Joyce’s Way, by Island author and storyteller Susan Klein, is the true story of the late Joyce Brigish, a woman who steadfastly refused to let anyone tell her that her developmentally disabled son Cy could not learn to read, write and lead a life of dignity.

The book also describes a strong and loving nuclear family in which no member ever faltered in supporting Mr. Brigish, who has Down syndrome, against the discrimination and low expectations that confront people living with handicaps.

And it’s a tribute to the Vineyard’s Camp Jabberwocky, which first invited Mr. Brigish at the age of 11 and has welcomed him back every August since.

“Jabberwocky is a wellspring of integration and inclusion,” Ms. Klein writes, “a Brigadoon of sorts looming from the midst of our curious greater culture of separating out those who are different.”

On July 31, Cy Brigish celebrated his 50th birthday at camp with a release party for the book about his mother, who died of cancer in 2016 after decades of advocacy for people with disabilities.

In her final year of life, Mrs. Brigish entrusted Ms. Klein with the story of how she and her husband Alan, who still lives in their West Tisbury home, were always determined to keep their firstborn in the family — an unorthodox choice in 1968, when people with special needs were generally institutionalized and public schools were not yet required to educate them.

Mrs. Brigish began by teaching her son at home. He eventually attained a fourth-grade reading level, although poor eyesight limits him to the headlines. Born while his parents were living in England, an adult Mr. Brigish passed the American citizenship test with flying colors after studying the Constitution and Bill of Rights with his mother.

Joyce’s Way is being published in a limited initial edition of 1,000 as a fund-raiser for Camp Jabberwocky, with a suggested donation of $30 and an additional $5 for handling and shipping. Visit

Susan Klein and Alan Brigish will discuss Joyce’s way at the Oak Bluffs Library on Wednesday, August 22 at 10:30 a.m.