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Mixed Blessings Paperback – April, 1990


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Avon Books (Mm) (April 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380709996
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380709991
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,839,018 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Hope alternates with discouragement in this true story of the family of William Christopher ("Father Mulcahy" of M*A*S*H ) struggling to rear an autistic son. Young Ned's problems emerge in the narrative just as they did in real life--gradually, confusingly (why was he counting to 40 at age two but apparently oblivious when people spoke to him?). Shifting diagnoses and ongoing efforts to find the right school, the right medication, the right therapy never quite do the trick. Yet the narrative is touching, engrossing, informative--even ultimately upbeat, given the Christophers capacity to hang in there through it all. One of the better books of the genre.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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I remember reading this book when my daughter was little, it was loaned to me by one of her therapists.
Keri Kennedy
They each lend their voices to this work and the tone of compassion makes this one all the more poignant and worth reading.
BeatleBangs1964
Their love, patience and kindness is evident as you read this book about their years with such a special child.
Helga Van Holten

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By cnyadan on June 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I must admit that I got this book because I have fallen in love with the character of Father Mulcahy in the television show M*A*S*H. William Christopher plays the role with a lot of love, intelligence, innocence, and humour, which made the character so close to being real.
Because of this, I was interested in obtaining a bit of a picture into the life of the person behind the character, and therefore I got this book.
This book deals primarily with one of the Christophers' sons, Ned. From the very beginning, Ned was a puzzling child, behaving in somewhat atypical manners. However, at the beginning, much of this could be chalked up to children and their own unique behaviours. Then, as some of the problems became more pronounced, the struggle for a correct diagnosis and a successful treatment was on. Over the years, there are a number of joys and setbacks; times when it seems like Ned is making progress, and times when everything seems to be crashing down again.
The book is written in tandem by William and Barbara Christopher, with them writing alternating chapters, which is a technique that works well telling this story. From what they have written, it is obvious how much they loved this child, each other, and their entire family. And considering the number of autistic children there are, they are not the only parents who have struggled with this. (Though, between their intense dedication and secure financial situation, they were able to try some things that the 'average' person may not have been able to.)
All in all, this was a good read. M*A*S*H does get mentioned here and there, and a couple of Alan Alda quotes make their way in, but if one is looking to get more of a "backstage look" of the television series, this is not the book to do it with. However, if you is looking for a book having to do with a family doing what they can for a child with special needs, this book is up your alley.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By BeatleBangs1964 VINE VOICE on April 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
William Christopher of "M*A*S*H*" fame, the 1972-83 sitcom about the Korean war shows the same love and compassion as does his TV-alter ego, Fr. Mulcahy. It is easy to assume that Christopher's character is not too different from the real person.

The Christophers had a male beagle named Pepper, two children, John and an adopted son named Ned who was born in 1968. Ned showed autistic behavior from the beginning. By the time he was two, he could identify flags from all over the world as well as flowers, yet he was not able to converse in a meanginful way. Desperate, the Christophers enrolled Ned in the Fisher Clinic which was a therapeutic pre-school in 1973. Ned, then 5 was subjected to rigorous verbal demands that he respond. One gets antsy when reading about how the children had to endure "rug time." The children had to sit on a rug and read their names on a card and identify the color and shape that was pasted by their name before being allowed to play. It was impossible not to squirm with them when you read about how long and protracted an activity this was. Ned, although severely autistic was marginally verbal and he, like many on the spectrum was exact. When the desired response was "red circle," when asked to identify the shape by his name, Ned insisted on saying "it is pink." Christopher squirms inwardly while the children are subjected to this and agreeing with Ned that the circle is indeed pink. This is yet another example of how people with autism are forced to comply outwardly with the neurotypical population.

By the time Ned was 9, his behavior had gotten quite out of control. William and Barbara Christopher had him admitted to UCLA's Neuropsychiatric Unit. While there, the boy was given medications that had undesirable side effects.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Helga Van Holten on February 6, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I didn't know that the Christopher's had written a book about Ned until recently. I devoured this book in a matter of days.
I had the privilege of knowing Bill, Ned and Harry. We too stayed in Balboa and met them while Bill and Ned were playing in front of our house on the little beach. It was obvious what a devoted, gentle and loving father Bill truly was. Ned would want to play in the water and be thrown into it. Bill did this for hours. What stamina! He spoke to Ned softly and kindly at all times. They played so long sometime that they both had to put tee shirts on as they had acquired a bit of a sunburn. Bill and I sat on the seawall and talked as we watched Ned play with my daughter. They were about the same age. My daugher and I have often talked about Ned in the many years that have passed. Anyone who met Ned was deeply touched by this young man. There was a true innocence and sweetness about him. Ned could not have been adopted by anyone who would have done more for him than the Christophers. Their love, patience and kindness is evident as you read this book about their years with such a special child.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Keri Kennedy on March 31, 2009
Format: Paperback
I remember reading this book when my daughter was little, it was loaned to me by one of her therapists. Although my child is not autistic, this book helped me come to terms so much with being the parent of a special needs child. I saw so many of the raw feelings I was having, written out by the Christophers. I understood I was not alone, and I would one day come out of this, and that things would be okay. There will be ups, and downs, but it will be okay. The very personal way the book is written makes it feel so much more real. You always hear those sentiments expressed about the hard times and good times, but to read them the way William and Barbara wrote them really was a blessing for me.
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