Cowboy & Wills

by adustyframe ~ December 20th, 2009


I don’t know if you noticed the ad on my sidebar last week. It was for a book called Cowboy & Wills. Shortly after they submitted the ad, I was contacted and asked if I’d like to review the book.
The ad had already touched my heart so I said, “YES!”

I received a copy to review from the media company and immediately dove in.
It was “love at first chapter”.

Watch this short clip and you’ll see why. YouTube Preview Image

About the book:

The day after Monica Holloway’s adorable three year-old son Wills is diagnosed with Austism Spectrum Disorder, she takes him to a pet store. From her first impulse purchase of a full aquarium, Holloway quickly graduates to hermit crabs, hamsters, African dwarf frogs, and a rabbit. But like all children, what Wills wants most was a puppy. That Christmas, eight-week old Cowboy arrives and forever changes their lives.

A blond, brown-eyed golden retriever, Cowboy is more than a house pet; she is the bridge between Wills and the rest of the world. Cowboy’s very presence in his life empowered Wills to take risks, to engage and socialize, to establish meaningful and intimate connections with the world around him. Detailing their devotion to each other, Cowboy & Wills (Simon Spotlight Entertainment, October 2009, $24) is a love story like no other.

Like peanut butter and jelly, Cowboy and Wills are the perfect pair. Where Wills is cautious, fastidious, and tender hearted, Cowboy is rambunctious, affectionate, and impulsive. Soon, the boy who could barely say hello to his kindergarten classmates is going on playdates, learning to swim, and sleeping in his own bed. Through it all, Cowboy is there, dragging him toward other children and giving him the confidence to face his fears—with her by his side.

But love is not enough to save the beautiful Cowboy from her fate, and the cruel world of puppy mills quickly catches up to them. When Cowboy is diagnosed with lupus, Wills and his family realize that they must be there for her, just as she was there for them.

Cowboy & Wills reveals the mysterious manifestation and inexplicable power of love, loss, and salvation.  Weaving a mesmerizing tale of hope and despair, anxiety and assurance, trust and doubt, Holloway’s matchless talent for crafting stories infinite joy and pain makes her one of the foremost memoirists of our age.

My review:

This book shares the story of Wills–I love that name by the way. Wills’ parents receive the diagnosis of autism for their son and the book shares the struggles and joys of parenting Wills.

I found myself cheering for Wills every time he made progress. I thought of friends I know who parent autistic children and I prayed for them as I read.

Monica shares Wills’ story in a beautiful touching way.

One thing she did to cope was  buy pets for Wills. They accumulated quite a menagerie as Will grew.

Then Wills asked for a puppy for Christmas and  got a golden retriever he named Cowboy.

Cowboy gave Wills courage to face the things that frightened or overwhelmed him. He made friends and became brave enough to tackle things that he had refused to do before.

My cheering increased as Wills made much progress with Cowboy by his side.

I won’t give away the story, but I sobbed through the last two chapters. Then I was ready to curl up on the couch and have a good bawl.

This book is truly a keeper! I’m so glad I was able to read it and share a little with you. You will definitely want to read it.

The good news is that they are giving one of my readers a copy of Cowboy and Wills. Since Wills got Cowboy for Christmas, I’m going to draw on Wednesday and the winner will get one copy of the book. Probably not quite in time for  Christmas, but you’ll love it when you get it.

To enter:

1. Leave a comment on this post telling me what interests you about this story.

For additional entries:

1. Tweet about the giveaway

2. Blog about the giveaway

3. Go to the author’s website then come back and share something you learned about her or Wills in her interview.

Giveaway ends Wednesday 12/23 10:00 a.m. Pacific time


24 Thoughts Shared to Cowboy & Wills

  1. Melissa

    Wow! Sounds like a great book! I would love to read it!

  2. ashley@twentysixcats

    I’m intrigued! I’d love to get a copy of the book!

  3. Susanna

    Not sure if I count due to postage but will comment anyway! I have heard of this book before. My nephew is autistic and although undiagnosed my own son displays some autistic type characteristics- so i would find this a very intereseting read….although given my highly hormonal state I may cry for a week rather than an hour 🙂

  4. Jenny

    Wow, this book sounds great! I’m always intrigued to learn more about ASD. It’s been way too long since I read a book that wasn’t a “how to” or a cookbook! I’d love to win this!

  5. Joy

    I was crying just watching the youtube clip. Sounds like a great book.

  6. Jane In The Jungle

    We have 4 kids and they have a total of 9 dogs and cats….we understand the pet relationship…and I would love to read this…even if I do sob!!

  7. adustyframe

    Jane of the Jungle’s comment
    I have heard of “Driving With Dead People” and did not realize this was the same author!

    (sorry the comment got deleted so I’m putting it back in for your entry;0!)

  8. Melanie

    I’m interested in this book because I have worked with some autistic children and will be working with more autistic children as I begin a career as a speech therapist. The autistic realm just fascinates me.

  9. inbal Weisman

    I am a home schooling mother and I love the connection between kids to their pets. This book sounds like a educational experience. I believe I can learn many things from reading it. Also one of my friends is a autistic child parent, and reading it can help her too.

    Happy holiday!

  10. Susan

    We foster puppies and dogs for our local Humane Society and even in the short time they are with us you realize that they have their own personality. Some are shy, some are bold, some are pranksters and some are old souls. The relationship between humans and dogs is a remarkable tale and I have read several authors books about this subject. I would love to add this one to my list.

  11. Cheri

    We’re deep in the middle of testing and the diagnosis process with our newly adopted daughter from China. The tentative diagnosis is autism secondary to orphanage neglect. I would love to have this book to read!


    I’ve long searched for books about kids with special needs.
    I’ll have to look for this one.

  13. Carol

    This sounds like a book that I would really enjoy(even though I know I will boo-hoo!). I have a little boy in my SS class that has something similar to autism. He is fascinating to watch and listen to. I am curious to read of this family’s experience, esp. how Cowboy helped Wills to progress.

  14. Amy

    This sounds like a great book! I LOVE children/animal stories (Where the Red Fern Grows and The Black Stallion are a couple of favorites) and this sounds like it’s right up my alley!

  15. Beth

    Oh I am a Spec Ed teacher and work with some with Autism.. I would love to read this book!

  16. Kristi from NC

    Since we have a son with special needs (Down syndrome) as well, along with a golden retriever :), this book definitely intrigues me! Thanks for hosting this giveaway!

  17. Janean

    Entry number one! Gonna do all I can to enter this drawing! This book looks great…I have two nephews and several friends with Aspergers and Autism.

  18. Janean

    Entry number two…I blogged about it!!

  19. Janean

    Hey, Lizzie;
    Thanks for directing me to the author’s page! I really enjoyed reading about her. I linked to it on the blog I did, as well as to your post. My fav part of the interview was this quote she used…”If you’ve met one autistic person, you’ve met one autistic person.” She’s right…if one thinks they can learn about ALL autistic kids by studying one, One will be grossly misinformed. They are as different as colors of the rainbow and as individual as you and I.

  20. Angela P

    I find it so wonderful to hear about what animals can do for people or kids. I hope to get my son a golden someday.

  21. Tara L

    Sorry I missed the giveaway! Sounds like an inspiring book.

    P.S. Merry Christmas!

  22. inbal Weisman

    Hi! I published this post at a book reading community in Israel, Hebrew. here is the link to my publication-

  23. cathy castro

    Anything to do with pets is favorite of mine. I love animals and love reading about them and watching them play and petting them. Thank you

  24. Babies & Cowboy and Wills | A Dusty Frame

    […] Do you remember my review of Cowboy & Wills? […]

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