Review: Echo Miller’s The Insider’s Club– The Book You Need To Get For Everyone On Your List This Holiday Season…2 min read

Editor’s note: Dudesmama is a non-autistic ally who does a lot of vol­un­teering with The Aspergian behind the scenes.

A review of Echo Miller’s The Insiders Club (Life on the Innside, Book 1

As an avid reader, I’m always excited to get my hands on any books which show­case autistic char­ac­ters. However, trep­i­da­tion always lurks under that excite­ment, because autism in fic­tion is a mine­field: inac­cu­rate stereo­types, pro­lific ableism, and ideas which con­flict with the neu­ro­di­ver­sity move­ment all con­spire to leave me indig­nant, angry, and dis­sat­is­fied by the time I turn the last page.

Thus, when I down­loaded The Insiders Club (free with Kindle Unlimited? Yes, please!), there was some cau­tious skep­ti­cism casting a shadow on my generally-unshakable opti­mism. From the very first chapter, though, I could see that this book was very dif­ferent from any other “autism” fic­tion that I have read:

This book restored my faith in humanity.

The use of mul­tiple autistic char­ac­ters allows for a wider view of the spec­trum. While the novel main­tains a pos­i­tive and upbeat tone, it also does not avoid or under­mine the reality of the con­flicts and emo­tions that arise from living in a world that was not designed for one’s brain.

I couldn’t put it down.

From the very first words, this book gave me feelings…so many feel­ings. The reader is intro­duced to Keegan Harris, an inno­cent, upbeat, and ener­getic young autistic man who sets out to “change the world” after the tragic death of his child­hood friend.

With the sup­port of his obvi­ously very loving and perfectly-imperfect family, and drawing inspi­ra­tion from the 1980s classic film, The Breakfast Club, Keegan sets out on a carefully-crafted plan to recruit new best friends to live with him at his fam­i­ly’s freshly-built, progressively- reimag­ined assisted-living facility for people with dis­abil­i­ties.

His poten­tial new best friends are Copper, a jaded, grief- and guilt-stricken young man who is trying to find his place in the world after the untimely death of his big brother; Jay, an intensely rigid indi­vidual with a pro­fes­so­rial vocab­u­lary; and Tyler, who is semi-verbal and uses movie scripts to com­mu­ni­cate. With such quirky per­son­al­i­ties and emo­tional bag­gage, chaos reigns and undoubt­edly ensures a dis­rup­tion of Keegan’s itin­erary for a pathway to friend­ship.

I don’t want to give away too much more, because you just need to read this novel.

Everyone needs to read this novel.

I read it in one sit­ting on a Sunday after­noon, and never before have 268 pages made me feel such a range of emo­tions. You will laugh. You will feel deep sorrow. You will empathize and sym­pa­thize.

Most impor­tantly, you will have hope for a better future.

Buy The Insider’s Club in hard­back here

Buy it in paper­back here

Buy it from the Kindle Store here

 

1 Comment

  1. Just requested from my library, thanks

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