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A Girl Called Barney: Loving an autistic child is so easy... and so hard [Kindle Edition]

Christopher Stevens
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Book Description

It's tough to be a single dad. But when Richard Colman adopts his dead sister's daughter, he has no idea how tough life can be.

Richard's girlfriend walks out. His business starts losing clients. And there's something terribly wrong with the little girl.

Her name is Bernadette, but Richard calls her "Barney". It's a word his own father used to use... a barney, a row, a terrible racket. And Barney is well-named – she never stops screaming. She hammers her head on the floor and the walls. She's adorable, but she doesn't sleep. She cannot talk. She won't even respond to her name.

Richard slowly faces the unbearable truth that his little girl is profoundly autistic. And as he prepares for a battle simply to be allowed to keep his child, he's only beginning to find out how tough life can be.

Christopher Stevens, the bestselling author of A REAL BOY, draws on painful and intensely personal experiences of raising his own autistic child, to create this compelling story of a single parent who must come to terms with his beloved little girl's autism.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is a novel. The characters are fictional, though they are very real to me. Many of the events in the story did really happen to my family, following the diagnosis of my younger son with autism. I later wrote a memoir about this intensely emotional and exhausting experience: it was published as A REAL BOY. If you have read this memoir, you might recognise some of the scenes and situations in A GIRL CALLED BARNEY – and if you want to read a strictly factual account, the memoir will better suit your needs.

A GIRL CALLED BARNEY is more dramatic, more tragic and less humorous than the later, non-fiction book. I used the novel to express the darker, more frightening emotions that, in real life, we hardly dare admit that we feel.

Praise for A REAL BOY, Christopher Stevens's factual account of raising his autistic son:
Jane Asher, President of the National Autistic Society
"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."

The Sun, 15 Feb 08
"incredibly moving"

Daily Mail, February 26, 2008
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.

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

About the Author
Christopher Stevens has been a senior sub-editor at the Observer for fourteen years and is also the author of Born Brilliant, the acclaimed biography of Kenneth Williams; Masters of Sitcom, a celebration of Galton and Simpson; and Thirty Days Has September, the bestselling reference book on Kindle.

Born Brilliant was shortlisted for a "Sherry", the Sheridan Morley Theatre Biography Prize. It was adapted and broadcast as a Radio Four Book of the Week.

Product Details

  • File Size: 510 KB
  • Print Length: 388 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #190,397 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a girl named barney October 31, 2012
By A. mom
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This wonderfully written book will stay with me for a very long time. One of the most real, heart wrenching stories about the sweetest love for a child who needed this love so much that I have ever read. Her daddy (uncle) was relentless in making sure his girl was happy and as content as possible and they learned so much from each other. The author was masterful in putting humor into the situation when there was sometimes so much pain. My heart ached at times for Richard and for Barney and was so glad they had each other. If Barney could speak to tell her daddy how much she loved him, she would shout it to the world. This is a must read for all who care about a child, and or autism. I have a son who has down syndrome and autism and this book has been such an inspiration for me. I look forward to reading the authors next book about his son David.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By bernzie
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Loved this book - about what it really means to be a dad and that being their for the conception doesn't make you a dad. Its about an uncle who takes on raising his sisters child and the process of doing that and finding out she is autistic. It is a love story as well on how much one can love a child as his own and actually falling in love with a woman on the way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Said September 15, 2012
By Kali
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As the parent of a little girl with Autism, I can say that this story is pretty much an accurate representation of daily life. What a brave and loyal man Richard Coleman is, at times I could very much share his heartbreak and frustration. His ability to remain patient during his trails and tribulations is admirable. It really is the same as very other situation in life, you have to take the good with the bad and hang onto those moments of pure joy. What a special gift our beautiful babies are!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Girl Called Barney August 5, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A Girl Called Barney was enlightening. It helps the reader to understand how an autistic child thinks and behaves. It also shows what a parent goes through every day and what hard work it is to take care of a child with special needs. I work as a teacher assistant with autistic children. I love each and every one of them. May God bless them all and my hat goes off to all the parents and caregivers who take care of such children. You are all truly blessed with patience and unconditionally as I am. Thanks Christopher for book. Next I will read your other book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars understanding the special needs child April 13, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Lovely story.Author portrays a realistic overview of a special needs child with challenges and accomplishments.You want to read more.Well written.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Quick read, amazing story! April 2, 2014
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Easy read. Amazing look into how this family worked through all the obstacles they experienced. You see how love conquers all
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3.0 out of 5 stars A girl called Barney January 20, 2014
By crazy
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It was ok. I thought it was all about the little girl. It was not as I expected it to be on autism.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not to bad October 14, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I started reading this book and was at times upset. I thought that the author wrote more about him than the struggles with Charlie.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
At 29% never heard about a Barney only Bernadette.
Published 11 days ago by Naomi M. Michaelson
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting
This was an interesting story. It certainly gave a good insight into living with a child with Autism, but a slightly unbelievable plot.
Published 13 months ago by alison
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful heartwarming story! A definate 5 star!
This book is an amazing story of what love and understanding for an autistic child is all about. Every parent should read this book to be able to teach their children how to... Read more
Published 14 months ago by gator
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly a fantastic novel
Loved it! I wish there was more to read about the rest of little Barney's life ...what a wonderful telling of the true heartaches of autism.
Published 18 months ago by Brian K. Hurst
5.0 out of 5 stars VERY INSPIRING, VERY REAL
This book portrays truly the experiences one goes through when having a loved one with autism. So many twists and turns that make the story great! A MUST read for everyone!
Published 18 months ago by Susy
5.0 out of 5 stars Touching
Throughout life you will come across someone with autism, this book is very insightful. It is a reminder that we should not judge others, as we do not know what they may be going... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Lindsay
4.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreaking and Enlightening
This helped me understand the trials my granddaughter is going through with her daughter who has just been diagnosed with autism. Read more
Published 20 months ago by rubyd
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!
I loved the way this story made you see life through Richard's and Barney 's eyes. Very moving and emotional. I would love to see a sequel.
Published 20 months ago by Denise Nelson
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More About the Author

Journalist and author - I am the TV critic of the Daily Mail, with a column five days a week to review the previous night's television. I write regularly for the main features pages of the paper, as well as for the Mail's Weekend magazine.

I am also a passionate fan of classic British comedy, and an autism activist. I am the official biographer of Carry On star Kenneth Williams, and of comedy geniuses Ray Galton & Alan Simpson. My proudest moments include interviewing Ray and Alan on stage at the National Theatre on London's South Bank, and compering I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue at the Old Vic theatre in Bristol, with Barry Cryer, Graeme Garden, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Colin Sell.

My biography of the Carry On star Kenneth Williams, BORN BRILLIANT, was authorised by his estate, and I was lucky enough to be entrusted with all his diaries and his archive of letters, more than five million words of comedy history.

BORN BRILLIANT was serialised as a Radio 4 Book of the Week, and shortlisted for a Sherry, the Sheridan Morley Theatre Biography Prize.

Ray Galton and Alan Simpson helped to invent situation comedy - MASTERS OF SITCOM is a celebration of their careers, and includes many extracts from their lost shows. Perhaps the most exciting discovery was the script for the feature film that they wrote for Tony Hancock but which was never made, THE DAY OFF.

A REAL BOY is the story of how my family coped with bringing up our younger son, who is profoundly autistic. It was endorsed by the National Autistic Society, whose president, Jane Asher, called it "wonderfully honest". A GIRL CALLED BARNEY is a novel about a single dad who must come to terms with his little girl's autism.

My guide to mnemonics and traditional memory aids, THIRTY DAYS HAS SEPTEMBER, was the best-selling reference book on Kindle for many weeks.


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