 11 years old, we are facing difficulties currently with his mental state and our journey is a hard one. Reading the account of David written from Christopher Steven's point of view gave me an honest insight into their family unit expressing the dramatic difference of both children and the constant commitment to their youngest David. All of the aspects Stevens touched on were factual and happened, I could relate to a small handful which offered the reassurance that we are not imagining our hardship, something isn't quite right and most importantly we need to continue to push for a diagnosis.

David is a beautiful boy, and has come a long way on a very difficult journey, throughout his tale we hear some uncomfortable truths, read of heartbreaking situations and cry tears of sadness and joy. The strength of his parents and acceptance of his older brother is remarkable. People will ask 'How do you do it? how do you cope?' which is silly in itself, as a parent you are bound by unconditional love and would do whatever it took to 'cope' you live it daily continuing to focus on the positives, making the tasks manageable, simplifying as much as you can and progress forward, for me it is only natural to power on (even when I want to give up).
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