The Insiders by J. Minter
Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2004, 249 pp., $8.95
Written by J. Minter, the author of “Ben’s Life” (a guy’s point-of-view column) in Seventeen
magazine, The Insiders chronicles the misadventures of a group of middle- and upper-class friends
who waste the days away popping prescription drugs, having casual sex, and emotionally abusing
each other, while only occasionally showing up for school.
Mickey, Arno, David, Patch, and Jonathan are lifelong friends. Mickey is a pill-popping alcoholic,
while Arno is only interested in the opposite sex. David is an emotional wreck, contributing
occasional emotional outbursts. Patch appears in the last couple of pages to reassure the reader
that his friends aren’t completely self-centered. Jonathan fancies himself the group’s glue.
Minter paints ‘guy’ archetypes with a roller rather than a paintbrush, thereby missing any real
detail and attempts to make up for this deficiency using glitzy backdrops. Minter moves the
characters around New York. Rather than fully developing their characters, Minter painstakingly
catalogs their music, restaurants, clothing, vehicles and accessories. All of these characters know
what’s cool in New York.