Leon John Crothers is 4779 days old. He has been to six different schools, who have all moved him on as they think he has an ‘attitude problem’. It is only when he meets Dr Snot (yes, really!) that Leon is diagnosed as autistic.
Leon doesn’t care for the label. He doesn’t believe that he needs one; he just knows he is different to everyone else. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
The Asparagus Bunch has humour running through the story whilst still tackling emotional themes with sensitivity and authenticity. Once I started reading The Asparagus Bunch, I found I couldn’t put it down. The first person writing made me feel as though I gained an understanding of Leon’s perspective and why he reacted the way that he did to each situation.
Leon is neurodivergent, and is diagnosed in the book as autistic. As someone who has, as an adult, learnt I am neurodivergent myself (ADHD!) I have seen how important it is that books with characters such as Leon are on shelves for children to access; not only can they see themselves reflected and begin to understand their own actions, but it can start to encourage understanding of classmates, too. As a teacher, I especially enjoy reading books with diverse main characters as anything which helps me empathise even more for students I teach is a big plus for me.
Leon’s interactions with other characters in the book was varied and really developed him as a character. I especially liked Tanya; she is resilient and brave, and says it like it is. A surprise character I liked though was Jim. I thought he added a real balance to the story and encouraged us not to judge someone on first impressions.
I really enjoyed this book and know you will, too. If you want to get your own copy, click here.
📚 Book gifted by publisher