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Cowboy & Wills

4.21  ·  Rating Details ·  566 Ratings  ·  121 Reviews
The day Monica learns that her loveable, brilliant three-year-old son, Wills, has Autism, she takes him to buy an aquarium. It's the first in a string of impulsive trips to the pet store to buy animals as a distraction from the uncontrollable, crushing reality of Wills's diagnosis. But while Wills diligently tends to the growing menagerie, what he really wants is a puppy. ...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published July 8th 2010 by Simon & Schuster UK (first published September 14th 2009)
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Carla Ford
Oct 23, 2009 Carla Ford rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The cover calls this a love story, and this book is two hundred and seventy six pages of the purest love imaginable. Monica Holloway must have a heart the size of Texas. I teared up reading the prologue, and knew then that this book was going to be a very emotional read. I started the book on Thursday, and read every spare minute I could find, finishing it on Friday. During that time I wept gently, laughed so hard I woke my husband up at night, and finally sobbed so hard I could hardly see the p ...more
Nancy Brady
Mar 18, 2016 Nancy Brady rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With compassion born of a mother's love for her son, this is a memoir of a remarkable little boy, Wills, and his puppy, Cowboy, who helped him through his struggles with his autism.

Upon Wills's diagnosis, Monica's home became a menagerie. Each pet helped, but it was when the family added Cowboy, a golden retriever puppy, to the family did Wills have some breakthroughs in his schooling. Because of this dog, Wills was able to overcome so much including developing friendships.

Zinta
Feb 27, 2010 Zinta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To set the parameters of my review: I know next to nothing about autism. My knowledge of this disorder is limited to the anecdotal, the various news items and studies that pass across our daily consciousness, this and that about autism being over diagnosed, that it may be caused by something in our food, or by various childhood vaccinations, and other such. I won’t claim to hold strong opinions on any of this, as it has not been an area of research or particular interest to me. I have a couple o ...more
Eileen Reeger
This was a book that I won't ever forget. I had a friend who always claimed her 3 yo son is autistic. We had a falling out and I don't know how to get ahold of her to apologize for doubting her, which is odd b/c I never told her that, so technically I suppose an apology is unnecessary (I bet she sensed it in spite of all my attempts to be available and sympathetic and "helpful"). She lied about so many things and stole from me and is a very troubled woman so I just assumed SHE was why he had pro ...more
Laine The Librarian
“Mr. and Mrs. Holloway, I have some news concerning about your son.” When a parent hears this from their doctor, they know right away something is wrong. At first you don’t want to hear it. You don’t want to accept that there could possibly be anything wrong with your child. Yes, he may show some signs of being too clingy, he’s terrified of strangers, won’t look you in the eye, and a simple bubble bath is an excruciating experience, but there can’t be anything seriously wrong with him, it’s just ...more
Arianna Connal
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Maddie
One of the best books ever. Throughout the book I was amazed at how much Wills was able to break out of his shell and embark on a journey with Cowboy. After reading the book, I immediatly went to play with my own golden retrievers, thankful for everlasting friends.
Jean Brown
Oct 17, 2009 Jean Brown rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful story..that I was afraid would break my heart but instead it left me feeling hopeful..glad I read it.
Allison
Oct 11, 2009 Allison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this account of a mom struggling to raise a high-functioning autistic kid -- great sense of humor and very real. just loved it!
Amy Meyer
Feb 03, 2010 Amy Meyer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everybody!
Cowboy & Wills
Author: Monica Holloway
Date Published: October 6, 2009
Publisher: Simon Spotlight Entertainment
Pages: 288 pages
ISBN: 978-1416595038
Genre: Non-fiction Memoir
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Summary: The day Monica Holloway learns that her lovable, brilliant three-year-old son has autism spectrum disorder, she takes him to buy an aquarium. But what Wills really wants is a puppy, and from the moment Cowboy Carol Lawrence, an overeager and affectionate golden retriever, joins the family, Monica
...more
ShelbyLibrary
May 13, 2014 ShelbyLibrary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kelsey-books
“Mr. and Mrs. Holloway, I have some news concerning about your son.” When a parent hears this from their doctor, they know right away something is wrong. At first you don’t want to hear it. You don’t want to accept that there could possibly be anything wrong with your child. Yes, he may show some signs of being too clingy, he’s terrified of strangers, won’t look you in the eye, and a simple bubble bath is an excruciating experience, but there can’t be anything seriously wrong with him, it’s just ...more
Jolene Dretzka
This was a fabulous true story about a mother with an autistic child & her unconditional love for him. It is also about the healing power of animals. Monica Holloway is a great writer whose writing style is smooth & easy to read, I didn't want to stop reading once I started. She tells her son's story with love & sincerity. I felt like I was there with her, feeling & experiencing the emotional rollercoaster that is her family's day-to-day life. This is a must read for anyone who h ...more
Mindy
Wills is a boy diagnosed with high functioning autism. His diagnosis came fairly early in life in regards to autism diagnosis. Wills mother, the author of the story, compensates for the autism by purchasing an animal each time she experiences something difficult. Although she begins with many small animals, she finally purchases a golden retriever puppy. The puppy allows Wills to make huge strides in terms of confidence, self-reliance, sociability, etc. As Cowboy (the puppy) grows, she begins to ...more
Katrina
Nov 04, 2009 Katrina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Being a person who works with children with learning and emotional problems, Wills reminded of a few students I have gotten close to in the past. His repetition of speech and sensitivity to touch and sound were very familiar. As I read this book, I could see Wills and his plight clearly. Monica did a fantastic job filling this book with emotion, as well. I cheered for Wills successes and cried the entire fourth part of the book. I love a book that can make me both laugh and cry and Cowboy and Wi ...more
Colleen
Apr 01, 2009 Colleen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Deepika Ramesh
May 28, 2013 Deepika Ramesh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'Cowboy & Wills' has now become one of my most favourite books. Perhaps, eight months ago, I wrote a 200-word piece on the impact that my pet dog, Calvin, has made in my life and little did I expect that I would receive these lovely books from Monica Holloway. Put the blame on my laziness and reluctance, that I picked up the book to read, after almost six months. Today, I'm struggling hard to swallow the lump in my throat that's formed after reading this very moving book. Thank you, Monica, ...more
Sandi
Sep 05, 2013 Sandi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in about 24 hours. Although it was 275 pages, it was a very fast 275 pages. I really enjoyed it, but not enough to recommend to other people. It hit home with me because Cowboy looks so much like Chipper and they both died at a young age (Cowboy didn't even make it to 3, so she was quite a bit younger than Chipper). Research shows how therapeutic pets can be, but this story put that on a personal level. Wills' autism improved dramatically knowing he had a buddy in Cowboy and tha ...more
Alia
Jan 01, 2010 Alia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Alia by: Brian
Maybe it's because I knew what to expect and what would happen going in to this book, but I didn't get as emotionally involved as I would have expected for a book about a golden retriever and a child with autism. It was a very touching story, and you could feel the mom's pride as her son accomplished new milestones, but somehow or other it didn't make me cry, which I had expected. It might have something to do with the way it's written - it almost read more like someone's blog or livejournal tha ...more
Fiona
Nov 17, 2011 Fiona rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


Where do I begin? What a gem of a book, Monica discovers her son Wills has been diagnosed with Autism and begins the journey of helping her son to achieve a sense of normality in his life. After each upset in their lives Monica adds an animal to their lives and soon their house is a menangerie of animals for Wills to look after. But most of all Wills wants a puppy and eventually Cowboy finds a home with them. This is the story of how Cowboy helps Wills to come to terms with the social aspects of
...more
Becky Moore
Great for dog lovers

I will state right off that after finishing this book, I had dreams of dogs for nights. I have a son with autism and usually steer clear of books about it. Way too many variables to be accurate for my situation maybe. But this book has been on my list for years. I didn't love Driving With Dead People but thought I would try this one. It was heart warming. Her son really bonded with that dog and made great progress. It also showed a pretty real picture of living with a child o
...more
Andrea
Jul 21, 2011 Andrea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So, I was really excited to start this book since I love dogs so much, and I borrowed this book from my neighbor. She didn't tell me the dog was going to die at 2 years old but I survived, kind of. I cried all night.
Cowboy and Wills is about a boy with autism and he gets a yellow lab named Cowboy, and she changed her sons life and he is able to do things he never could before. So, of course that made me cry more and more. And of course the book had pictures. Made me cry more. I needed a whole f
...more
Janet Leszl
Jul 23, 2010 Janet Leszl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a touching memoir of how a golden retriever pup helps a boy with very high functioning autism become more social and dare to attempt situations he’s frightened of. The excellent story traces the boy’s progress from age 3 to third grade.

My only problem with books like these is people unfamiliar with autism may get the mistaken impression all individuals with autism are this high functioning. This is not the case; there is a very wide range. Also, stories that stop when the child is under t
...more
Ronda
Aug 23, 2011 Ronda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was such a sweet book. It honestly touched my heart. Wills and Cowboy Carol Lawrence (and Mom too), will enter your heart. Wills is a adorable little boy who has been diagnosed with Autism, Mom feels guilty and buys an aquarium. Wills wants a puppy, he even picked out a name for his puppy LONG before he got one. When Wills gets his puppy this dog brings out amazing changes in Wills (and the entire family). I won't go into it more than that because I don't want to spoil it for anyone but I D ...more
Maureen Devine
Mar 22, 2010 Maureen Devine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in 3 days, and it was hands down the best book I've read in awhile. The author does a wonderful job of describing the true story of her son Wills and his battle with autism. If you are an animal love you'll find humor in the pet stories and how they relate to their struggles. This book might not have been such a page turner were it not so well written. When I put it down I found myself thinking about the Holloway family, where they were, and how they were doing like I knew them ...more
Nari (The Novel World)
Nov 04, 2009 Nari (The Novel World) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs, 2009
Wills Holloway was only three years old when he was first diagnosed with Severe High Autism. Mother Monica, did her best to help her son navigate his way through the intricacies of autism and the real world. Before turning to doctors, psychologists and other specialists to help Wills transition, Monica would stop by a local pet store to purchase small pets, (hamsters, turtles, hermit crabs). Each animal, in its own small way, helped draw Wills out of his shell and overcome very small battles in ...more
Joseph
Aug 24, 2013 Joseph rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autism, owned
I cannot remember the last time I was so moved by a book. Perhaps it's because I am a dog owner... But I would highly recommend reading this book.
I also found the book very informative. I work with children aged 7-11 and it's very interesting to see the progress from a toddler with an autism diagnosis to an independent child with a diagnosis for autism. I feel like it has really helped me understand what a child and their family may go through before they reach an age where they are more self s
...more
Ann York
Jun 16, 2011 Ann York rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book it was a eye opener with what people go through with children with autism this story is about a boy named wills and he gets a dog and names her Cowboy and she really helps with his autism because he never spoke to no-one until he got this puppy who brought him out in self and he learnt to swim and talk to his class mates and his teachers and this book is about losing love and finding love this book was very good and very sad at the same time it is a must read if you li ...more
Fiona
Oct 07, 2013 Fiona rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brenda
Nov 12, 2010 Brenda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely loved it! Wills was diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder at age 3, and Mum Monica tells the story of how they coped, what happened on the journey, and how much Cowboy, the most adorable brown-eyed golden retriever, changed Wills' life. Slowly, with Cowboy at his side, Wills stepped a little further into the world.
It is a love story, between a boy and his dog, and it will make you laugh, and cry, along the way.
Definitely well worth the read!
Megan
Aug 29, 2013 Megan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having 2 Autistic brothers, One with High-Functioning Autism and one with asperger's syndrome I definitely saw them in Wills while reading this.

It's a lovely story of a boy Wills from the age of 3 to 3rd grade. With the help of various pets, Including his golden retriever cowboy navigate life and help him overcome his obstacles

Be warned though. it will make you laugh, cry and everything in between
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All About Animals: Cowboy & Wills: A Love Story by Monica Holloway 4 9 Nov 02, 2014 07:55AM  
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Monica Holloway is the critically acclaimed author of the memoirs "Cowboy & Wills" and "Driving With Dead People." She contributed to the anthology Mommy Wars, from which her essay Red Boots and Cole Haans was described by Newsday as brilliant, grimly hilarious. Holloway lives with her family in Los Angeles."
More about Monica Holloway...

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“Would I ever have the courage to tell Wills the truth? That he wasn't just imagining the world was a more difficult place for him to understand than for some of his buddies - that it was, in fact, more difficult for him. That he'd been dealt a rotten hand in that regard, but only in that one regard. Because I wouldn't change one freckle, one misunderstood moment, one tiny piece of him for anything in the world. I would change myself. I would change the things other people said or thought out of ignorance or fear. I would change so many things, but I would absolutely never, in a million years, change him.” 11 likes
“That night, my heart softened around Wills's autism. Clearly, Katherine had been right. I couldn't isolate him. As painful as it was to watch him paralyzed with fright, I knew that he was happier when he tried. Not showing up was admitting defeat. Admitting that he couldn't do it. Admitting that the autism was bigger than him.” 4 likes
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