Title: M is for Autism
Author: The Students of Limpsfield Grange School, Vicky Martin and Robert Pritchett
Social Media: Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter
Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Format and Price: E-Book at $15.39
Rating: 3 out of 5
About The Book:
M. That’s what I’d like you to call me please. I’ll tell you why later.
Welcome to M’s world. It’s tipsy-turvy, sweet and sour, and the beast of anxiety lurks outside classrooms ready to pounce. M just wants to be like other teenagers her age who always know what to say and what to do. So why does it feel like she lives on a different plane of existence to everyone else?
Written by the students of Limpsfield Grange, a school for girls with Autism Spectrum Disorder with communication and interaction difficulties, M is for Autism draws on real life experiences to create a heartfelt and humorous novel that captures the highs and lows of being different in a world of normal.
~Size Does Matter: The book is really short, too short, and it only covers one type of narrative. Even though I know that multiple girls collaborated on this book with writing and drawings, it only felt like one girl’s experience. Especially since the Limpsfield Grange School teaches girls within the 11-16 age bracket. That is not to say the book isn’t enjoyable to read, I did enjoy reading this and I feel it addresses a very important topic, however it felt like more of an introduction or a short essay than a novel. However, I would also like to point out that Limpsfield Grange School has also organised to continue publishing more books written by the students.
~Representation Matters: The Limpsfield Grange School is a special needs school that primarily focuses on girls with Autism, it’s the only school like this in the UK (there are no specialized schools like this for girls in Australia). A big problem within the Medical community is the dismissal and refusal of diagnosing of girls, women, femmes and female-perceived people. This book directly tackles this issue and just how stressful and needlessly unhelpful the whole diagnostic process is for the person with Autism and the family as a whole, and this is for people under the age of 18, it’s incredibly hard to receive an adult diagnosis for Autism (there’s apparently only five doctors in the state of Victoria who are even qualified to diagnose Autism in adults). This is a conversation that needs to be happening and happening more often.
~Format and Book Layout: I read the book quickly, suspiciously quick in fact, I couldn’t help but notice the large number of “blank” pages in the book, it turns out that there are hidden pages. I needed to read the book on my desktop and invert the colour scheme (change the background black and the text white) of the book to read the hidden chapters. If this has been done on purpose, that’s brilliant use of symbolism and metaphor (that neurotypical people are only getting half the story), but if it’s not done on purpose, it makes me a little confused (I’m going to assume it was done on purpose).
In conclusion, quick short read on Autism from the perspective of students from The Limpsfield Grange School, so a book about Autism by Autistic people for Autistic people, and I’m looking forward to reading M in the Middle